Published: 15/02/2017 Last Updated: 15/02/2017 09:17:17 Tags: News
While 2016 was a year of high demand for rental property; there were many changing and disruptive elements throughout the course of the year. There is still a lot to be said for acting as a landlord but it is important that professionals are aware of the changes to the lettings industry in 2016.
The Right To Rent Scheme
While this scheme had been trialled in certain parts of the country in 2015, the start of 2016 saw it rolled out across the country. Landlords were required to ensure that their tenants had the right to live in the United Kingdom. A landlord was required to ask for documents that proved the tenant met the requirement of the Immigration Act of 2014. A failure to act in this manner could see a landlord face a fine of up to £3,000 for every individual or tenant that was ineligible to remain in the UK.
EPC legislation changes
One change that has had an impact on landlords is that they were not able to refuse a tenant request for energy efficient upgrades if a valid or reasonable excuse was not available. Landlords should look to make their home as energy efficient as possible but some landlords prefer to hold off from making these changes, but this new regulation changes this.
From April 2016, the Dividend Allowance came into effect, replacing the Dividend Tax Credit. Whatever non-dividend income is earned by a landlord, they now don’t have to pay on the first £5,000 of dividend income.
Tax is now paid on sums of over £5,000 in the following manner:
• 7.5% is paid on dividend income found in the basic rate of taxation
• 32.5% is paid on dividend income found in the higher rate of taxation
• 38.1% is paid on dividend income found in the additional rate of taxation
Wear and tear allowance
It used to be that landlords could claim for wear and tear on their furnishings every year. This system has changed and landlords are now only able to claim tax relief when replacement furniture has been purchased.
Stamp duty changes
One of the biggest changes in the letting industry in 2016 revolved around the changes to stamp duty. As of April 2016, anyone buying an additional property had to pay an additional 3% in stamp duty for all purchases of over £40,000. This led to an increase in property purchases in Q1 of 2016, as investors and landlords sought to expand their portfolio at a lower price and then a fall in Q2 as deals had been concluded and people didn’t want to pay the additional charges.
Energy efficiency changes
It was announced that as of April of 2018, rental properties should hold an EPC rating of at least of E. Any landlord found to be in breach of this regulation can face a fine of up to £4,000. While this change doesn’t occur until next year, many landlords are now taking action to ensure that they comply by the time the regulation comes into force.
2016 was an eventful one in the UK property market and the rental market was also impacted on with a number of key changes.
Published: 08/02/2017 Last Updated: 08/02/2018 11:37:11 Tags: News
The UK property market experienced a lot of changes in 2016 and the market had to withstand a lot of issues throughout the year. Now that we are into 2017, there is an agreement that there is now a sense of stability about the property market and that while some areas suffered, things could have been a lot worse in the property market.
Of course, while we talk about the property market as a single entity, this is far from the case. There are often places that experience great changes or notable changes while others do not. Colchester is an area that is regarded as being on the up, even with the market as a whole experiencing some difficulty or pressure.
As of January 2017, the average property price for Colchester stood at £309,324 which presented a rise of 8% on the figure at the start of 2016. The value change stood at £22,905 so the average property price at that time was £286,419.
Over the past 12 months, the average price paid in Colchester has stood at £272,736 with close to 4,000 property sales being made in this period of time.
The Colchester property market is one that has been growing sharply for a while and there are a number of factors involved in this outcome.
Quick transport links to Stratford and London Liverpool Street ensure that Colchester is highly regarded as a commuter location for the heart of London. There is also easy access to the A12 which ensures that Colchester is a destination that allows fast and simple transport.
Work in Colchester
The rise in the local economy has drawn a growing number of people and families to the area. With a greater chance of finding work or people looking to be located closer to their work, the Colchester property market has experienced a significant rise in demand.
One area where Colchester has developed is with respect to the creative industries. A report issued in the second half of 2016 has seen Colchester listed as the 8th best place in the entire country for drawing people to work in the creative industry. Affordable property is always important in reaching out to these professionals and this industry but there has been action over and above property pricing to make the area more attractive and hospitable to this sector.
The overall success of change in Colchester can be seen in the ranking of 20th spot, for the whole of the UK, with respect to high concentration and growth. Both of these findings were issued in a report called The Geography of Creativity in the UK, issued by Creative England and NESTA.
New build properties
There have been a number of property developments in Colchester in the past year, which is always going to have a positive impact on the property market. The west and north of the area have benefitted from a number of new developments, and these are handily located for commuters and people looking to travel to and from Colchester on a regular basis.
Colchester is an area that is going places for people who are going places and this can be seen in the local property market.
To see our available properties in Colchester clickHERE
Published: 13/10/2016 Last Updated: 13/10/2016 13:44:35 Tags: News
While you will likely have a number of options to consider when buying property, many people find their first choice is between a traditional home and a new build property. There are strong reasons to buy either style of property, and many people love the look and charm of a traditional property. However, it would be wrong to overlook what a new build property offers, because there are many benefits associated with buying a new build property.
New build properties are built for modern life
Modern life is extremely different from the lives of people who lived three or four decades ago, let alone the hundred or so years when many UK properties were built. This means that new build homes have been designed with the demands of modern life in mind. Something simple like having enough electrical points to satisfy the needs of modern day people makes a massive difference when it comes to ensuring a home is fit for purpose.
New build properties are inspected and come with a warranty
Anyone looking for a property that is ready to move into or let straight away will find that a new build property is the ideal option. New build properties are subjected to stringent tests, the majority of them will be inspected by an independent adviser and there is usually a warranty associated with the property. This means you can be confident that you are buying a quality home and you will have more time to yourself as opposed to undertaking DIY projects.
New build properties take you out of a chain
One of the biggest concerns for many people when buying a property is the deal collapsing through no fault of their own. When a property chain develops, with sellers also buying and every move becoming linked, there is an increased chance of the chain collapsing. When you buy a new build property, you aren’t relying on the selling party to conclude their deal.
This gives a great degree of confidence so if you want to take a lot of the stress out of buying property, consider a new build property.
New build properties offer “extras” as standard
For many people, installing a new kitchen or adding a stylish bathroom or wardrobe features will be an extra that they add to improve their home. There are many new build options that provide these fitted and specialist options as standard, allowing you to save time and money, while making the moving process a lot simpler and convenient.
New homes are usually constructed to a basic standard, suitable for all potential buyers, and then you have the chance to add your own flourishes and personal touches to create your ideal home.
New build homes can save you money
New build homes are generally more energy efficient than traditional homes and this should be borne out by the findings of the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). There are countless little touches and benefits associated with new build properties that will save you money and you can find that your new build property is anything between 45% and 55% cheaper to run. According to figures released by National House-Building Council Foundation and Zero Carbon, this could save you £1,300 a year, and it’s all down to buying a new build property.
Other benefits provided by new build homes include:
• New build homes are more secure and utilise enhanced modern safety technology
• New build homes are less harmful to people with allergies or health concerns
• New build homes are more likely to comply with modern health regulations
• There should be less maintenance work required with new build homes
• A lot of people appreciate being the first family or residents to use the property
• New build properties are good at retaining or adding property value
If you are looking to buy new property, make sure you consider the benefits of a new build
Published: 26/09/2016 Last Updated: 26/09/2016 13:39:47 Tags: News
There has been a great deal of debate about when the best time to market your home for sale and in the present day, there is a good argument for all of the different seasons. Spring is stull the leading time of year for sales but many savvy sellers and buyers realise the benefits of property transactions at other times of the year.
This includes autumn, and there are many reasons why marketing your home in autumn is of benefit.
This time of year doesn’t clash with holidays
Traditionally the summer months feature a lull for the property market. With so many people enjoying holidays or other activities, buying or selling homes may not be at the forefront of their thoughts. However, this cannot continue forever and it may be that by the time autumn comes around, people have decided that they should be active in the property market.
There are no major holiday periods or celebrations at this time of year that would impact on the property market in a significant way, so autumn can be a strong time to sell your home in an effective manner.
Some homes and areas look stunning in autumn
Let’s face it; there are some homes and areas that look majestic in the autumn. The turning of the leaves and the crisp air can create an atmosphere that paints your home in the best possible light. If you have the time, budget or inclination to add seasonal flourishes to your home, your property can create a very good impression.
The time of year can be of benefit if you have a warm and cosy home with people picturing themselves enjoying great nights in by the fire or looking forward to long walks and viewing the changing of the leaves. If the area around your home looks at its best at this time of year, make sure that this is a feature of your presentation.
People will want to move before Christmas and end of year festivities
A very good reason to sell during autumn is many buyers will be motivated to conclude a deal quickly. Autumn provides a few months for people to review and then buy a home but equally, many buyers will want to be settled into their new property before the festive period or the worse weather begins. This deadline can motivate buyers, which means you may see faster bids or bids of a higher nature, which can only be a positive thing if you are looking to sell your home and then move on to your next property.
There should be less competition
While there are many reasons to market your home at different times of the year, there will still be people and estate agents who promote the benefits of marketing property in spring. If that means some people won’t market their property in autumn, it is good news for you. If there is less supply of property, you stand a greater chance of making a positive impact, so you could sell your home faster and/or for a greater price.
There isn’t a bad time of year to place your property on the market but Autumn offers a number of benefits that should help you to sell in an effective and efficient manner.
Published: 25/08/2016 Last Updated: 08/02/2018 11:34:05 Tags: News
1. Basildon was one of 8 new towns that were established in the south east of England in the aftermath of the Second World War. Basildon was created in 1949 due to lengthy waiting lists with soldiers returning from their wartime efforts and the aftermath of the damage London received during the war.
2. The first residents to move in to the area did so in 1951, moving into property at Redgrave Road, Vange.
3. While the creation of what is recognised as Basildon today dates back to the 1940s, the name dates back to Saxon times.
4. The 1,000th new home to be built in Basildon appeared in 1953 at Denys Drive in Fryvern. This indicates the volume of property that was added to the area in a short period of time, allowing Basildon to develop quickly in a short period of time.
5. The first area of parkland to appear in Basildon arrived in 1957 when Gloucester Park was officially opened. The park currently expands over 250 acres and is considered to be a key meeting point and place to socialise or relax in the local area.
6. The very first shops in the town centre of Basildon, and Basildon Market, opened in 1958.
7. 1962 was a landmark year for Basildon because this was the year that the tallest building in the area was finished. This accolade goes to Brooke House. The building stands at 162 feet tall and it is a Grade II listed building.
8. There were many different landmarks that were celebrated and noted in Basildon over the years but for many people in the local area, a notable event occurred in 1971. This is because this was the year that the very first Marks and Spencers opened in the local area.
9. For an area to flourish, it is vital that transport links are in place and in 1974, the residents of Basildon benefitted through the opening of Basildon Railway Station. This made the commute to London easier and also opened up the possibility of travel across the south east of England and beyond.
10. Basildon is twinned with a number of areas in Europe including Meaux in France and Heiligenhaus which is located in Germany. Basildon also holds international relationships with Gweru, which is a city in Zimbabwe.
These facts about Basildon help showcase the development of the area, which has come a very long way in just over 60 years. Basildon is no longer referred to as a new town, but it stands as a great example of what can be achieved with planning and a desire to grow.
If you are thinking of moving to Basildon and would like to see our current stock please click HERE
If you are thinking of selling in Basildon and would like a valuation please call 01268 207222 or find in the short form HERE
Published: 04/07/2016 Last Updated: 04/07/2016 12:34:05 Tags: News
Depending on the information you are looking to obtain and the style of property, there are a number of different types of report available to homebuyers.
Though an RICS Surveyor normally completes a mortgage valuation, it should not be confused with an independent survey. The valuation is just a requirement of your provider before they agree to lend funds against a property and is not be particularly useful for homebuyers.
The most basic RICS home survey is a valuation report, which unlike a mortgage valuation can be used for many purposes, such as:
• shared ownership
• Capital Gain Tax (CGT)
The most basic purpose of a mortgage valuation is to confirm whether you are paying the correct amount for a property. The report will not give a detailed look at the condition, but will reference large, obvious defects that may have a significant affect on the value of your property. For more detailed information on the condition of a property, you should commission a HomeBuyer report or building survey.
An RICS HomeBuyer report covers both the condition and value of a property. It has a dedicated section to provide advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance requirements, and provides advice to your Conveyancer.
The report comes in a concise format that highlights defects or parts of the property that require repairs, with an easy-to-read traffic light condition rating. Along with an independent market value, the report also includes a reinstatement value, which is used for the building insurance.
This type of survey is only suitable for properties built after 1900, however it is not suitable for properties that are:
• built before 1900
• substantially extended or altered
• non-standard construction
• in need of extensive renovation
• unusually large
For properties that are not suitable for a HomeBuyer report, you should commission an RICS building survey.
A Building Survey is the top tier RICS home survey suite. The survey includes a wide-ranging inspection and a comprehensive report, on the construction and condition of a property. Formally known as known as a structural survey, it is sometimes confused with a structural report, which is completed by a Structural Engineer rather than a Chartered Surveyor.
Building Surveys are not of a standard form and are bespoke for the property you are buying. More detail is included for parts of the property that you have particular concerns about or where defects have been uncovered. Your Surveyor may also include repair estimates, advice on extensions or photographs. Though not included as standard, a valuation can be included for an additional fee.
About the author
Surveybooker.com is a brokerage for RICS Chartered Surveyors. You can get free, fixed quotes from local RICS Chartered Surveyors by either visiting our website or calling us on 0333 011 6683.
Published: 21/06/2016 Last Updated: 08/02/2018 11:35:17 Tags: News
If you are looking to make the most of Essex this summer, here are 10 top attractions to keep an eye on.
Chelmsford City Racecourse
If you love horse racing, there is no doubt that Chelmsford City Racecourse has been a great addition to the local attractions in Essex. While this can be a great way to spend a family fun day out, the venue is becoming a must-see location for many reasons. With an ever-changing line-up of gigs, comedy events and even murder mystery nights, you’ll not be short of attractions. Some big shows this summer include Simply Red, Katherine Jenkins, Rick Astley and many other big stars of yesteryear.
For more information about Chelmsford Racecourse click HERE
Audley End House and Gardens
When it comes to a stunning garden that lends itself perfectly to lazy and sunny days, Audley End House is an ideal option for you this summer. With a 17th century stable block and views of the glorious Essex countryside, this is a stopping point that can keep you enthralled all day.
For more information about Audley End House click HERE
Layer Marney Tower
When it comes to examples of local Tudor buildings, this is one of the best in Essex. It was so impressive that Henry VIII stayed for a while in 1522 and if you have a head for heights, make sure you climb the tower and enjoy the views of the Blackwater estuary.
For more information about Layer Marney Tower click HERE
Summer days are made for exploring and Hedingham Castle remains one of the best preserved castles in England, making it the ideal place to stop off. Whether you seek fun, a sense of history or a touch of romance, Hedingham Castle is a great place to add to your list of sights to see in Essex in 2016.
For more information about Hedingham Castle click HERE
RHS Garden Hyde Hall / Beth Chatto Garden
Summer time should be spent in gardens and the RHS Garden Hyde Hall and the Beth Chatto Garden are two fantastic examples of gardening at its best. If you are looking to be inspired or just want to enjoy the best flowers in the county, these gardens are well worth a visit.
For more information about RHS Garden Hyde Hall click HERE
For more information about Beth Chatto Garden click HERE
If architecture rather than flowers interest you, this spectacular building is well worth seeing, but it also plays host to a wide range of exhibitions which run all of the year. However, the building and the backdrops are well worth seeing in the summer time.
For more information about Firstsite click HERE
Colchester Zoo has long been one of the best places to spend a summer in Essex and with over 270 species on show, with 50 displays taking place every day, there is a lot to keep you happy and occupied.
For more information about Colchester Zoo click HERE
Lee Valley White Water Centre
If you would rather spend your spare time to enjoy exciting pursuits, you’ll find that the Lee Valley White Water Centre is a must visit. This venue was utilised in the London 2012 games and you can challenge yourself in the same way that many of the leading athletes in the world were.
For more information about Lee Valley White Water Centre click HERE
Colchester Castle Museum
The award of Best Large Attraction at the Essex Tourism and Hospitality Awards in 2015 suggests that this is a museum that is well worth checking out. Don’t expect a dull or dry museum; this is a chance for you to get hands on with a wide range of activities.
For more information about Colchester Castle Museum click HERE
Boydells Dairy Farm
Anyone looking to ensure the kids have some fun while learning will find that the Boydells Dairy Farm, which is a working farm, will provide plenty of opportunities for entertainment and education.
For more information about Boydells Daisy Farm click HERE
If you would like to know the value of home please click HERE
Published: 25/04/2016 Last Updated: 08/02/2018 11:34:33 Tags: News
If you re renting for the first time, it is likely that you’ll be excited but here are ten tips to bear in mind.
Always read over the terms and conditions
It can be too easy to assume that everything is okay in a contract and then find yourself in trouble later. Before you sign a tenancy agreement, take the time to read over the terms and conditions to ensure that you are comfortable with everything associated with the tenancy.
Ensure your deposit is protected
This is something that the landlord should do and they should provide you with details of how the deposit is protected within 30 days of starting your tenancy. Feel free to ask about the chosen scheme and if the landlord doesn’t provide you with all details within 30 days, press the matter. The scheme not only keeps your money safe, it provides a dispute resolution service in the case of any disagreements over a deposit.
Ask for an independent inventory check
One of the most important documents you will have as a tenant is the document listing the items, and their condition, when you move into a property. You should receive a copy and agree on its findings. In the long term, an independent inventory check is often best for the tenant and landlord.
Is there a need for a guarantor?
You could say that the important step is to ensure that you know all of the terms and conditions of your agreement but it is often worth knowing, in advance, if your landlord is looking for a guarantor. If you have someone willing to act as a guarantor, this can be of benefit to you as it will save you money, but make sure that you are aware of whether this is a requirement or not.
Don’t forget about bills
It is one thing calculating that you have enough money to pay for the rent but what about all of the other bills you need to pay? Electricity, internet, TV licence and other utility bills are part of parcel of having a flat, so you need to sort out these aspects and make sure that you have enough income to pay for everything you need and use in the property.
Think about insurance
Your belongings will not be covered by the landlords insurance so look to take out your own home insurance policy to care for your belongings. Some landlords will insist on the tenant holding insurance so make sure you are aware of their requirements on insurance.
Have you considered safety?
Landlords should take care of all safety requirements in the home, they are legally obliged to carry out various tests, but knowing your own rights, what safety aspects you have at home and how to deal with certain dangers or problems will make your home safer.
Think about other tenants
If you are a first time tenant, it is likely that you will be sharing with other people, and this means you need to know your rights and responsibilities with other people. If a utility bill comes in to a property that is a joint tenancy, there is joint liability, and everyone will be responsible for the bill. If one person is named on a utility bill, that person is ultimately responsible for the bill. In an ideal setting, everyone would provide money to pay for this bill, but it is important to have agreements in writing and if you are the named customer, be aware that the utility provider considers you responsible.
Keep correspondence, agreements and everything that you have in writing. You never know when you may need it.
Leave on good terms
There will be terms and conditions in your agreement, if you can, leave by these terms. You’ll also find that leaving in a good manner, and leaving the home in good condition, will save money and ensure you don’t have to deal with a negative reference in the future.
Published: 14/04/2016 Last Updated: 14/04/2016 14:44:22 Tags: News
If you are looking to sell your home, it makes sense to carry out a number of improvements around your home. The only problem is that many people believe you need a lot of money to carry out home improvements. This is not the case and this guide will provide you with a number of affordable home improvements to make before you sell your home.
Improve your kitchen
If you have a large amount of money to spend on your home, installing a new kitchen makes a lot of sense. However, if you don’t have that sort of money, there are still ways in which you can brighten up your kitchen and give it a fresh new look. The kitchen is important when presenting a property and you’ll find that a minimal outlay will allow you to:
• Change your old lighting fixtures for energy efficient bulbs or fixtures
• Replace taps and faucets
• Add new door handles
Obviously there is a lot to be said for cleaning your kitchen as well as you can, which should be the starting point in improving your home, but once it is looking as good as new, add some new features to accentuate what your kitchen has to offer.
There is also a lot to be said for making your appliances look new. Again, a deep clean can make a difference but you’ll also find that ordering new panels or doors can provide an affordable way to make your kitchen stand out.
Buff up the bathroom
After the kitchen, the bathroom is the next room for improvements or upgrades, and again, there are affordable ways to improve your home. Small steps like a new toilet seat can make a difference and if your tiles are looking grubby or worn, you can apply vinyl tiles or sheet vinyl to freshen up the look of the bathroom.
Add more storage
Space is vital when presenting a property and people are always on the lookout for storage solutions. If you can provide stylish, effective and suitable storage solutions, you’ll find that your home appears bigger and it will be a lot more attractive to any potential buyer.
Spend some money on making sure the basics are right
While you don’t want to spend too much money, hiring an electrician or plumber to check your existing elements and to carry out repairs and improvements will be money well spent. If you don’t know what you are doing, don’t mess about with plumbing and electrical work. Many buyers believe that if the electrical elements are in good condition, the home has been well looked after but if there are loose wires or leaks, the home may not have been cared for in the manner that it could.
In order to create the best possible impression, spending a small amount of money on hiring a professional to take care of these aspects will be a sensible investment.
Other steps you can take to improve your home in an affordable manner include:
• Using rugs to brighten up your floor
• Make your garden brighter
• Paint the outside of your home
• Carry out repair work inside and outside of the home
Preparing to sell your home and move to a new home can be an expensive time but there are ways to present and sell your property without spending too much money.
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Published: 07/04/2016 Last Updated: 07/04/2016 10:15:36 Tags: News
When it comes to finding the best place to raise a family, there are a number of things to take on board. Your budget will always have a role to play but there is a need to think about the commute to and from work, what facilities are available for children and what educational options are on offer. It isn’t always easy to find a balance between these different requirements but parents looking to find the best home for their family will be pleased to know that there are suitable options in and around South East England.
Anyone looking to raise their family in idyllic surroundings, while still working in London, will find that Colchester provides the best of both worlds. With fast and regular train connections taking commuters into the heart of London in less than an hour, there is an opportunity to live in Colchester and work in the capital without placing too much stress or strain on your life.
There has been a focus on the commuter belt and Colchester is recognised as one of the leading options for people looking to live outside of London. There have been a number of developments added to the area in recent years. This offers good quality housing and a family-focused environment for people moving to the area. When it comes to feeling safe and being surrounded by like-minded people, Colchester has developed a great deal in recent years.
Colchester offers a range of highly regarded schools
Another very important aspect for families in choosing an area that is suitable for them is the local schooling. Colchester has a number of highly regarded primary schools, secondary schools and sixth form colleges, with a choice of state, independent and faith schools on offer. There is also the Colchester Institute and the University of Essex, which provide reliable further education outlets in the area.
There is also a need for families to feel as though there is plenty to see and do in their spare time. Colchester has a rich history, it was once the Roman Capital of the country, and the area is recognised as being Essex’s cultural capital. There is a sense of old and new within the town centre and whether you fancy a historical nature trail or a visit to one of the modern sports and leisure complexes, there is something for everyone in the local area.
Enjoy the world famous Colchester Zoo
Another great attraction for families is Colchester Zoo, which is regularly listed as being one of the best zoos in the United Kingdom and the zoo has even been recognised as one of the leading 20 zoos in the world. The zoo is set in 60 acres of stunning land and there are more than 270 species to view in the zoo.
For more information about Colchester Zoo click HERE
Add in the fact that Colchester is surrounded by stunning countryside and glorious beaches are less than 20 miles away, and you have a location that offers an ideal setting for families. Anyone looking to get away further will also appreciate the fact that Stanstead Airport is just 30 miles from Colchester and London Southend Airport, an airport that is providing a lot more options in the south of England, is just 40 miles away.
There is often a focus on house prices and the current trends in the property market. House prices in Colchester have risen in the past year, but they also look set to continue to rise. Given the extensive range of benefits listed so far, it is easy to see why this would be the case. When it comes to finding an area that meets the requirements of parents and families, Colchester is the ideal destination. Anyone looking for the perfect place to raise a family and provide their children with the best start in life will find that Colchester is the perfect place to stay.
Click HERE to see our current stock of properties in Colchester
Click HERE to book your no obligation free valuation if you are thinking of selling in Colchester, Basildon or Wickford.
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Published: 22/03/2016 Last Updated: 08/02/2018 11:36:44 Tags: News
While the winter months are becoming increasingly important for the property market, it is true to say that Spring is the season where the market becomes highly competitive. If you are looking to sell your home in Spring, you aren’t alone, and you will need to work hard to make sure your home stands out from the crowd. Here are 7 tips to help you sell your home this Spring.
Undertake a thorough spring clean
This is the time of year when many people decide to clean their home but you should view this as an opportunity to carry out an extensive clean of your property. If you lack the time, skills or experience to properly clean your home, hiring professional cleaners will pay off as the cleanliness and freshness of your property will play a huge role in creating the right impression for any potential buyers.
Upgrade and improve
Depending on the amount of time you have available and the budget at your disposal, you should look to carry out upgrades at your home. Taking the time and effort to make your home more attractive or increasing the functionality to a property will add value and it can give your home an advantage over similar homes in a local area. If you are unsure of what sort of improvements are best for your home, speak to a specialist building or home improvement firm for ideas that will offer value and sit within your budget.
Clean your windows
This is a very simple and obvious step but it is one that many property owners overlook or forget about. You should be looking to have the inside and outside of your windows cleaned and the outside of your windows has to be a priority. Your windows will be one of the first things that people see at your property and if they are in poor condition, a potential buyer may develop a bad impression of your home that is hard for them to overcome.
Provide a blank canvas
If you have any rooms that have a bold colour scheme, it is worthwhile toning this down to a more neutral palette. You should also look to remove the majority of personal items and photographs around the home. This is because these reinforce the identity of you in your home, so by providing viewers with a blank canvas, it is more likely that they will be able to see themselves in this home.
Pack up and declutter
One of the most important tips for anyone looking to sell their home revolves around the importance of decluttering property. Packing up non-essential items and storing them safely (even utilising storage facilities) will enhance the available room at your property. Making a home feel bigger is a positive aspect that too many property sellers overlook.
Give every room a purpose
While making space in every room is important, there is also a lot to be said for ensuring every room in your home has a clear and distinct purpose. Whether it is a bedroom, an office, a gym or a social room, ensuring that every room has a distinct purpose rather than a general storage room where items get left or dumped will allow potential buyers to realise the true potential of a home.
Don’t forget the outside of the home
Spring is the time of year when flowers start to bloom and garden areas start to show colour and vitality after the winter months. You may not have spent too much time in the garden in the months leading up to this stage but before visitors attend your property, be sure to view the garden and ensure that it looks at its best.
If you want to know the current value of your home click HERE
Published: 12/03/2016 Last Updated: 08/02/2018 11:33:54 Tags: News
Located in South Essex and with a population of over 32,000 people, Wickford is a great location for people looking to combine working life in London with a more sedate pace of life in their leisure time. With train travel to the heart of the capital taking less than 40 minutes, Wickford is a location that helps people to enjoy the best of both worlds but if you are keen to learn more about Wickford, here are 10 reasons why Wickford is a great place to live.
If you are looking for a party venue that has a fantastic track record in creating events that people remember for a very long time, you’ll find that Nevendon Manor is exactly what you are looking for. This isn’t a venue that has a wide array of events on, but the events that are found here are family-orientated, a lot of fun and sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.
Anyone looking for a touch of excitement in their life should head to the Off-Road Action Park. This park is very aptly named and there is a wide range of high-adrenaline activities for people aged 6 and over. There are plenty of fully trained and qualified staff members on hand to ensure that safety is paramount alongside the high-octane action.
Wick Country Park
Spanning 50 acres of land that was formerly used for agricultural purposes, Wick Country Park is an ideal place to relax, wander and connect with past times. There are more than 2km of easy trails across the site and with lakes, ponds and even pillboxes dating back to World War II, there is more than enough to delight guests.
Even though Wickford has plenty to offer to local residents, there is no doubt that the easy connections to Liverpool Street Station are of considerable benefit. The area is also well served by the A127 and the A130.
Wickford Memorial Park
With over 80 acres of parkland, this is the natural choice for people looking to engage in sporting activity or exercise. There are specialist areas and courts for football, bowling, tennis, basketball and even novelty golf.
The Battlesbridge Antiques Centre
Anyone looking to indulge in some antique shopping and viewing will find that the Battlesbridge Antique Centre is a delightful place to visit.
Local market places remain the hub of modern life in many towns and Wickford Market, while simple, provides a great deal to enjoy and peruse. No matter what you are looking for, there is a great chance that it will be on offer at Wickford market.
When it comes to finding a great home at a great price, Wickford has plenty to offer. As of November 2015, the average price of property in Wickford stood at £283,284 which compares very well to the average price of property in London, which stands at £548,538. The manageable commute time makes Wickford a great place for many people to stay without breaking their budget. The average property price in Wickford has risen by 5% in 12 months from November 2014, where the figure stood at £270,639.
Attractive rental yields
Another aspect of the property market that indicates Wickford is on an upwards trajectory is the positive rental yields. One bedroom properties offer a 5.82% rental yield and all property sizes offer more than 4%, which many property experts are considering a great starting point for landlords.
A quirky reason to appreciate Wickford is the fact that it is the recognised birthplace of naturism in the United Kingdom. This may sound like a cheeky reason but you have to be pleased with an area that encourages so much personal freedom.
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Published: 09/03/2016 Last Updated: 10/03/2016 09:25:41 Tags: News
Being a landlord is a great way to bring in additional income but it is important that landlords understand all of their duties and requirements. One thing that many landlords overlook or are unaware of is the issue of tax. This brief guide to “landlord tax” will hopefully make a few things clearer but as always with tax, it is best to speak to an advisor who can provide you with information that is tailored to your circumstances.
Do I have to pay tax on my letting income?
This is not definite and is one area where personal circumstances and finances will dictate. As an example, a landlord with a buy to let mortgage who find that the cost of the mortgage and maintenance of the property exceeds their income will not have to pay tax on rental income.
Income tax is due to be paid on rental income received from letting out property and any profits made from letting are classed as taxable income.
If your rental income, after all allowable expenses, is smaller than the landlord’s personal allowance, there will be no need to pay tax. There are also special rules in place for taxation of landlords who are non-resident (NRL) and for landlords who stay abroad.
Are there expenses that can be offset against rental income?
If you incur costs that are “wholly and exclusively” for letting purposes, then yes, these can be incurred against rental income. Aspects like mortgage interest, maintenance and repairs, insurance and property management fees can all be classed as expenses which can be offset against rental income.
Do I need to maintain records?
Yes, it is important to maintain a record of all income and expenditure with respect to lettings. These record should indicate when payments were made and to whom and when income was received and from whom.
Areas where records should be maintained include:
• Water and additional rates
• All maintenance and repair work
• Property management service fees
• Wear and tear of property (which can be claimed for furnished lets)
Important dates to remember:
• 31st of January – The deadline for completing tax for the previous tax year and for paying tax
• 6th of April – the beginning of the new tax year
• 31st of July – the second payment for account due for the current tax year
• 30th of September – the deadline for submitting a tax return for any landlord looking for Inland Revenue to calculate how much tax is due
It is also important to report and record income in the correct manner. Recording income from letting property is generally a straightforward process but there are some areas that need to be remembered by landlords.
Refundable deposits A landlord should take a refundable deposit at the beginning of a tenancy and this shouldn’t be viewed as income. However, if this deposit is forfeited by the tenant at the end of the deposit, say to cover unpaid rent, it should be classed as income at that point. Also, if the deposit is retained to cover cleaning costs or damages, this should be classed as a deposit. With this last point, it may be that this deposit is offset by the cost of cleaning, repair and maintenance over the course of the tenancy.
Rental advance If a rent advance straddles two tax years, only the applicable part will be considered income for the relevant year.
Unpaid rent This is still classed as income for the year it is due but if a default is made and not eventually recovered, unpaid rent should be considered as a bad debt and claimed as such.
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Published: 10/02/2016 Last Updated: 08/02/2018 11:38:36 Tags: News
Depending on your area and the quality of your home, you may find that there is already a high level of demand for your property. This can lead you to think that you don’t need to call on professional help when it comes to selling your home, but this isn’t the case. There are so many important elements and aspects involved with a property deal that it is always best to call on the services of a professional estate agent. The peace of mind and confidence that is provided by working with an estate agent is a great bonus for property owners and it will help you to sell your home in an effective manner.
You will likely find that you can choose between an estate agent from a major nationwide brand and an independent estate agent. Some people will instinctively plump for the corporate agent, rationalising that there is strength in numbers and depth but you may find that selling your property with an independent estate agent is the best option for you.
An independent estate agent will work with your best interests in mind
When you work with a corporate estate agent, they are likely to be working with a range of clients. This means that they may have a conflict of interest in certain areas or it may mean that they are unable to provide you with the time and attention your property needs and deserves. This isn’t the case when you work with an independent estate agent because they will be able to devote more time to your needs and selling your property. An independent estate agent is also much less likely to suffer from a conflict of interests, so you can rest assured you will receive the best possible service.
An independent estate agent will have a good level of local knowledge
Local knowledge is absolutely vital in selling a home. Knowing the local area means that an agent can promote to the right people, they can promote in the right places, they can talk about the benefits of the local area and they can help buyers find out the best information about the amenities and facilities on offer in a local area. An estate agent from a major firm will likely work from a factsheet that has been compiled by someone else, and they won’t have a feel for what the area can offer. If they are asked a question about the local area, they will likely have to get back to the potential buyer, which can make them seem unprofessional and which can place doubts in the mind of a potential buyer. If you want the best standard of service when selling your home, call on a local independent estate agent.
An independent estate agent works harder to build and retain their reputation
An independent estate agent knows that every job they do can have a big impact on how they are perceived or known in the local area. This is why they are likely to work harder and smarter for you. An agent from a major firm knows that the company reputation will still see work come their way, regardless of how they work on an individual job but an independent estate agent knows that a bad review or negative testimonial can seriously impact on their business. This means you get a better standard of work and service from an independent estate agent.
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Published: 04/02/2016 Last Updated: 08/02/2018 11:40:49 Tags: News
Why a Buy to Let property in Basildon is a sound investment
Located just over 30 miles from central London, Basildon is ideally situated for people looking to commute and who want to be removed from the hustle and bustle of London life. Basildon is one of the new towns that emerged after the Second World War but it is an area that has continued to thrive and prosper since then and in the present day, it presents an attractive proposition for people looking to enter the buy to let market. Strong transport links to the capital and a close proximity to notable towns and areas means that there is a great deal on offer in Basildon and beyond for any young professional or family.
One of the strongest reasons you will have for investing in a buy to let property in Basildon is the fact that the rental yield looks very attractive. In the current climate, anything of a high 4% or above is enough for many property investors to appreciate what they have but if you look at the rental yields for a number of areas in Basildon, you will find that the rental yield is above this level.
The rental yield opportunities in Basildon are strong
This is definitely the case for 1 bedroom properties with the rental yield for the SS13 postcode standing at 6.97%, for the SS14 postcode standing at 6.34% and the rental yield for the SS15 postcode standing at 6.63%. The rental yields for 2 bedroom properties are just as attractive. For SS13 postcodes, the rental yield stands at 6.45%, for the SS14 postcode it stands at 6.76% and for the SS15 postcode, the rental yield stands at 5.98%. Three bedroom properties in all three postcode areas stand at over 5%, so if you are looking to buy property in an area where there seems to be a good return on your investment, Basildon is a strong option.
Another reason for buying to let in Basildon comes with the fact that property prices in the area are still rising. This isn’t 100% perfect because it means that buying now, as opposed to having bought last year, is more expensive but in the grand scheme of things, rising property prices are a positive factor for people looking to benefit from the buy to let market. Between September 2014 and September 2015, overall property selling prices in Basildon rose by 9%, from £209,887 to £229,578. The two properties that rose by most were flats and terraced properties, which correlates with the high level of rental yield in the local area. Yes these properties are becoming more expensive but the level of demand associated with these properties means that there will be a steady stream of potential tenants.
Given that there is a large level of demand for rental property in Basildon, it makes sense to work with the experts in order to find the best candidate. If you are interested in renting quickly, you’ll have no shortage of candidates but in order to maximise your return on investment and to minimise hassle or damage to your property, working with an agent to find the most suitable tenants for your property makes sense.
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Published: 21/01/2016 Last Updated: 08/02/2018 11:36:02 Tags: News
6 Things a Landlord needs to do really well
Being a landlord is a sensible way to generate regular income. Some people and personality types will find that being a landlord is a great way to utilise their skills and to use their time in an effective manner too.
However, being a landlord can be difficult and there are 6 things a landlord needs to do really well, which are:
The research element should begin long before a landlord buys a home or starts looking for a tenant. If you are looking to invest in property, you should look at the best markets to buy for letting purposes and research what the rental yields are in certain areas. It may be that you are keen to buy in an area close to you, so you can be a “hands-on” landlord. This is a sensible idea but even with this in mind, you need to research different areas and determine what sort of property, in a particular area, is likely to offer the best return for your money. You should also research who the likely tenants are going to be for the area and what they are looking for from a landlord.
Being able to communicate makes a difference
It is important for a landlord to be able to communicate clearly and effectively. Whether this is communicating effectively to property managers, to companies where property advertisements are placed, to professionals carrying out work at home or to their tenants. It is best practice to have everything in writing and agreed upon from the outset, especially when dealing with tenants. Aspects like the details of how a tenancy should end and inventory reports can make life so much easier in the long run.
When it comes to getting the best possible rental yield for your investment, small margins can make a big difference. This is where the skills of an expert negotiator can make a big difference to your income levels in the long run. Money saved in the property price or even the price charged by a professional to carry out work or make improvements on your home can all positively impact on the overall rental yield a landlord receives. However it is important to note that in order to receive the best possible service from a professional it may be worthwhile paying a suitable going rate for their time and expertise.
Brush up on your networking skills
Networking may not seem like the most important task for a landlord but there are many ways in which you can engage with others, develop relationships and generally make life easier for youself. You may think that you are in competition against other landlords but it may be that working with landlords will help you find better professionals or allow you to find out which suppliers can help you save money in the long run.
Marketing and Promotion
You also need to know how to promote your property. Yes, there is a high level of demand for rental property at the moment but if you want the best income from the best tenants, you need to ‘sell’ your property to the right demographic. This means you need to understand the benefits of your property and where to reach out to the people who are most likely to benefit from what you offer. Well written descriptions and good quality images of your home looking attractive can make a noticeable difference to the level of income you receive as a landlord so don’t overlook the promotion and marketing aspect of the role.
Never stop learning
It is also important to never stop learning. You can always provide a better service and even if you make mistakes or don’t provide a good service at one point, think about why this was the case. If you can make improvements to your service, you will develop better relationships and be more likely to earn better income in the future.
Published: 20/01/2016 Last Updated: 20/01/2016 10:16:38 Tags: News
How much does it cost to move?
Moving home can be an expensive process but it is important to not solely focus on the purchase or sales price of the property but to consider all of the additional costs involved that you may not be aware of. Talk to your estate agent and ask them for a example breakdown of the cost of moving.
If you haven’t moved for several years then these costs may have changed. It is good to get up to date with this first to ensure that you are budgeting correctly from the start. Many people fall in love with a property and then have to start from the beginning when they realise that their dream home is not affordable for one reason or another.
This guide will look at some of the other costs that arise when moving home:
Conveyancing is the process of instructing a solicitor to act on your behalf when buying or selling a property. Conveyancing costs can vary from around £500 to £1,500 (plus VAT), and this figure will vary depending on the style or price of property that is being purchased. If you are selling and buying, you’ll likely find that a solicitor will offer a package deal.
You will find that many agents operate on commission basis and they will charge between 1% and 2% of the selling price of the property, this is paid by the selling party. There is also 20% VAT potentially to add to this fee, so bear this in mind when it comes to calculating your net sales price.
There are changes to stamp duty coming in April of 2016, but currently, a quick guide to the Stamp duty rate is as follows:
Minimum Property Price Maximum Property Price Stamp Duty Rate
£0 £125,000 0%
£125,001 £250,000 2%
£250,001 £925,000 5%
£925,001 £1.5million 10%
Over £1.5 million 12%
This fee is dependent on the style of mortgage that you obtain but you may find that your bank or mortgage lender will charge a valuation fee. This allows them to assess the property to determine how much they are willing to lend you to buy the property. Depending on the mortgage, this can cost anything between £150 and £1,500. In some cases, this fee may be added to the total loan amount therefore you could be paying this off over the next 25 years.
Prior to a sale being concluded, a surveyor needs to survey the property to ensure that there are no defects or structural problems with the property. There are various types of surveyor’s reports that you can choose with the simplest, and cheapest, being the home condition survey. The cost of a surveyor’s fee can be anything between £250 and £600. Not all buyers instruct an independent surveyor when purchasing a more modern home.
Electronic transfer fee
This covers the cost of moving the mortgage funds from your bank to your solicitor’s account and this can cost around £50.
You may also have removal costs when you pay for a removal firm to help you out. Three tips to remember to keep this cost as low as possible are:
• Get rid of clutter and things you don’t need
• Book in advance if possible (depending on exchange dates)
• Get a number of quotes and compare them. Don’t always consider the cheapest price!
Want to find out how much your home is worth? click here
Published: 12/01/2016 Last Updated: 12/01/2016 15:22:31 Tags: News
While some parts of the UK has seen house prices plateau or even dip in the past 12 months, Colchester has experienced a significant rise in property prices .This means that this is an area that has received a great deal of attention from UK property experts and analysts.
As of the end of September 2015, there had been a 21% rise in the average price for property in Colchester over the past 12 months. This meant that the average price in Colchester has risen from £189,996 in September 2014 to £229,125. Breaking down the figures into property types, it can be seen that terraced properties and detached properties were largely responsible for this large increase in average property prices.
For detached properties, the September 2014 figure was £310,959 and one year later the figure was £397,067 representing a 28% increase. The change for terraced properties was even larger, rising from a 2014 level of £169,183 to £219,231, a rise of 30%. The rise in prices for semi-detached properties and flats may not have been as dramatic or noteworthy, but they still represented a growth in prices. Semi-detached properties came in at £214,186 in 2014 and for 2015 they increased to £233,798 a rise of 9%. For flats, the average property price last year was £129,462 while the current average is £135,608, which represents a 5% rise. The fact that all property types in Colchester experienced a rise in price over the past 12 months suggests that this is an area that is on most definitely on the up.
Many factors are responsible for the rise of property prices in Colchester
Rather than there being one single reason in the rise of property prices in Colchester in the past year, it seems as though there is a combination of factors which has led more people to wanting to live in the area and for the prices to rise significantly. The rail links to London are effective and as that market becomes even more squeezed, people will look further afield to reside. The daily commute from Colchester is one that many people can take in their stride so it is easy to see why people looking for great value for money has pinpointed this area. Access to the A12 is a notable feature in the area and there have been a number of new build homes in the west and north of Colchester, which are extremely well located for this commuting route.
It isn’t just about the closeness to London or the ability to reach other parts of the country though, Colchester has experienced a rise in its local economy, which is always going to be a factor in a demand for a particular area. The rise in industries has moved the perception of Colchester from a “squaddies town” to an area where you will find emerging businesses and a place where you can bring up a family or socialise with family and friends.
Published: 07/01/2016 Last Updated: 07/01/2016 09:59:13 Tags: News
Why January is a great time to market your home
Traditionally, the property market has been slower in January with the market, traditionally, not really ‘kicking in’ to life until the spring time. This is no longer the case though and there is an acceptance that proactive and keen sellers and buyers can find the January market to be of great benefit. This is the time of year when many people are keen to make changes to their life and act on their resolutions.
By the time spring is in full bloom, there will be more competition for you as many more properties come on the market, which can make it very hard to stand out from the crowd. If you want to increase your chances of being the property that people see and want to buy, make sure that your property can be seen at a time when there is less competition. January is a good time to be looking to sell.
January viewers are serious buyers
Another important aspect of the January property market is that people who are looking at property are generally serious about buying. During the warmer months of the year, there is a greater chance that people will come along to view your property for something to do, but this is less likely to happen in the winter months. This means that placing your property on the market at this time of year will mean that you are more likely to come into contact with people who have a genuine interest in moving. January is often a busy time for many people at work and with the children going back to school but let’s not forget that people will still have a need to move as well.
You will feel more positive about engaging with potential buyers in January
This means that you will have a greater chance of selling your home but it can also have a positive impact on your psychology and outlook. If you are trying to sell your home and a lot of the people you see have very little intention of buying, it can be emotionally draining, impacting on your mood and how you engage with others. This could in turn have an impact on how you deal with potential buyers.
Another big reason why January is an important time for selling your property relates to the fact that this is the most popular month for corporate transfers. Businesses often make decisions at the start of the year and this sees many people looking for a property in a hurry. Having your property on the market at this time of year puts you in prime position to attract this type of buyer.
Published: 09/12/2015 Last Updated: 08/02/2018 11:45:07 Tags: News
With Colchester becoming a hotspot for commuters, it is no surprise that properties within reasonable walking distance of Colchester’s two stations are being snapped up. One perfect example of this is the Northfields development built by Lindon Homes, which is just off Turner Road. Located perfectly for Colchester General Hospital and Colchester’s North Station, additionally offering direct links to London Liverpool Street, homes here are very desirable. Currently, over 20% of the property sales we tie up have been to buyers from out of the area, mainly people moving up from South Essex and the Greater London areas.
We feel that our two South Essex branches in Basildon & Wickford complements our Colchester branch, therefore enabling us to tap into those ‘out of area’ buyers. The three properties pictured are all located on the Northfields Development. We secured buyers for all three within the last few weeks. If you are looking to sell or buy a property close to North Station; please call our sales team on 01206 578112.
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Published: 25/11/2015 Last Updated: 25/11/2015 11:32:09 Tags: News
The 3 & 4 bedroom homes will be located on Ballards Walk, Basildon, Essex, SS15 5JS and designs will come from the Redrow Heritage collection.
Just as Basildon is perfectly placed for London, with a travel time of just 35 minutes by train, St Nicholas Mews is perfectly placed for Basildon. The development lies within walking distance of the town centre, the superb new Basildon Sporting Village and the magnificent Gloucester Park, as well as a choice of schools and convenient transport links.
Together, these superb facilities mean that these new homes in Basildon have something for all the family, with top quality family homes from our award winning Heritage Collection.
Handy for the city, yet a world away from the city stress, St Nicholas Mews, Basildon could be the lifestyle you’re looking for. And with Help to Buy, that lifestyle could be closer than you think, with just a 5% deposit needed to secure your new home.
For more information about Redrow click HERE
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Some potentially worrying news has arisen in the local press in recent weeks. It seems that Colchester could be forced to build thousands of extra homes, on top of their current allocation, if Tending Council refuses to fulfil their part of the government's housing quota.
Currently, Tendring Council is considering a housing target that would see them build 479 homes per year over the course of 17 years. According to a housing needs study, this is the minimum amount recommended, compared to the upper limit which is 705 houses per year. If Tending Council are allowed to lower their limit instead of accepting a middle estimate figure of roughly 597 houses a year for the next 17, then it would be left to Colchester to take over the surplus housing.
If this is the case, and Tending Council do choose the lower estimate, then Colchester would have to take on the development of almost 4,000 homes over the 17 year period. This is on top of the target Colchester has already accepted, where they will build a further 900 houses a year.
It seems Colchester Council are aware of the impact the increase in required housing would have. In a response to Tendring's Local Plan they replied, “Colchester Council takes housing delivery seriously but will not be able to make up any shortfall in Tendring because of the high targets already being accommodated within the borough.”
If we consider that Colchester is already the country's fastest growing borough, these demands seem to have been a little hasty. Followers of our blog will know that Temme English agree in principal with the idea of building more homes to help the country alleviate the housing shortage. However, there needs to be succinct and detailed plans to accompany these developments, so that the already overburdened infrastructure in Colchester doesn't grind to a halt.
The developments need to be sustainable and consider the impact on local amenities and heritage. For instance, an area of ancient woodland, Bullock Wood, which is also a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) is currently under threat of development. Whilst trying to reserve judgement, there needs to be a balance between the need for extra homes and the retention of Colchester's ability to function as a Town, not just a huge housing estate.
Furthermore, the transport infrastructure, particularly on Colchester's inner roads needs to be addressed. If not, and more developments appear, the roads will not be able to cope with the influx.
So whilst we think Colchester should do its part to help build new homes for people in the area, we also believe they shouldn't go ahead without a wider plan that addresses the issues Colchester is already facing.
Click HERE to see our current Colchester stock
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Published: 03/11/2015 Last Updated: 17/11/2015 15:34:46 Tags: News
It is well documented that living in London is becoming an increasingly expensive life choice. The combination of extortionate living costs and rising property prices mean that living outside of the capital, and commuting in, is by far the most cost effective way of working in the city. This realisation has hugely benefitted towns such as Basildon, an area of Essex that up until 1974 didn’t even have a train station, let alone the title as one of the top commuter towns in the country.
Basildon was built under what was known as the New Towns Act of 1946, which created eight new towns in the South East of England in the mid-1900s. Just 30 miles from the capital, this brand new development, known as Basildon, was seen as ideally placed to deal with the aftermath of World War Two, when huge numbers of suburban homes were destroyed. People were encouraged to live and work in Basildon though, rather than see it as a way back into London, hence the need wait another 28 years before having a station built.
Having now passed its 60th birthday, Basildon has progressed far beyond its original New Town status to be considered one of the top commuter hubs in the country, and has seen its population grow from tens to hundreds of thousands in the process. As well as its closeness to London, added incentives to commuters are also the comparably cheaper housing and rail costs that the area enjoys, as well as the thriving housing market.
There seems to be little chance of Basildon resting on its laurels though, and both rail and road travel improvement plans are under consideration to help the area continue to be seen as a strategic growth location. The transport links, both train and car, are vital to Basildon’s popularity, and it is important that there is continual investment to cater for the growing number of London workers who are being drawn to the town.
The introduction of the Basildon Train Station was both the beginning of and the catalyst for Basildon’s rise, with the town consistently receiving awards for being a top rental hotspot as well as a commuter town. Keeping up with demand will be crucial, as will be the need for landlords to invest in buy-to-let properties in the area. It is an exciting time and an exciting town, with the commuter population bringing valuable funds into the local economy that can only benefit Basildon moving forward.
Click HERE to see our current Basildon stock.
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Published: 03/11/2015 Last Updated: 03/11/2015 15:37:40 Tags: News
On Wednesday the 23rd of October, Colchester town councillors met to discuss a proposal to bring in a Colchester congestion charge. The scheme put forward by Councillor Jo Hayes is similar to that of London, who have had a congestion charge in place since 2003. The idea is to charge high emission vehicles each and every time they pass through areas of Colchester that have high pollution levels, most notably the High Street and Brook Street.
The aim of the proposal is twofold. Firstly, there is a desire to lower the levels of pollution in Colchester, improving air quality and hopefully reducing health related illnesses that come as a result of polluted air. The second, to discourage vehicles from travelling through areas that see a high volume of traffic, therefore lessening the burden of some of the town’s roads.
Exemptions to the charge would include blue badge holders and drivers who need access to places within the charging area. However, taxis, delivery vehicles and buses would all have to pay the congestion fee. It seems Ms Hayes would also like to encourage the use of electric vehicles to accompany the proposal but it is unclear as yet if they would be granted free access.
The fee proposed would fall around £1 per trip for each vehicle that passes into the zone. This would be enforced by number plate recognition technology. These machines use cameras to register and log a vehicle when it crosses the zone's boundaries.
The sentiment behind Ms Hayes’ motion is one that many people will agree with in principal. Both the pollution and congestion in and around Colchester needs to be addressed. It only takes a couple of trips during rush hour to realise this. However, this proposal doesn't seem to have been fully thought out.
Deterring vehicles from travelling through the centre of town places an added stress upon the outer roads, which can hardly cope themselves. We only need to look back to March 2013, when the council banned cars from the High Street between 11am and 6pm. It caused huge congestion issues on the alternative routes and resulted in the council revoking the ban only a month later.
There needs to be considerable thought and investment into the infrastructure around Colchester. Perhaps a combined approach of improved public transport alongside an expansion of the road system would make a difference. Without considerable effort, the vehicles just aren't going to disappear. So in conclusion, although we appreciate the idea behind the proposal, we're not sure it's quite right for Colchester, but will watch carefully to see how the proposal evolves.
Published: 14/10/2015 Last Updated: 14/10/2015 16:02:05 Tags: News
For most people the summer months are an ideal opportunity to spend time in the garden. Whether it is just to relax, or you are having friends and family over to enjoy the sunshine, the majority of us will spend time helping the garden to look its best. As well as flowers and shrubs, trees can be a fantastic addition to a garden that has the space; creating shade, bringing colour, and even in some cases bearing fruit. During the winter months we tend to shirk our gardening responsibilities, allowing things to become overgrown and untidy. When this happens we can often become a nuisance to those around us.
It is important when you plant a tree, or if you have one already that is growing a little out of control, that you take into account other people. Your branches may encroach across to their garden, or bring unwanted wildlife. There is also the issue of casting a neighbour into shade or showering their garden with dead foliage when the leaves begin to fall. As with any addition to your home, you must first think how the changes are likely to affect those around you.
If you are the one being inconvenienced though then it is equally important to know your rights when it comes to dealing with the issue. Ownership is relatively simple. No matter where the branches hang, or the roots protrude from, it is where it was planted that matters, and who owns that land. Whoever owns the garden that the tree was grown from, owns the tree. Although they may have ownership of the tree itself though, you do still have rights when it comes to what is on your side of the boundary.
Overhanging branches can be cut back to the boundary point without any legal repercussions, provided that the tree itself is not under a Tree Preservation Order. If it is, or you are unsure, then you will need to request further information from your local Tree Preservation Officer before proceeding. One slightly outdated rule it is also worth remembering is the Theft Act of 1968, which still applies today. This confirms that all fruit, flowers and branches belong to the tree’s owner, meaning that even if they happen to fall into your garden, overhang the fence or are cut down, legally you are required to return everything back to your neighbour. Eat the fruit, for instance, and legally you are stealing.
You also have the law behind you when it comes to digging up tree roots that jut from the ground on your side of the fence. Although you do have the right to do this yourself it is generally advised that you bring in an expert tree surgeon, namely as you don’t know how deep the root goes, or what it has grown under. When you use a surgeon it also becomes the tree owner’s responsibility to pay as well, something that they can sometimes claim against their home insurance if paying up front isn’t an option.
Whenever it comes to overhanging trees and branches you should ideally look to talk to your neighbour before taking any action. Keeping things friendly and transparent is always the best way to deal with any problems you have, with your legal standing simply a way to back up your requests. If you do run into any problems then speaking to Citizen’s Advice will let you know the legal steps to follow.
Published: 05/10/2015 Last Updated: 08/02/2018 11:39:33 Tags: News
As the summer warmth begins to fade and autumn brings its cooler temperatures, there is nothing better than a hearty, warming meal at the end of a long day to help stave off the cold.
This recipe for a delicious butternut squash soup uses chilli to add a little kick and burst of flavour, and is a simple meal to prepare in the evening. Serve alongside a big chunk of doorstep bread for dunking, then cuddle up and enjoy.
- A 1kg Butternut Squash, peeled and deseeded
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 2 Onions, diced
- 1 Garlic Clove, thinly sliced
- 2 Chillies, deseeded and finely chopped (use mild for a lower heat, hot for the opposite)
- 850ml Hot Vegetable Stock
- 4 tbsp Crème Fraiche (Plus more to serve)
- Large Roasting Tin
- Large Saucepan
- A Stick Blender and/or Liquidiser
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cut squash into large cubes, roughly 4-5cm, then place in roasting tin with half the olive oil. Roast for 30 mins, turning once, then remove then soft and golden.
While cooking the squash, melt the butter with the oil in a saucepan, adding garlic, onions and roughly three quarters of the chilli. Cover and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes, until onions are soft.
Once cooked, tip squash into the saucepan then add stock and crème fraiche. Blitz with the stick bender until smooth. If looking for an even smoother finish then use the liquidizer in batches. Once smooth enough, return to the pan to reheat and then season. Serve in deep bowls with another spoonful of crème fraiche and a sprinkling of chilli.
Published: 22/09/2015 Last Updated: 08/02/2018 11:37:52 Tags: News
A recent study from property website giants Rightmove has placed Basildon as one of the Top Rental Hotspots in the country. When looking at areas outside of Greater London, the Essex town of Basildon, alongside neighbours Southend and Chelmsford, was rated just behind Stevenage in second place on the Top Ten Rental Hotspots list. A combination of the amount of searches and query emails each area received on Rightmove’s site, as well as how often a property description was viewed, helped Rightmove to rate each town in order of popularity.
Basildon’s high rating is likely attributed to a number of factors. It is a town that is able to meet the expectations of people who are struggling to enter the property market as buyers, supplying high quality rentals at a much lower rate than other towns across the country. The average rent in Basildon for example is £1,000 per month, almost half that of a Greater London equivalent. The commuting distance to the capital is another major plus point, with people moving out of London to take advantage of the cheaper rental rates, yet retaining a simple 35 minute train ride back in.
The positives for commuters don’t stop there either, with Basildon also boasting some of the cheapest rail travel of anywhere in the country too, leading to yet another title as the most affordable commuter hotspot in the UK. A London season ticket is an affordable £3,748, compared to the £5,000 UK average. One million commuters currently travel to London each day to ply their trade, with Basildon’s cheap, quick travel and inexpensive housing a huge incentive to them.
Although the financial benefits are an obvious pull, it isn’t the only reason why Basildon is such a highly sought after location. It is a town that is experiencing economic growth too. This is bringing extensive development to the town, with the Dry Street development currently under consideration proposing 725 new homes.
As far amenities are concerned, Basildon is not found wanting either. For leisure there is the Eastgate Shopping Centre, home to over 100 stores, including major brands Asda and Topshop. Basildon Hospital has been rated ‘Outstanding’ and ‘Good’ in recent Care Quality Commission ratings, and in Basildon Park you have the benefit of 400 acres of parkland and the historical value of a Grade I listed Georgian Mansion.
Schools too are feeling the benefit of both the economic and population growth that Basildon is experiencing. With Essex as a whole suffering from a shortage of school places, £200 million has been pledged to deal with the issue, with a number of expansion projects underway. Three of Basildon’s Primary Schools; Whitmore, Abacus and Runwell, have each benefitted from the scheme. This has meant an additional 465 places already created as a result.
So at the moment Basildon has a lot to shout about. The second place finish in the Top Rental Hotspot table, and the title as the Most Affordable Commuter Town only tells half the story. The town is one on the rise, with investment meaning even more homes, additional school places, and even the commitment to develop internal transport links to deal with the increased population. So whether you are looking for a quick commute to London, or want to take advantage of exceptional hospital treatment and spectacular historic parkland, Basildon is certainly somewhere you should be exploring.
Published: 10/09/2015 Last Updated: 10/09/2015 13:42:14 Tags: News
The speedy expansion of Colchester is set to continue over the next 20 years, according to reports released at the end of August. It is estimated that there will be a growth of 35,000 people over that two decade period, with 920 homes required each year to house the 1,600 people. For people that already live in Colchester this will likely be received with a mixed response. Since 2009 the borough has been regularly seeing a rise of 1,000 homes and 2,000 people, giving us the title of the fastest growing town in the country. Great for the town in terms of the economic growth it brings, but the necessity for improvements to access and local services is also something that concerns local residents.
When it comes to Colchester, the figures for growth have been exceeded time and time again, so expect these latest numbers to also be taken with a pinch of salt. In 2004 it was expected that Colchester would grow by just 733 homes each year. This has been nearer to 920, a significant increase over an 11 year period. Colchester’s neighbours too are expected to see substantial growth, with Braintree and Chelmsford aiming for between 1,100 and 1,200 each year, and Tendring 1,000.
Growth is great for a town like Colchester. It brings businesses and economic expansion, with developments such as those happening around the Essex University and towards the Tollgate Village becoming possible due to increased numbers and investment in the borough. What must be taken into account though is Colchester’s services and amenities, as well as the roads. The Colchester General Hospital has come under scrutiny for quite some time, with a new Chief Executive placed in charge of the NHS Trust to help deal with the slide. How will the hospital cope with these additional numbers, and what is being done to support them? These are questions that must be answered.
The roads too would be a concern. With each household likely to bring at least one car, it is important to give them room to move around and not bring the town to a grinding halt. There have been improvements made in recent years, for example the introduction of the connecting road from the A12 and Colchester United Stadium to Mill Road, but more measures are certain to be needed.
There is also the matter of jobs and employment in the town too, to make sure that as well as commuters moving here, we are also able to retain the skills of our residents too. A further report on growth strategy anticipates that we will need 1,000 new jobs every year for the next six for the town to thrive as well as grow. Plans to secure superfast broadband, attract £5 million funding for business support and £10 million of new investment are being considered, all with the aim of bringing more high skill work to the borough and increasing our economic performance ranking.
When at an acceptable level and speed, growth and development can be hugely beneficial to a town, with Colchester in particular one that has been benefiting greatly already. Back up development of homes with money towards services, such as the NHS and Police support, on road planning and towards job creation and economic growth, and Colchester has the potential to become an even more thriving community and hub for the best and brightest to ply their trade. We believe that this is possible and that the numbers stated needn’t be seen as scary, but instead with huge potential in mind.
Published: 19/08/2015 Last Updated: 08/02/2018 11:38:45 Tags: News
A lot of time and money has been spent on redeveloping the roads around Colchester over the past 12 months. Most noticeably has been the new Northern Approach Road from the Western Homes Stadium on Junction 28 of the A12 to Mill Road and then subsequently the Station, coinciding with the new Park and Ride scheme introduced. Having been completed earlier this year, the attention of the Essex County Council has now turned to cycling, to help Colchester maintain its status as a ‘Cycle Town’, a title it was given in 2008 along with £4.2m in grant funding.
With continued investment in housing developments across Colchester, the population is steadily on the rise. More houses means more cars, with the Northern Approach Road developed in part to ease the congestion that this has brought, as well as to provide easier access. A £2m kitty has now been put in place for developing cycle and walking routes too across the town, a different approach to keeping congestion down and one that might prove an attractive prospect to those either commuting from the station or struggling to find their way into our busy town centre.
The funding will be supplied by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and will be added to Colchester’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund. The north is likely to benefit the most from any investment, to deal with the ever growing number of houses being developed and the increasing population.
So far there have been proposals to develop a new east-to-west route through Highwoods Country Park, as well as improve cycling routes around North Station, down Ipswich Road and along Station Way. There will also be a bridge replacement in Castle Park and a new cycling route for access to the subway paths near to the Colchester Institute. A large proportion of these plans were schemes already in existence, with the additional funding pushing things along and creating a more strategically planned cycling movement.
A lot of what make Colchester such a highly sought after area is the huge improvements that are being made in terms of developing the town and building new housing for outside buyers. The fact that the council has introduced improvements to the infrastructure is good news too, with more ways for people to come into Colchester without having to worry as much about congestion.
Improvements to the cycling and walking paths should also be welcomed, if it means an increase in people leaving the cars at home and jumping on their bike instead. Not only does it reduce congestion by having less cars on the road, it is also a positive for the environment and good for your health too! We hope that these measures encourage more people to cycle and that the council continues to introduce new ways to make Colchester a better place to live.
Published: 29/07/2015 Last Updated: 29/07/2015 12:29:13 Tags: News
On the 26th of January 2015 a new online property portal was launched. Agent owned, OntheMarket.com was developed to tackle the duopoly of Rightmove and Zoopla, giving power back to estate agents in the form of hundreds of thousands of exclusive properties. Founded by Agents Mutual, OnTheMarket allows only office branch agencies to list their properties. This provides an unrivalled reliability and professionalism to those who utilise the portal, something not always assured with unregulated online businesses. Temme English joined the revolution at its very beginning, offering our local knowledge and exceptional customer service exclusively to the portal, whilst at the same time moving away from the profit driven, outside influence of the other two.
Over the past five months there has been incredible progress and those agents who have already taken the plunge are really beginning to feel the difference. There are currently around 5,000 estate agent members and at the beginning of June the portal had already received almost 15 million views. The website has been designed to be clean and easy to navigate, without the user being inundated with distracting adverts and promotions. Having spoken to our customers all agree that there is a real focus on the user by OnTheMarket, something that the other portals haven’t been able to grasp. In many places it is already challenging the others for supremacy, not afraid to tackle its bigger, more established competitors. For a portal a fraction of the age, this is impressive growth.
For the platform to become a rival across the whole of the UK the focus must be upon exposure. Many estate agents have already signed up and are able to explain the benefits of the portal first hand, but the marketing of the portal is also key. Since it’s launch, the OnTheMarket advert has been aired almost 20,000 times, with over 46 million people viewing it. There have been over 100 adverts set to print, with online adverts spread widely across the web to encourage click-throughs and brand recognition. The responsive design of the website also makes it ideal for use on the move, with no need to download an additional app, another feature that has been widely admired and shared.
As progression continues, OnTheMarket are now asking Estate Agents to sign a ‘letter of intent’ to become a member. This option is for those who are not quite ready to move away from the security of Rightmove and Zoopla but are aware of OnTheMarket’s growing reputation. The letter asks them to commit to joining the network once the portal reaches 7,500 offices. It is yet another way that Agents Mutual are looking to involve estate agents and prove to them the value of an industry led portal, not only to the agencies themselves but also to their customers.
The first six months of OnTheMarket have been a steadily expanding success. For Temme English it has brought fresh interest through the doors and the ability to market our customer’s properties on a cleaner, more effective setting. We will continue to support the platform and hope that more and more people realise its potential. Once that is realised then it is the users who will benefit.
Published: 29/07/2015 Last Updated: 29/07/2015 11:59:54 Tags: News
In August we have found something for the foodies, an afternoon of getting back to nature and the opportunity for children (and adults) to experience the ultimate magical tour…
Food for Thorpe
Springfield, golden Lane, Thorpe-le-Soken, Essex, CO16 0LD
Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd August 2015 10.00am to 5.00pm £7 entry under 16’s Free.
Treat the family to a wonderful weekend of food, drink and exciting local entertainment set on the beautiful grounds of Springfield. Hosted by local magician, Michael J Fitch, exhibitors will vary between champagne, Indian banquets and vintage china. They may even be an appearance from a certain celebrity father and daughter pair, Peppa and Daddy Pig! Click here to find out more.
Nevendon Manor, Borwick Lane, Wickford, Essex, SS12 0QA
Wednesday 19th to Saturday 22nd August 2015
Bring imagination to life when you experience Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory at Nevendon Manor. Meet all the characters you remember as you search for Charlie through the outdoor trail, reliving the magic of this classic Roald Dahl novel. Great for any age, kids will love the ‘yumilicious’ themed grounds and the excitement of meeting the elusive Mr Wonka in the flesh. Click here to find out more.
Wild Play – Bowers Marsh
RSPB Bowers Marsh, Basildon, Essex
Wednesday 26th August 2015 Children 3+ £3.50 under 3’s recommended £2 donation.
This summer give your children the chance to experience nature and get their hands dirty with the exciting Wild Play events at Bowers Marsh. There is a variety of activities available to suit any wild child, from mud cooking to butterfly netting. Simply drop by at any time throughout the day and find something fun to do this holiday.
Published: 29/07/2015 Last Updated: 29/07/2015 12:20:15 Tags: News
We have been having a lot of fun so far this year at Temme English. That isn’t to say that we haven’t been working hard though, but we have been making changes. We joined the On The Market phenomenon earlier in the year, embracing an industry led platform opposed to extortionate fees, celebrated the first birthday of our Basildon branch on the 5th of July and have also welcomed a number of new team members to both the sales and lettings side. To keep up with our expansion and growth across Essex we also thought it was time to upgrade our web presence too, which we have done to what we think is great effect.
The new Temme English website has taken our now recognisable brand and evolved it, bringing us crashing into 2015 with a fresh, modern interface that makes searching for a property to buy or rent in Essex a much easier process. Immediately as you land on our Homepage you are welcomed by a selection of feature properties, each with simple icons that highlight the amount of bedrooms and bathrooms, and a price that immediately lets you know whether it meets your needs. You also have the option of entering an area or postcode to find properties to rent or buy immediately, speeding up the process of seeing what’s on offer.
As you move through the website you are offered a combination of informative content and stunning market properties. Our Area Guides page gives a summary of what each area we deal in, Colchester, Wickford and Basildon, have to offer a potential buyer, and our Meet the Team gives insight into exactly who we are and what we can offer. The ‘Why Us?’ page is exactly what it promises, a series of mission statements that explain our values and what that means for you.
You are able to Book a Valuation with us online and have a dedicated member of our team visit and assess your home. We have individual pages for Landlords and for Tenants, making the vital distinction between the two and showcasing exactly what you can expect from Temme English whichever side you fall on.
Our Blog page will be consistently updated throughout the month with informative and interesting posts that will range from local news to industry trends, with a regular ‘What’s On’ guide too. At Temme English we understand that knowing your community and attending local events is all a part of making a house and home, which is why we are so committed to setting out exactly what is happening where you are to help you get involved.
Alongside our new website we will also be investing more time in our Social Media presence too. We have an active presence on Facebook that allows us to share news and views from both ourselves and the industry, as well as a Twitter account for links to articles and blog posts we write. You can even get to know our founder, Carl Temme, better too, by linking with him on LinkedIn and seeing exactly what is going on with the company he created.
With its simple interface and catalogue of informative pages and blog content, we believe that the new Temme English website is able to offer our customers a portal not only into what we offer but also to the fantastic properties that we market across Colchester, Wickford and Basildon. We hope you like the upgrade and look forward to helping you if you ever require the services of a professional and enthusiastic local estate agent.
Published: 29/07/2015 Last Updated: 08/02/2018 11:46:26 Tags: News
Squeaky Door Hinges
There’s nothing more annoying than a squeaky door hinge, especially during the summer time when doors and windows are thrown wide open wide.
To deal with the squeak, simply spray a little WD-40 onto the hinges, moving the door back and forward to ensure it seeps into the joint. Another fix is to use petroleum jelly, something easily found around the home.
Published: 29/07/2015 Last Updated: 29/07/2015 12:14:01 Tags: News
It has now been a few weeks since the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne, revealed his radical Summer Budget. The first majority Conservative budget since 1996, its announcement has caused serious implications for landlords. With the dust now starting to settle we can now start to look in a little more detail at exactly what this all means for landlords and the rental market.
Mr Osbourne has spoken about the need to ‘level the playing field’ between landlords and those looking to buy their home. Citing an ‘unfairness in property taxation’, it remains to be seen as to who exactly will suffer as a result of these reforms, with many feeling that it will be independent landlords and tenants, as opposed to institutional investors.
Below we look at two of the most prominent changes for landlords and assess their potential repercussions. The first looks at the Tax Relief Restrictions that are to be introduced, and how this will affect the buy-to-let market. The other assess changes to the Rent-a-Room scheme.
So what exactly has been proposed?
Tax Relief Restrictions for ‘Wealthier’ Landlords
Under the current system a landlord is able deduct their costs, including their mortgage interest, from their profits before they pay tax. Thanks to this legislation they have been able to gain an advantage over other home buyers. For wealthier landlords this has meant tax relief at 40% and 45%.
The new budget means that this will no longer be possible and that tax relief will now be restricted to 20% as of April 2020. April 2016 will also see the so called’ wear and tear allowance’ reformed. In the past this has allowed landlords to reduce the amount of tax they pay on their damaged furnishings, whether they replace them or not. In its place will be a new system that instead only allows replacements to be covered.
What this means is that thousands of buy-to-let landlords are likely to see their investment become less lucrative than they might have expected. Whether you own a single property or a full portfolio you are likely to feel the strain of added costs. The worry is that this will transfer onto tenants, and that rent prices will rise to compensate for landlords who are out of pocket. With 15% of mortgages in the UK a buy-to-let, there is likely to be a considerable amount of movement by both sides.
For first time buyers though this could have the desired effect of opening up the market. As landlord investors struggle to make their properties profitable, the buy-to-let scheme will become a far less attractive prospect, meaning more housing stock available to buy and therefore lower market prices. For buy-to-let investors things could well have been worse. Had the Chancellor seen fit to completely remove tax relief for mortgage interest payments, then landlords would have undoubtedly struggled even more with their repayments. Had costs outweighed profits then there is likely to have been a huge shift in both people taking up the scheme and those already on it. As it is there is time to adapt.
Verdict: Time will tell as to whether this announcement puts increased pressure on landlords and whether rent prices and subsequently tenants suffer as a result. These changes are being phased in though, meaning that there is time for landlords to adapt and perform the relevant calculations needed to balance and manage their investments.
The Rent-A-Room Scheme
The rent-a-room scheme was introduced as an incentive for homeowners to fill empty, furnished space. For those with accommodation available in their homes, the rent-a-room system allowed them to earn up to £4,250 tax free, covering a single room up to a whole floor. This tax exemption was created to encourage people to utilise their vacant space and open up the opportunities for additional accommodation in homes across the UK.
The Summer Budget has seen a welcome increase to this amount, with the limit now raised to £7,500 completely tax free. Currently there are estimated to be almost 20 million empty bedrooms in occupied properties across the UK. By creating an even greater incentive to those who own these homes, you are able to create affordable rented accommodation for lodgers.
In this scenario not only do those moving in benefit as a result, but so do homeowners too. A lodger landlord is able to earn on average around £6,000 a year, a figure that rises significantly inside of London. That additional revenue can help counter balance any amendments made to mortgage payments as a result of a rise in income tax, helping people to feel more secure about their investment in a home.
Verdict: By raising the limit on tax free lodger income the chancellor is encouraging people to utilise empty space and earn money whilst they do. A positive for all involved.
Published: 29/07/2015 Last Updated: 29/07/2015 16:43:11 Tags: News
Recipe - Strawberry Ice Lollies
The Summer Holidays are here! For kids this means the chance to relax for six long weeks, for parents and grandparents it means 42 days of entertaining!
Treating the kids with homemade Strawberry Ice Lollies is just one way you can keep them happy, and the recipe is so easy they can help you too:
- 250g of strawberries
- 100 ml of natural yoghurt or apple juice
- 1 tsp of honey
- Ice Lolly Moulds (Shape Optional)
- Lolly sticks (If Not Supplied with Moulds)
- Freezer (Obviously)
Blend the strawberries, yoghurt/juice and honey together until smooth, tasting to check the sweetness and adding more honey if needed. Divide between the moulds and add a stick into each mixture. Place in the freezer for at least 4 hours and, once set, enjoy!
Published: 29/07/2015 Last Updated: 29/07/2015 10:12:04 Tags: News
On the 8th of July the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne, released the first wholly Conservative budget that the country has seen for almost 20 years. For landlords it may mean some serious implications to the way that they are able to earn from their property investments, with the rental market, and buy-to-let specifically, targeted in order to create a more ‘level playing field’ against those who are trying to buy.
A fortnight on from the announcements and there is still debate as to whether it will be independent landlords and tenants who will suffer as a result of the reforms, rather than ‘wealthy landlords’ as stated. For landlords who may have targeted buy-to-let as a way to earn money through their retirement, the investment is now looking slightly less lucrative, thanks to a reduction in tax relief from 40% down to 20%.
The tax relief as it currently stands allows landlords to deduct their costs, including mortgage interest, from their profits before they pay tax. It has been this relief that has allowed the buy-to-let market to flourish, and in turn is supposedly partly responsible for why buyers have been struggling to afford their own homes.
The new percentage will be introduced gradually over the next 5 years, giving landlords the opportunity to recalculate their costs at least and work out whether their profits work out more than what they spend. If not, then it could be tenants who feel the brunt the changes, with rent something expected to rise in order to compensate.
What it means for buyers though is what the Chancellor feels is a fairer market. With less landlords looking at the buy-to-let scheme there is likely to be increased housing stock available, meaning prices will hopefully fall as a result. Whether this does in fact address the ‘unfairness in property taxation’ that we claims there is, is something that will only become clearer over time. The fact that these changes are being gradually introduced could well mean the difference between landlords falling into mortgage arrears and keeping the ship steady until April 2020 though, and so things could well have been worse.
Published: 09/07/2015 Last Updated: 09/07/2015 13:10:23 Tags: News
Published: 02/07/2015 Last Updated: 02/07/2015 17:10:17 Tags: News
We are very proud indeed to sponsor these following events that are taking place over the next couple of months.
Book Start Event
Highcliffe Children’s Centre
Wickford Memorial Park
Monday 6th July
1.30pm. to 2.30pm.
Book Start Event
Highcliffe Children’s Centre
Wickford Memorial Park
Monday 13th July
1.30pm. to 2.30pm.
Book Start Event
Highcliffe Children’s Centre
Wickford Memorial Park
Monday 20th July
1.30pm. to 2.30pm.
Book Start Event
Highcliffe Children’s Centre
Wickford Memorial Park
Monday 27th July
1.30pm. to 2.30pm
Teddy Bears Picnic
Highcliffe Children’s Centre
Wickford Memorial Park
Wednesday 29th July
11.30am. to 1.30pm.
Rainbow Garden, Rettendon View, Wickford
Saturday 1st August
11am. to 1pm.
All the Fun of the Fair
The Triangle, Irvon Hill Road
Friday 7th August
9.30am. to 11am.
Rainbow Garden, Rettendon View, Wickford
Saturday 27th August
11am. to 1pm.
Published: 24/06/2015 Last Updated: 07/07/2015 14:33:31 Tags: News
For July we have a very interesting collection, whether you are looking to take to the waves, after a refreshing drink or just relax over the next 30 days:
Brightlingsea Town Regatta and Boat show
Brightlingsea Sailing Club, The Colne Yacht Club, Waterside Marina, CO7 0GE
Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th July 2015 10.00am to 5.00pm
Hosted at the stunning Waterside Marina located just a stone’s throw from Colchester, the Brightlingsea Town Regatta brings together the promise of beautiful boats and interesting trade stands, with Pimms, live music and local food stalls all thrown into the mix.
The water shows are obviously the main event, with races and displays throughout the day, as well as opportunities for visitors to get on the waves themselves.
Easy access, free entry and free parking too, this is the inexpensive way to experience the best that coastal Essex has to offer and to be extended a warm welcome from the local residents who are so proud of their nautical heritage. Click here to find out more.
Chelmsford Summer Beer and Cider Festival 2015
Admiral’s Park, Rainsford Road, Chelmsford, CM1 2PL
Tuesday 7th July to Saturday 11th July 2015 12.00pm to 11.00pm each day.
Organised by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale organisation, Admiral’s Park will be the scene of over 300 traditional British ales and 80 authentic ciders, perries and pyders. On top of that there will be a selection of international beers and local wines too, so there will be no going thirsty!
Each evening will see live music played, to add to the party feel of the event. These bands will play in a separate marquee, that will also play host to children’s entertainment on the Saturday’s Family Day. Click here to find out more.
Family Bat Walk
Visitor Centre, Weald Country Park, Weald Road, Brentwood
Friday 10th July 2015 8.00pm to 10.00pm £6 per person
Join the Rangers in the park at night looking for bats. Listen out for a range of native species using bat detectors and spot them swooping over the lake to feed. Adult accompaniment required. Not suitable for buggies. Please bring a torch and dress for a potentially chilly night. Bring a bat detector if you have one! Click here to find out more.
Published: 17/06/2015 Last Updated: 08/02/2018 11:45:40 Tags: News
The Conveyancing Process – What Buyers Should Expect Part 2
In What Buyers Should Expect Part 1 we set the scene with an overview of what Conveyancing is, who can act on your behalf and what the first steps you need to take are. In Part 2 we look in more detail at what comes next. While the contracts are being reviewed and the property searches completed, it is a good time to look at getting your mortgage in place, before eventually signing on the dotted line.
Getting a Mortgage
With the process well underway it is important to get your mortgage sorted now, including the deposit payment. You need to understand which mortgage is right for you and the differences between the options. Do you choose repayment, interest only or a fixed rate mortgage? Each have pros and cons, but often it comes down to how big a risk you are willing to take and the current state of the market. You need to decide what term you should take too and how much are you able to borrow in relation to your annual income. All are vital questions to ask, with our team at Temme English more than happy to run through the options with you.
Once you have made a choice of which mortgage, and which lender, then comes the mortgage valuation. This is a security measure on behalf of the mortgage company that lends to you, to make sure that what you are borrowing is what the property is definitely worth. The valuation won’t be cheap, unless the lender is looking to drum up business and throws it in free of course, but are unfortunately a crucial part of the process.
The contract signing comes next, though not before you get building insurance. Most lenders will make this a requirement before you exchange contracts, as you are immediately responsible for the property as soon as paper changes hands.
Time to Sign the Contracts
With your shiny new mortgage agreement in place you should now have your draft contract back from the seller’s representative, with all enquiries answered and amended where applicable. It is yet another time that you will have to concentrate carefully on exactly what has been set out. Your solicitor will run through everything with you until you are happy. Common things that are covered include fixtures and fittings in the property and that you are getting what you expect for the money you are paying. At the end of the draft contract will be a completion date, which can be up to 12 weeks after the exchange.
What you will have to ensure is that your deposit is in your solicitors account before the exchange can take place. It is also a good move to visit the property and confirm that what is included in the contract is actually there, checking the house against the inventory list. It is a good opportunity to check for damage too and finally make sure that the house is worth the amount. Once you are sure then a signature seals the deal.
So the mortgage is finalised and the contract is signed. In What Buyers Should Expect Part 3 we look at the final pieces of the puzzle, explaining what happens once the contracts are exchanged and the processes between swapping and completing the sale.
Published: 09/06/2015 Last Updated: 08/02/2018 11:45:21 Tags: News
The Conveyancing Process – What Buyers Should Expect Part 1
This is the first of a three blog series looking at The Conveyancing Process. It is important when you are buying a property to understand exactly what is required of you, which is where our short Conveyancing series will hopefully be of assistance. In Part 1 we will outline exactly what Conveyancing is, who you need to perform the process and the first steps that you and they will need to take.
What is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing is legally transferring home ownership from a seller to a buyer. It will generally start with an offer being accepted on a property and will end when the key is in the buyers hand. A smooth transaction if you understand the process, it is important to find the right Solicitor or Conveyancer to conduct the conveyancing for you. A Solicitor is a qualified lawyer, highly trained in all aspects of law and therefore with more power. A Conveyancer is less well trained but specialises in property, with a better understanding of the protocol. A lot will be expected of your representative in terms of paperwork and deadlines, so make sure you choose a firm that is both easy to get hold of and that you feel comfortable with.
You can perform conveyancing yourself in some cases, though it isn’t something we would necessarily recommend. You will have to deal with mounds of paperwork, have an in-depth understanding of the industry from a legal perspective and be mortgage free. It may seem straightforward but there are risks involved, especially when it comes to missing deadlines or misplacing paperwork. Some mortgage lenders will even insist on a Lawyer or Conveyancer’s involvement to alleviate risk, hence why you need to be mortgage free.
The First Steps
Firstly shop around and get quotes from numerous suppliers. Combine the best the price with the best quality service and generally who you feel most comfortable with. At Temme English we can recommend Solicitors and Conveyancers that we trust locally to perform the service, but it is important that you are happy with any appointment.
Whoever you choose will initially need to draw up a ‘Draft Contract’, also known as a ‘Terms of Engagement’. This is the contract that will define the terms of your agreement, including their charges and any deposit needed, as well as what you are then entitled to. This is so that each party understands their legal standing.
Next they will look to get in touch with the sellers representative, requesting details on the property that they might not yet have and all of the standard forms needed to begin the process. They will also request the ‘Draft Contract’ between the seller and their Solicitor.
Dealing with Documents
Your Solicitor or Conveyancer will then examine the documents that they receive and raise any issues with the seller’s representative. You too will be involved in this process, reading through the documentation and instructing your conveyancer to raise any concerns. You must know everything about the property at this stage, for example if it is leasehold or freehold, and what the difference is. Knowing where you stand in incredibly important.
It is important to go beyond simply what you can see from your viewing and have your Solicitor perform a ‘Property Search’ too. This looks at the property’s legal standing and unearths any unexpected surprises. This could include whether the Local Authority have any plans to build around or even through your land, chasing up the ‘Title Register’ at the Land Registry and even whether the property is a flood risk. All could be crucial to your decision, but not easy to see at first.
So that’s all for Part 1. In What Buyers Should Expect Part 2 we look at what you need to do in terms of a mortgage and the process of finalising your contracts. Stay tuned!
On the 5th July our Basildon Branch will have been open for one year. Since opening we have met and helped some truly lovely people.
As a bit of fun we are holding a competition whereby any new instruction listed in June and July will be entered into a prize draw and the winner will be selected at random. The selected winning property will then be exempt from paying their Temme English agency selling fee. Good Luck