Posts Tagged ‘property’

Is Help to Buy costing new homeowners more?

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The government’s Help to Buy scheme was launched in 2013 to boost housebuilding and help generation rent onto the housing ladder. However, new research shows that people using scheme may actually be paying a premium – and that they may have been able to get on the housing ladder without it.

Conveyancing firm Reallymoving analysed data from 40,000 first-time buyers over the year to September 2019. The researched showed that those using Help to Buy, paid on average 10% more than those who funded their purchases without the scheme. The figure in London was higher at almost 12%, however, in Yorkshire and the West Midlands it was more than 21%.

The study follows the release of figures from housebuilder, Barratt, which revealed that 40% of its business comes from Help to Buy customers.

New builds generally attract a premium price and can subsequently lose value, meaning that first-time buyers using the scheme are at risk of negative equity.

Critics also believe that the popularity of Help to Buy has led developers to inflate prices and that the scheme could have a negative impact on the overall housing market.

Reallymoving chief executive Rob Houghton said: “Most first-time buyers find it difficult to raise a deposit and as a consequence they are being cornered into the new-build sector, where homes already command higher prices, before paying an additional premium on top if they need to use a Help to Buy Equity Loan.

“In many cases they simply don’t have the deposit required to explore other options such as buying a second-hand home, which may offer considerably better value.”

How help to buy works

Opening a Help to Buy ISA means the government will add 25% to the amount saved, up to a maximum of £3,000 on savings of £12,000, if used as a deposit on a first home.

The deposit can be used to buy a property using a Help to Buy: Equity Loan, where the government lends 40% of the cost of a new-build home in London (or 20% elsewhere). The loan is interest free for five years. A Help to Buy: Shared Ownership scheme allows the purchaser to buy a share of the home (between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remainder.

Applications for a Help to Buy ISAs close on 30 November this year, and prospective homeowners have been encouraged to open an account now, to ensure they can take advantage of the scheme – including by Money Saving Expert founder, Martin Lewis.

Read more about this story in The Stylist.

Homeowners warned of property fraud increase

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In her 2018 bestseller, Our House, Louise Candlish describes the moment when a woman realises an imposter is moving into her London home – and appears to own it. While the book centres around the twists of an elaborate blackmail plot, losing your home to fraud is a real, if small, possibility in 2019.

Research on the website Property Investor Today has revealed that since 2005 property fraud claims submitted to the Land Registry totalled £73.3 million, averaging out at £107,669 per scam. This contrasts to the more common, and heavily publicised, online financial scams, which set the average victim back by £600.

Alarmingly, with so much at stake, property fraud can be quite simple to carry out. Details of ownership of properties in England and Wales can be sourced online and recent cases have involved fraudsters using the homeowner’s identity to secure a mortgage. In other examples, scammers have impersonated the homeowner to have deeds transferred to their name.

Other forms of property fraud include mortgage scams involving fake sellers and holiday homes advertised as properties for sale. So-called ‘Friday afternoon scams’ are also common – with many property transactions taking place on a Friday, hackers intercept solicitors’ emails, sending their own bank details to buyers instead.

According to the HomeOwners Alliance, these types of fraud are on the increase. “Unfortunately, the value of successful frauds of property sales have more than tripled – from £7 million in 2013 to £25 million in 2017,” says chief executive, Paula Higgins.

“Email and IT systems (especially those of conveyancers) are being attacked continuously. Scammers are becoming more sophisticated – fake emails can now be very hard to spot, and people may find themselves caught out, especially when under the stress of buying a home.”

If you are concerned about property fraud, register for free email property alerts from the Land Registry. Using the service means you will be alerted of any attempted activity regarding the deeds of your house.

In addition, for a £40 fee, homeowners can opt to put a restriction on the title deed of their property, stopping the Land Registry from registering a sale or mortgage unless a conveyancer certifies the application is genuine.

For more information about property fraud visit the gov.uk and the HomeOwners Alliance websites.

Why location is the key to successful buy-to-let investing

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We all know location counts when you are looking to buy a family home, but the same is true if you are buying to let. If you are looking in South West London, Wimbledon is a good choice as it will undoubtedly always be popular with tenants.

Wimbledon’s appeal lies in its versatility. Living in Wimbledon gives you all the amenities of the town centre with the rural feel of the village close by. Plus, there are amazing transport links to central London and beyond, as well as plenty of outstanding schools in the state and independent sectors.

Wherever you decide to invest in a buy-to-let property, location is key. As a landlord you’ll be looking for high rental yields, minimal void periods and for your property to gain in value over time. Choosing the best location for your budget can help you achieve this, so before you commit to a property think carefully about how attractive it will be to tenants.

It makes sense to have your ideal tenant in mind when deciding on a location. If your budget will only stretch to smaller apartments, your target market probably isn’t families, where more space is a priority.

If you are looking at young professionals, you’ll probably want a flat that’s close to amenities and night life as well as handy for good transport links. You might also want to consider whether it’s close to a local employer – Wimbledon is close to St George’s Hospital and medical school, for example.

You should do plenty of research about who lives in the area and the average rents they pay. This will help you get a good idea of whether you’ll achieve the return on investment you’re looking for.

To help you decide if a location is right for your buy-to-let project, look at our local area guides. Then use our checklist of what to look out for when choosing your investment.

 

1. Avoid traffic hotspots

Go back a street from the main road – quieter streets with less traffic may hold their value better and are more attractive to tenants.

 

2. Look to the future

Do your research on any planned regeneration schemes in the area and think about the impact on the property you’re considering, good and bad. Will the plans bring better transport links and upgraded facilities, or mean noisy works for years to come that will deter renters?

 

3. How are the schools?

Families are drawn to areas like Wimbledon because of their proximity to good schools. Houses close to outstanding state schools will be popular with renters and retain their value – as long as the schools remain high-performing and popular. If you’re targeting families, do your research into popular schools and where people need to live to secure a place.

 

4. What are the main attractions?

Look at properties with good amenities close by. Attractive parks, bars, restaurants and shops can all make a place appealing to tenants. Wimbledon is well served in this respect, with the common and Wimbledon Park, plus numerous other open spaces. The area also has plenty to do, including New Wimbledon Theatre and a range of amazing places to eat in both the town and village.

Factors like a corner shop or mini supermarket, neighbourhood pub and coffee shop can also give a particular street the edge.

 

5. How is the transport?

This is a crucial one, especially for city professionals looking for an easy commute. Wimbledon may have been planned with commuters in mind, so well is it served for transport, with frequent trains into London Waterloo, Vauxhall and Clapham Junction as well as access to the District Line, Tram, Thameslink and Northern Line services.

 

If you are considering purchasing a buy-to-let property in the Wimbledon area, we’d be happy to discuss the merits different parts of the area and show you some great properties. Contact us today to find out more.

RICS Residential Market Survey and Trends – July 2019

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RICS logo

The May 2019 RICS UK Residential Market Survey results show at a local level a slightly better and stable picture with more sales agreed than previously. New buyer enquiries are improving whilst negative trends such as price reductions showed some signs of diminishing. The sentiment over the past 12 months, when looking at sales and asking prices, signal a modest recovery in values. At national level new buyer enquiries remain unchanged whilst new sale instructions have declined yet again for the 11th consecutive month.

From a positive prospective, in the South East and around South West London new enquiry levels are increasing, conversely this is happening when fewer properties are coming to the market, the reduction in stock levels is leading to a competitive market particularly between second time purchasers in the £1m to £2m price range. It is this sector of the market that is showing a healthy increase in demand. The Help to Buy market is beginning to lose momentum as more new builds come on stream as RICS valuers recognise that premium rates being asked by developers is beginning to have a negative affect with warning signs that top up loans will have to be repaid within the life span of the mortgage and not met by increased property values in this sector.

Whether we will see an improvement in residential sales overall during the remaining course of this year is remote but will depend largely on there being a reduction in the Stamp Duty rates followed by the UK government announcing a decision on Brexit. Expect a more resilient market in 2020.

 

Lettings

National New Landlord Instructions - Past three months

National New Landlord Instructions – Past three months

 

The Survey covers the last three months of the lettings market where tenant demand increased at a modest rate for the fifth month in a row, whilst landlord instructions have declined once more, this appears to be a persistent theme over the past three years, and had been led mainly due to impending tax reforms, creating an imbalance in the supply chain because the rate of return landlords previously enjoyed is diminishing.

Internal rates of return previously enjoyed by landlords has fallen leading to more landlords selling up rather than continue to hold and relet.

In concluding, on sales, lower stock levels will ultimately lead to higher asking prices with a potential change in stamp duty rates forecast will help unlock the supply chain ensuring purchasers and vendors alike who will have a greater choice, increased stock levels will restrain values, and this in turn will help induce the market. On the lettings front watch out for more reforms including the possible introduction of rent controls, and tenant protection schemes.

 

To download the full report – please click here.

Ten steps to becoming the tenant that landlords love

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If you are new to renting, there are a few things you need to know about your responsibilities as a tenant – ten, in fact!

While a difficult landlord is every renter’s worst fear, the relationship works both ways and tenants can be big trouble too. More often than not, problems occur because of a lack of communication, which lets minor issues escalate, creating a difficult situation.

A good landlord/tenant relationship is great for everyone. As a tenant you may find your landlord eager to respond when there’s an issue and happy to keep you in the property for as long as you wish. The landlord will also benefit from a longer-term tenant, who will look after the place.

If you’re new to renting, there are a few responsibilities in your tenancy agreement that you really need to know about, from being on time with your rent to getting on with the neighbour. Read on for our ultimate guide to becoming the tenant that landlords love.

 

1. Always pay your rent on time

Your number one duty as a tenant is to pay your rent on time. If you pay by standing order, make sure you have funds to cover your rent on the due date. If you fail to pay, your landlord can take steps to evict you and reclaim the money that’s owed. You need to make sure you pay any other charges, as agreed with your landlord too – council tax or utility bills, for example.

 

2. Look after your home

It’s generally a condition of your shorthold tenancy agreement that you keep the property in good order.

While your landlord is responsible for carrying out repairs to the structure, plumbing, electrics and heating, you’ll be expected to complete small tasks to keep your home running smoothly – checking smoke alarms, changing lightbulbs and keeping the place well-ventilated, to prevent damp.

While not everyone is a Mrs Hinch, you’ll need to keep your home clean and tidy, and take reasonable steps to prevent problems occurring – not flushing wipes down the loo and turning off the water at the mains if you’re away in cold weather.

Always report repairs to your landlord promptly – small damp patches could become a big deal if not treated. If further damage is caused because a problem wasn’t fixed, you could be liable.

 

landlord

 

3. Allow your landlord access

Unless living in the property, landlords don’t have the right to come and go as they please. Your landlord must give you at least 24-hours’ notice before visiting and should visit at a reasonable time, apart from in an emergency.

You do need to allow them access, however, to carry out repairs and maintenance and to make fire and gas safety checks. It’s in your interest to be as accommodating as possible – being flexible, by offering a choice of dates and times, will help you to a good relationship and make sure repairs are completed in a timely fashion.

 

4. Don’t make alterations without permission.

Rental properties tend to be decorated in neutral tones, which suit most tastes. Avoid the temptation to personalise your space with something more radical. Unauthorised redecorating, or drilling holes to hang pictures, is likely to result in the landlord withholding your security deposit, so they can make good after you’ve gone.

 

5. Don’t sublet

Subletting happens when an existing tenant lets part or all of a property they rent to another person. There are genuine reasons why it might suit you to sublet. You may be struggling to pay the rent alone or need to be away from home for a short period but want to make sure the rent is covered. If you have a good reason, your landlord is likely to be sympathetic, but will want it all made official so you must get their permission first.

 

neighbours

 

6. Be a good neighbour

Your behaviour in the property reflects on your landlord, so don’t create a nuisance. Keep your music to a reasonable volume and avoid noisy parties. Make sure you put your rubbish and recycling out on time and keep the outside of the property tidy – check your responsibilities around gardening in your tenancy agreement. Landlords can start eviction proceedings against tenants for antisocial behaviour caused to neighbours. As a tenant you will be held responsible for the actions of anyone visiting you too.

 

7. Communicate with your landlord

Try to respond to texts, calls and emails as soon as possible and be helpful. Keeping the lines of communication open will help your relationship long-term.

 

8. Ask before getting a pet

Some landlords allow cats and dogs, others don’t. While some people are relaxed about animals, others are concerned about damage to furnishings, annoyance to neighbours and smells. If the property is a flat, there may be a clause in the Landlord’s own lease that prevents anyone from keeping animals. If you have a pet, or are thinking of getting one, always check your tenancy agreement and get permission in writing before bringing home a furry friend.

 

9. Let your landlord know if you’re going away

If you ‘re going to be away from your home for a substantial period – because you’re in hospital, travelling abroad or caring for a relative – let your landlord know. You’ll still need to pay rent while you’re away unless you come to some arrangement with your landlord or sublet with permission.

When going on holiday, or away from the property for a short time, it’s also good practice to let you landlord know and to give their details to a neighbour in case there’s an emergency while you’re away.

 

10. Saying goodbye

You should end your tenancy properly by giving the correct notice. If you don’t you will still be liable to pay rent. You can’t give notice if you are still in the fixed term of a tenancy, unless your tenancy agreement says otherwise.

 

If you are looking for somewhere to rent in Wimbledon area contact us today to find out more about our selection of rental properties.

Staging a Property to Sell

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In an uncertain market, staging your property to attract buyers is crucial to standing out from the crowd, achieving the best price and possibly even clinching the sale.

First impressions really do count so, once you have decided to sell, you need to get to work on making your home buyer-ready. Firstly, put aside sentimental attachment to you home and belongings and look at the property as potential buyers will see it. This will help you set about depersonalising the space.

You’ll probably need to spend money on bringing your property up to scratch – possibly on work that feels pointless. But, most likely, you’ll reap rewards with higher offers and a quick sale.

Read on for our essential guide to staging your property, room by room:

The bathroom

Bathrooms and kitchens definitely sell houses, and if yours are looking a bit dated, a revamp could pay off. If you can’t stretch to a full bathroom refit, think about replacing taps, mirrors or other fixtures and fittings.

Replace any broken tiles and mouldy sealant and give the place a good clean, scrubbing away all limescale deposits. Tidy away random toiletries and shampoo bottles and give the place a spa-like feel with rolled towels, quality scent diffusers and tropical plants.

The kitchen

A new kitchen can be transformative, so think about a refresh if your units are looking tired. It’s cheaper to replace your cabinet doors, while retaining carcases if you can. Clear away all the clutter, mend anything that’s broken and make sure it’s all spotless for an elegant finish.

The living room

The first step to transforming your living space is to clear it of all the trappings of everyday life. Put away anything that personalises the place too much; family photos, children’s drawings, birthday cards. It’s worth having a big declutter too, throwing away or donating to charity possessions you no longer love or need.

Make sure bookshelves aren’t overstuffed with books – remove any that are looking tatty. The advice is to leave at least 10% of your bookshelves as free space.

If your home is overloaded with furniture, which you want to keep, think about putting it in storage. Never ram it all into a garage or spare room – your prospective buyers are more than likely to peek inside.

The bedroom

Make sure your bedrooms have a calm, relaxed feel, with clean and neutral colour schemes. Keep the rooms tidy and impersonal and think about upgrading your bed-linen, adding cushions and throws.

Sort through wardrobes to ensure they’re not crammed full of clothes. There are plenty of storage solutions, from Ikea and the like, to help turn your wardrobes into a carefully-ordered space.

If you tend to use a spare bedroom as a study or storage area, show buyers its true purpose. If you don’t have a bed, borrow one from a friend or buy second-hand. Similarly, if you have a double bedroom with just a single bed, make sure it is clear that the room can accommodate a double. This is all part of helping buyers imagine themselves in your space.

Around the home

Sprucing up your home with a lick of paint could make all the difference to securing a sale. This is especially true if your existing colour scheme involves dark or bright shades.

White and pale hues have the advantage of reflecting light to make your rooms appear, not just bright and airy, but bigger too. You can also give the impression of size by adding a mirror or two and glass fixtures and fittings.

Replace patterned or dingy carpets with light floor coverings and remove any dark and imposing pieces of furniture. If you’re keeping your carpets, have them professionally cleaned to get rid of any stains or lingering smells and if you have pets, think about sending them on brief holiday while you sell!

Outdoor space

A recent survey estimated that a good garden landscape design could increase the value of a property way above the initial outlay. You may not have time for a big redesign, but getting to work on the garden is essential. Cut back overgrown shrubs, so your viewers can see how big it is and imagine themselves using the space. Cut the grass too and clean the patio and any garden furniture. If it’s looking a bit sparse, a few planted pots can make a difference.

And never underestimate the power of kerb appeal. Your front garden is the first thing buyers will see, so it needs to make a welcoming impression. Give your front door a lick of attractive-coloured paint and polish your door furniture. Clean your windows and, if you can, add a window box or two.

Don’t begrudge doing all this work on a home you will be leaving soon. In most cases it absolutely pays off. Investing a bit of time and money in sprucing up your property can help you to win over potential buyers and it might secure a higher offer too.

New UK-Wide Industrial Rent Set In Battersea, SW11

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Andrew Scott Robertson, South West London’s leading industrial agents, announces that, acting on behalf of a major fund, it has completed the letting of three units totalling 6,755 sq. ft. at Parkfield Industrial Estate, Battersea, SW11
setting a new headline rent of £30.00 per sq. ft. This rental level is believed to be the highest rent ever achieved for a standard open market industrial unit letting in the United Kingdom.

Parkfield Industrial Estate is located in the heart of South West London, close to Clapham Junction railway station. The estate extends to a total of 69,000 sq. ft. contained within 20 units. Andrew Scott Robertson have acted as letting agent on this estate since August 2016, when rents were in the order of £11.00-15.00 per sq. ft. 4 units were destroyed by fire in 2016 and practical completion of the rebuild was achieved in May 2018. The previous leases on these units expired within the construction period. 

A leading international auction house, has completed a new 10 year lease at a rent of £63,090 per annum on 2,100 sq. ft., equating to a £30 per sq. ft. rent. A provider of flexible commercial kitchen space, has also completed a 25 year lease, with 10 years term certain, at a rent of £30 per sq. ft. on 4,600 sq. ft. with just three months’ rent free.

Stewart Rolfe, Director of Commercial Property at Andrew Scott Robertson commented: ‘”The strong performance of the South West London Industrial Market is further exemplified by these lettings where high quality units in close proximity to the City and West End remain a priority for occupiers. The current demand for such units together with the reduction in supply due to conversion to residential have led to a substantial increase in rental levels over the last 12-24 months and, specifically a 63% increase in rental values on this estate.

Further information:
Tel.: 020 8971 4999 / Email: commercial@as-r.co.uk

Andrew Scott Robertson Launch a Lifeboat in SW19!

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If you think Wimbledon is just about tennis think again! Wimbledon Estate Agents and Chartered Surveyors Andrew Scott Robertson pushed the boat out to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution on Saturday 30th June.  Director Ian Ailes, who organised the event with the RNLI Clapham Branch said, “You don’t see many boats in Wimbledon yet our nearest Lifeboat station is on the Thames at Chiswick just 7 miles away; the 2nd busiest lifeboat station in the country. It is manned 24 hours a day and has a response time of just 90 seconds.  So far this year they have attended 107 incidents and rescued 14 people and 3 dogs. Two of our Directors are Lifeboat supporters so we decided to organise a fundraising event on our Wimbledon Village office forecourt by offering to double whatever was donated on the day with a target of £1,000. We are very pleased to say we raised over £1,300”. 

Our photo features (L-R) Residential Sales Team: Rob Wells, David Faulkner, Samantha Cross and Professional Services Director Ian Ailes. 

Property of the Week: Welford Place – Could this Wimbledon home mean game, set and match for your property search?

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With one of the world’s top sporting events just days away, tennis fans could beat the queue and bag a year-round view of the on-court action with their very own Wimbledon home.

Situated just a stone’s throw from the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the new owners could enjoy views of Centre Court and the magnificent London skyline beyond from the tranquil roof terrace. Perfect for enjoying a glass of Pimms on a summer’s evening!

Welford Place is a stylish family home offering 2,400 sq ft of luxurious accommodation situated in a highly regarded private development adjacent to Wimbledon Park Golf Course. The development boasts its own indoor swimming pool complex and secure gated play area. For further information or to arrange a viewing of this stunning property please contact Stephen Parsons MNAEA on 0208 971 6780 or email sales@as-r.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Property of the Week: Downings House – where clever storage solutions combine style with functionality

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Whether you live in a large house or a small apartment, storage is a major topic for any homeowner. Living in a smaller home doesn’t necessarily need to mean living with less. You just need to be smart about how you organise the space you do have. Make every inch of your home work hard with well-thought out and space-saving storage solutions.

Completely transformed by architect Luis Trevino, our property of the week, a spectacular three bedroom loft style apartment in a handsome Grade II listed converted school, is packed with innovative design touches and makes clever use of space storage solutions that will come in handy no matter the size of your home.

The magnificent reception room makes full use of the double height ceilings. Custom built floor to ceiling units add storage and save space, whilst serving a dual purpose as a room divider to separate the open plan living room and kitchen.

In the stunning kitchen, white-on-white storage is the perfect example of the power of going monochromatic. The luxury units blend seamlessly with the surroundings and low level cabinets around the perimeter create extra seating, great for entertaining, and proving that you don’t need to compromise between style and functionality.

Storage can be found in the most unlikely of places and at Downings House the architect has made ingenious use of the space underneath the stairs, transforming it into a hideaway office – perfect for whether you work from home or need a place for the kids to do their homework. The floating stairs add to the feeling of space and openness.

In the bedroom, mounting ceiling lights either side of the bed frees up space on top of the bedside tables.

And if you are struggling for how to bring light into an internal bathroom, why not consider glass walls to bring in light and add an extra touch of elegance and style?

When it comes to decorating a small house or apartment, the key to keeping a space both functional and tasteful is to decorate minimally. At Downings House, the walls are kept neutral throughout, creating a fresh palette which reflects and optimises the natural light that floods the space.

Downings House is a gem waiting to be discovered…

For further information on this property click here

24 High Street,
Wimbledon Village,
London SW19 5DX

Tel: +44 (0)20 8971 6780
Fax: +44 (0)20 8946 3683