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: 08/02/2017 11:01:35 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 click HERE
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: 25/08/2016 15:05:09 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: 21/06/2016 12:19:09 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: 07/05/2016 Last Updated: 07/05/2016 09:43:13 Tags: News?
Located just over 30 miles from the heart of London and just over 10 miles from Chelmsford, Basildon is a location that offers plenty for people who want to feel part of a thriving local community but still connected to major towns and cities.
Like many areas in the commuter belt, there has been an increased level of focus in the local property market, and the movement of house prices in Basildon in the past 12 months makes for interesting reading.
In January of 2015, the average property price stood at £222,580 and by January of 2016, this figure stood at £268,002. This represents a rise of 20% for the average property price in Basildon in the last 12 months. Breaking down the figure into separate property types, it is easy to see that there has been a rise across the board in Basildon.
Detached property prices have risen by 21%, moving from £388,723 in January 2015 to £470,830 in January of this year. Semi-detached property prices have risen by just 5% in the same time frame, moving from £260,980 to £273,385. Terraced properties have moved from £202,046 to £229,628 in the past 12 months, representing a 14% rise and flats have experienced an 11% rise in the past 12 months, moving from £138,197 to £153,224.
House prices have been rising in Basildon for longer than the last 12 months In January 2015, a lot was made of the rising house prices in Essex over the previous 12 months and it was stated that the average house prices in Basildon rose by 20%, which was the highest level of increase in the area. With a 20% rise between January 2014 and 2015, and then a further 20% rise between January 2015 and 2016, there is no denying that the average price of homes in Basildon in the past two years have spiralled upwards by a considerable amount.
There has been a considerable level of redevelopment in Basildon, which is the driving factor behind the rise in demand for this area over other areas in the local region.
There have been housing developments added to the local area, such as Acacia Park and the Cherrydown East project, the Morello Quarter. Add in the fact that there is now a “masterplan” for the redevelopment of the local town centre and there are plenty of reasons why there is a growing demand in Basildon.
Up until the redevelopment work, there was a genuine opportunity to obtain affordable housing in Basildon and while the prices have risen since that point, there is still great value on offer in Basildon. With the A127 and the A13 heading towards the capital and three major railway stations providing strong and reliable transport links, there is a lot to be said for commuting to and from Basildon. There has also been investment in the local area, creating more local jobs and the council has undertaken major redevelopment work, so it is no surprise to see that the Basildon property market has been booming, not just in the past 12 months but in the past 2 years.
Do you want to know the value of your home in Basildon?CLICK HERE
For available properties to buy in Basildon CLICK HERE
Should I invest in Basildon property? CLICK HERE
Published: 25/04/2016 Last Updated: 25/04/2016 16:26:45 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.
Follow the link below for a similar blog
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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: 22/03/2016 10:34:39 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: 12/03/2016 12:36:24 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.
To see the available stock we currently have in Wickford click HERE
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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: 15/02/2016 Last Updated: 15/02/2016 17:13:44 Tags: How-To-Stage-Your-Property
How to stage my property to get the best price in the shortest amount of time
Given that property sellers are looking to sell their home quickly or for the best possible price, or indeed both of these outcomes, you would think that every seller would do their best to present their home in the most effective manner. This isn’t the case though and you will find that many homes are not presented in the best possible manner to facilitate a sale. This may be an issue of taste or style but in reality, it is often because a seller is not aware of the importance of staging and the impact it can have on the people who view a property.
Staging is the act of preparing a property in order to appeal to the most buyers and sell for the best price in the shortest period of time. That may not sound like a lot but anyone who has ever attempted to sell a home will tell you that obtaining one of those outcomes can be difficult never mind all three. Staging can involve a lot of different aspects but it mainly focuses on:
• Planning and utilising space effectively
• De-cluttering your property
• Neutralising any unpleasant or unexpected smells
• Painting and carrying out minor home improvements
• The placement of furniture and accessories
The last point is so important that it is not uncommon for property sellers to rent furniture to make their home look more attractive. Some people will think that this is a step too far but when you think about the benefits that can come from effective staging of a property; you will find that the outlay for renting furniture can be money well spent for any seller.
There are many parts to the staging process
You should start the staging process by packing up non-essential items, and this is often referred to as a “partial pack”. You will then find that the next step is to remove all items from your home, including furniture, that are not involved with the staging process. After this, you will have a better idea of what repair work needs to be carried out and what can be done to freshen up a property.
This then leads to the staging and styling step, which is where a home is made to look attractive and functional. This is the stage where renting property can help to create a sense of space while making the home seem more appealing to any potential buyer.
The small tasks can make a big difference when staging a property
Some of the steps that should be included in the staging process include replacing light bulbs with higher watt bulbs, placing new covers on light switches, having carpets professionally cleaned and making sure that all minor repair jobs have been taken care of. It can be all too easy to let the little jobs around the home slide but if you are looking to sell your home quickly, you’ll find that minimising imperfections as best as you can is a very sensible step to take.
Staging is part and parcel of selling a home, and many buyers expect it, so it is not as if you are completely fooling any potential buyer. However, if you don’t carry out the steps and stages involved with staging, you’ll find that your home comes across as being much less attractive in comparison to properties which have been effectively staged.
Published: 10/02/2016 Last Updated: 10/02/2016 08:57:12 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: 04/02/2016 10:52:39 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.
To see what available stock we have in Basildon click HERE
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Published: 21/01/2016 Last Updated: 21/01/2016 17:07:07 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: 10/12/2015 14:20:43 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.
Click HERE to find out how much your home is worth
Click HERE to see what we have for sale in Colchester
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
Click HERE to see how much your home is worth.
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
Click HERE to find out how much your home is worth.
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.
Click HERE to find out how much your home is worth.
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: 05/10/2015 13:40:08 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: 22/09/2015 16:45:36 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: 19/08/2015 18:00:30 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 16:41:57 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 12:20:15 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: 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: 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 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: 17/06/2015 Last Updated: 07/07/2015 12:15:18 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: 07/07/2015 14:30:52 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!
Are you looking for something to entertain you in Essex in the following weeks? Here are a few ideas.
Lower Castle Park, Colchester
Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th April
Thousands are expected to flock to Lower Castle Park right in the heart of Colchester over the weekend of 18 and 19 April 2015 for the annual Town & Country Show and Oakleigh Fairs, who organise the event say that this year the show is offering even more family entertainment than ever, including a children’s farm where your little ones can meet lots of Spring baby animals.
Now in its 5th year, the show really is shaping up to be a cracking event. Organisers, Oakleigh, say ‘We are delighted to be in Colchester at this, one of our very favourite family country shows and we are really looking forward to welcoming some great new acts and entertainment for 2015 making the Colchester Town & Country Show the must-do destination for families over the weekend’
For more information, click here.
Comedy Club 4 Kids
Saturday 18th April at 2pm
Chelmsford City Theatres, Chelmsford
Cracking entertainment for everyone over six years old and under 400 years old (no vampires). With the best comedians from the UK and world circuit doing what they do best… but without the rude bits! Since 2005, the Comedy Club 4 Kids has been getting the best stand-ups and sketch acts from the international circuit to do their thing for an audience of children and their families… but without the rude bits! It's just like a normal comedy club, but it's on in the day, kids are allowed in, and thus there is a higher than usual chance of heckles like "why is that your face!?"
For more information, click here.
Nature and Wildlife Photography Workshops in Essex at Wat Tyler Country Park and Norsey Wood
Photographing Wildflowers and invertebrates - 25th April 2015
Norsey Wood - Billericay
After a successful 2014 we will once again be running our photographic workshops. This year we're holding 5 workshops, including an introduction to nature photography and other more specific workshops that cover a number of different subjects, including the Autumn Fungi workshop which is new this year.
Each course will have a maximum of 8 participants, to allow all those attending to have enough time with the tutor.
All sessions are lead by Neil Phillips, a wildlife photographer with eight years experience, who has photographed many different species across the UK.
for more information click here
Thorndon Country Park
Every day, Brentwood
This beautiful country park contains a diverse range of habitats and is managed both for people and for its precious wildlife.
Thorndon Country Park North
In spring, the woodlands of Thorndon North are filled with the scent and colour of bluebells, anemones and other woodland flowers. The woods are rich in birdlife and attract many species of migrant and over-wintering birds including bramblings, siskins and redpolls. Childerditch Pond is both beautiful and tranquil. Please note: Thorndon Country Park North car park is the best way to access the Gruffalo Trail.
Thorndon Country Park South
The open parkland at Thorndon South is busy with families enjoying barbecues and picnics, whilst drinking in views reaching out across countryside and into the heart of Canary Wharf. It’s a great place to fly a kite.
For more information, click here.
Because the portal is agency owned and controlled by Agents Mutual, there is a guarantee of quality with the agent you enlist. Only office branch agencies are eligible to join, meaning that you are assured of dealing with a local expert you can speak to face to face about your property.
The site itself has been designed with users in mind, presenting an easy to navigate interface that showcases exclusive content. It really is the creative new way to personally access the market, with over 4,000 estate agent branches already involved, including ourselves at Temme English. The market for online property searches is massive, with an incredible 100 million visits per month to online website portals. For years this has meant both Rightmove and Zoopla taking full control, but now alongside Agent Mutual we can control the market and offer our customers the best opportunity to sell or let their property.
Everything that Agents Mutual is doing is geared towards challenging the dominance of the other two portals, exchanging what is a profit driven system for one controlled by estate agents who have customer contentment at the forefront of their mind. It is agents who work with people day in and day out in their local community and put in the hours to guarantee the best results. It is therefore agents who are best placed to understand the market and supply a more effective way of getting your property online. Moving house is an incredibly stressful experience, one that requires much more than a digital face or company outside the industry dictating how it is run.
Agents Mutual and therefore On the Market has been wholly backed by both the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), who each value its position as 100% industry owned and the equal voting right, regardless of size. It is an association that looks after Estate Agents and gives us a voice. This allows us to care for you and make sure your needs are met and best represented, both in the area you live and online. There has already been an £8million development fee raised, with the main aim of targeting and usurping both Zoopla and Rightmove. It is a cause that we strongly believe in and one that we know will stand us all in good stead for the future.
The report, commissioned January this year shows Temme English have SOLD boards on 75% of the properties they are marketing. The nearest competitor has 67% with some agents as low as 33%.
This clearly demonstrates that Temme English are more likely to get a positive result for their clients when selling than any other agent.
What is remarkable about the Temme English result is that the office only opened in the Summer of 2014 following the success of their offices in Colchester and Wickford.
Partner, Steve English said: “We are delighted that we have been so well received by the people of Basildon and that this report from For Sale Sign Analysis clearly demonstrates the success of our unique and personal approach.
Our proactive approach is unique because we operate without any tie in period to our agency agreement and rely entirely on delivering a quality service and result for our clients.
We have no upfront charges and include a free EPC, professional photography and floorplans as standard.
We are also open long hours, including Sundays, to ensure that we are always available to both sellers and buyers at the times that they most want us to be available.”
Partner Carl Temme added: “Despite the uncertainty of a General Election in 2015 our prognosis is that, with continuing low interest rates, reduced stamp duty, changing pension legislation and a shortage of new build property, that the market will remain strong and prices will continue to grow positively albeit at a slower rate than in the last two years.
Now is an excellent time to move and take advantage of the low cost of borrowing.”
The three Temme English offices work closely together to provide clients with access to buyers and all properties are widely advertised both on the internet and via traditional media.
Temme English will be delighted to provide any homeowners with a free valuation of their property and to discuss the current market in more detail.
With Temme English it is about delivering results not rhetoric.
To find out more or arrange your free valuation, please contact the Basildon office on 01268 207222
There are dramatic stories of parents being forced to downsize their property to a more expensive spot 100 yards down the road just to get their kids into the ‘right’ school. For most this is an exaggeration but people are moving earlier and earlier in a child’s life in order to guarantee a spot, confident that a higher ranked school means a better chance in life.
These homes do exist without having to go to the extremes of the example above. Doing your homework nice and early can prevent panic later on down the line if you know what you want and roughly where. By speaking to your estate agent you can tap into their local knowledge of how house prices fluctuate within certain areas and have them keep aware of potential bargains within your catchment zone.
At Temme English we pride ourselves on sourcing the right home for the right school, keeping up to date with changing trends so that your catchment is included. In areas where demand is increasing schools are reaching the point where yards rather than miles can be the difference between acceptance and denial. Temme English understands this and can help make sure that your home meets this very specific requirement.
Ultimately though our aim is to make sure that you never overstretch your budget, no matter how tempting it may seem. It is incredibly important that you never let one factor completely cloud your choices. Paying over the odds for a home in your chosen catchment area may seem like a worthwhile investment, but if you suffer financially in the long run this can do you and your family much more damage than missing out on a school ever could.
Ofsted reports too are ever-changing. Everything is based on a performance rating, meaning that schools can rise or fall accordingly. With that in mind you can’t be sure 3 years down the line that the school you are desperate for your child to attend will be at the same level, or that another hasn’t dramatically improved. The key is to pick the best home you can afford, to buy or to rent, taking into account the local schools and catchment area, but not being ruled by it. We will always be here to guide and advise you, making sure that all your criteria is met. All we suggest is that you are open to a ‘plan B’ should an alternative option be needed.
Essex as a whole has seen a huge rise in popularity from those looking to travel regularly into London and it is Basildon that tops the list. This comes thanks to a combination of both fabulous amenities and incredibly low market prices.
Basildon’s standing as the most affordable commuter hub comes courtesy of two very important factors. Firstly is the cheap property prices at present, with the average house price of £176,886 dwarfed by the country’s average, an incredible £271,000! That’s almost £95,000 less, a huge saving, especially when you consider London prices. The second is the train fare. Thanks to a 2.2% increase at the start of 2015 the annual rail season ticket for most has risen to a staggering £5000, with Basildon a modest £3,748 in comparison. These savings alone prove a great pull for many but that’s not all that Basildon has to offer.
The American commercial real estate giants, CBRE tell us that there are now 1 million London commuters across the country. As much as financial gain will always be important to people’s decisions, lifestyle too must play a part. For Basildon’s cause there is the fantastic local amenities, notably the Eastgate Shopping Centre. A thriving shopping hotspot with over 100 stores, it offers Basildon Town Centre something severely lacking from others across the country; shoppers! Slightly further afield is the equally popular Festival Leisure Park, with an array of restaurants and bars.
More importantly perhaps is Basildon’s reputation for having more open space and park areas than any other Essex Town too. Both the 100 acre Wat Tyler Country Park and the stunning wetland habitat, Vange Marsh, are areas rich in wildlife and a welcome retreat into nature. Combine that with its location just 10 miles from the beach at Southend and you have all the outside space you need to forget the weekday city rat race.
For many the weekend is a chance to unwind too, so where better than Basildon Sporting Village, a facitlity renowned for its swimming pools, indoor climbing wall and gymnastic setup, where a chance to see Olympic Bronze medallist Max Whitlock train is often on the cards.
So for the second year running Basildon has been recognised as the place for capital commuters. This vibrant town, just 32 miles and 35 minutes from the Big Smoke has much more to offer than simply cheaper property and travel rates. Cheaper they most certainly are, but Basildon is also a place you can locate a family to, where the opportunity to create a home to live in, and not just one to commute from, is an attractive pull for those whose home life comes before their work.
At Temme English we do exactly the opposite. January and February are the months we look at gleefully, as this is the time of year people look to buy more than any other. Many still follow the outdated ‘rules’ of seasonal selling though, meaning the market is crying out for sellers.
All across Christmas and into the first weeks of 2015 we have seen enquiries soar, so much so that we are struggling to find the stock to support the demand. Sellers have been duped into believing that traditional, seasonal selling is still intact, when really there is a market crying out to be met. Think of the percentage of New Year’s resolutions that involve buying a home, or moving house. The time to sell should be judged by you, not some unofficial, historical ruling that is no longer relevant.
Ultimately selling in an unpopular month means less competition. This doesn’t mean you can be silly with pricing though, as savvy buyers will be seeking out winter sellers for a bargain too. But by taking the initiative and getting your home on the market well before the rest you have the chance to sell at a competitive price more likely to be accepted.
Our advice is to keep pictures current too. One of the biggest concerns for winter selling is how a dull image can be perceived as a dull listing, with grey clouds overhead. Don’t be persuaded to use an old image taken in warmer times though, as people will see this as a sign of a property long on the market and wonder why. Just keep both inside and out smart and presentable. Keep the house warm and inviting against the cold, as well as keeping it bright and accentuating the space you have (easier to do with the Christmas decorations down). A cosy interior is often more pleasurable than a warm outside.
Really it is just a case of selling when you’re ready, whatever time of year. Don’t be pressured into seasonal selling and following the crowd, but neither should you be scared to take on the spring rush. With the right presentation, and the right Estate Agent too of course, you can get the sale at the price you want.
Throughout the year we have been involved in a number of events and sponsorships that have given us the chance to give back to the community and help local schools and colleges. It began in June with the Birch School and Home Farm Annual Fetes, where we supplied both raffle prizes and our ‘Unusual Properties’ stall. October saw us return to sponsor the Home Farm Fireworks too, another fun filled event for the community. Even more recently has been our proud sponsorship of the Bromfords School and Sixth Form P.E. kits. They look amazing and we are privileged to know that the Temme English name will travel across the country for national competitions thanks to the sportsmen and women who wear them.
Back in July we also saw the grand opening of our Basildon branch. Almost 6 months on and the team are providing the same fantastic results for our clients as Wickford and Colchester, taking the Basildon market by storm. In September our Wickford team were also happy to be named the sole selling agent for the Bellway Escala Development and their batch of luxury apartments. A major brand within the industry, it was great recognition of Temme English’s standing in Wickford that we were chosen to market these fantastic homes.
We have looked to offer advice via our blog posts too, giving both buyers and sellers our Temme Tips and sharing expertise where needed. From Top Tips for Sellers to Why Buy To Let we have done our best to be both topical and informative and give our clients extra ammo in their quest to buy, sell or rent a home.
We try to combine info with opinion where possible too, and throughout the year have given our personal view on some of the more controversial builds and plans that have popped up. Starting all the way back in January with the North Colchester Development Mistake we have refused to hold our punches. As an Estate Agent it is important to us that we not only have homes to sell but also an environment that makes them a great place to live. So from the Jumbo Debate in Colchester to the Housing Development between Brentwood and Basildon, we provide the facts so you can make your choice.
So what does 2015 hold for us? For our Colchester branch it is a change of scenery as we ascend up the hill to take on the big hitters in Crouch Street. Being in the town centre can only bring great things and we look forward to settling in to our new surroundings. Other than that you can expect more of the same, with more sponsorships within the local community and more sales and lets across all our branches. We can’t wait and look forward to seeing you in the New Year.
We have already looked at dispelling the myths of Winter Selling through our Selling in Winter post. We offered advice on how opportunities can develop at this time of year and gave tips on how to make the most of it. In this post we’ll look more specifically at the Christmas decorations themselves and how a little attention to detail can mean the difference between overwhelming and enchanting.
Potential buyers are there to view your home, not judge how much you love the festive period, so be restrained. Make sure you are memorable though and create an environment they can see themselves enjoying a Christmas in. It is a careful balance. We all love Christmas, right? This may be generally true but there will be different levels of adoration. You need to cater for all with something that is attractive and well planned. Try these few Temme Tips and turn your home into a Winter Wonderland:
1. Start from the outside in. Try a festive wreath on the door, a few twinkling Christmas lights in a tree or bush, or even something magical hanging from a garage roof. Avoid woodland creatures, beaming Santa’s and challenging the Northern Lights. Keep it simple and pretty.
2. Next is the hallway. Again keep things simple. Decorate the stairs with baubles or ribbon and add a nice candle or light display on a table or windowsill, depending on what surfaces you have available. Keep the floor clear though as much as possible, to keep open space for viewings.
3. The tree. Think carefully about the size of your home when picking and decorating your tree. High ceilings? Then choose a tall tree to accentuate the fact. Small property? Choose a small tree. It’s that simple. The more space you save, the bigger your home will look. As far as the decorations are concerned, try and keep everything matching. A theme will always look more attractive.
4. When it comes to the Kitchen it is all about space. Let your buyer see there is room to create the most elaborate Christmas feast by tidying away utensils and keeping it tidy. A few Christmas displays are welcome, as long as they are small, and how about freshly baked mince pies in the oven? If the smell doesn’t grab them, then make sure the taste does!
So selling at Christmas doesn’t have to mean losing your decorations to make a sale. It is instead a case of being careful with the planning and making sure that your home shines more brightly than the lights do.
The Tollgate Partnership Limited own the proposed acres and are planning to expand the former Sainsbury’s site and the open area opposite Curry’s, behind Argos and Smiths. It is open space that is currently unused meaning that a development of this sort has numerous benefits and, as far as we can see, very few reasons for the Colchester Borough Council to reject its imminent planning application.
Firstly there is the promise of 1000 additional jobs. What they are aiming to create is a community space, bringing together the residents of Stanway and Colchester to give them a place not only shop, but to work, meet and enjoy themselves. The financial boost to the economy is estimated to be £13.7m as a result of the scheme, which, if true, means a fantastic return on investment.
So far it seems that residents have several things in mind, those being a cinema, additional shops, restaurants and even bars. Mostly though there seems to be a desire for an area that is attractive, vibrant and able to cater for our ever-growing population. 100’s of homes have already been built in Stanway, with 100’s more on the way. Tollgate Village seems to be the answer to where they might work, shop and play.
The only opposition as far as we can see would be how the Town Centre would be affected. By creating an out-of-town social hub and village community, does it risk losing further trade for the centre? We would argue that this could release the Town Centre from certain restraints. As the only place is Colchester to shop, the traffic is at most times appalling. This often means that people avoid coming into town and shop elsewhere, at Ipswich or Bury St Edmunds. Preserving the town centre for tourism by developing historical sites and reenergising run down areas, as well as keeping traffic manageable, could actually help heighten interest in the Town Centre. With its markets and events it will always be popular. But by giving people another place to shop it allows the Town Centre breathing space, to look at development. Rather than competition the two areas can work in tandem, providing for different needs but catering for all.
Whatever your opinion is make sure you are able to share it this weekend and help Tollgate Village to be a success.
• No SDLT payable at all on properties up to £125,000
• The first £125,000 on properties to be free of SDLT
• Then payable at 2% payable on the portion up to £250,000
• Payable at 5% on the portion up to £925,000
• Payable at 10% on the portion up to £1.5m
• Then payable at 12% on the portion over that amount.
That’s not to say everyone who comes through your door will hate pets or despise animal company. Even if they are a fan or have a dog or cat at home that doesn’t mean they’ll like yours. People are there to view a house, not a kennel.
This may come across as harsh but there are reasons why you might be put off by pets. Some people are scared and nervous around animals. Bitten by a terrier when you were four? That phobia can immediately transfer to the home you are viewing if one walks through the door. You also might not understand how to deal with pets. Like children, if you haven’t any then it is difficult to know how to react. Feeling unsure or nervous is not great when viewing a home. Ultimately it might just be that they are cat people and you have a dog. Simple but highly disruptive when you are trying to sell the positives of your property.
There are several things, common sense in many respects, which you can do to make life easier for the non-animal lovers out there:
1. Move them out. For the duration of the viewings why not take advantage of a kennel, or family and friends hospitality. Lose the pet, lose the problem. A short term fix for the ultimate goal of selling your house.
2. People are often reluctant to try the above. The next best thing is to keep them separate from the house. If the weather permits then leave them outside, if not then designate an unimportant room.
3. With the pet safely tucked away start to deal with their accessories. Litter boxes must be clean and hidden, along with toys, mats and beds.
4. Deal with stains. Remove them if possible, hide them if not. Happy to splash out? Replace with clean, fresh carpeting or flooring.
5. Lastly is deal with any smell. You won’t know it exists but with a non-pet owner it could prove fatal to your chances. Use allergy free air fresheners and allow the place to air. Find an honest friend to let you know if there is an issue.
As with any measures you need to take to improve your chances of selling, it amounts to smartening up. Remove all signs of a pet in the house and you should be well on the way. First impressions are important, so let them be about your home and not about the grubby chew toy left on the rug. Don’t let your best friend ruin your chances of a sale. That can really cause problems in the home.
Sales experience is preferred but not essential if you hold the drive and determination to succeed in this role.
Please send CV's to Basildon@temmeenglish.co.uk or call 01268 207222
That is why we believe you should only move when you are ready, rather than when you are forced. You should enjoy living where you are and see moving as a natural progression as opposed to a necessity. With that in mind it is important to protect the home you have, upgrading and protecting it wherever possible, to make it a comfortable place to be. With the colder months setting in there are risks to your home that can be avoided, to keep it feeling warm and cosy and keeping any damage that ice and snow can cause to an absolute minimum.
When facing the elements it is important to fight ice with, well, fire! Keeping your home warm is the number one tip we can offer. It protects you against the cold and it protects your home from the weather. Below are a few Temme Tips on keeping you and your home happy this winter:
1. Keep rooms well ventilated and heated to prevent condensation. When condensation forms you increase your chances of water damage inside the property.
2. Use your heating efficiently, maintaining a constant temperature instead of turning the thermostat up and down whenever you get chilly.
3. If away over the winter period KEEP THE HEATING ON. We’re not talking tropical here but either set the heating to come on for an hour each day, or keep it a low warm temperature throughout. This keeps the pipes from freezing and potentially bursting while you’re away.
4. Keep an eye out for leaks or drips. If allowed to freeze this water can cause mildew or mould to develop. If you do find mould then hit it with the appropriate chemicals immediately to get rid.
5. We are all energy conscious so add small things to your routine to keep you warm and reduce the need for heating. Close curtains and shut doors to retain heat in heated rooms, trade in summer clothes for winter ones and bleed your radiators to ensure an even spread of heat.
Simple tips we know, but ones that can keep you and your home in top shape this winter. Plus, the better protected the house is against the elements, the better it will sell when the time does come for you to look elsewhere. The key is to love where you live and enjoy your time there, but also think to the future. Would you buy a home that wasn’t well protected? No, neither would we.
Statistics show that 4.7m of us are married with dependent kids, with a further 1.2million cohabiting couples. On average we will move 3 times before we are 45 and 11% of us will move each year. To summarise that’s a lot of little ones making a lot of mess and distracting potential buyers when you try to sell your home.
So moving on from the numbers, there are measures we can recommend to keep things simple and make moving when you have kids a lot easier to handle. Start by letting your kids know you are going. If local then there’s nothing to worry about, with the same friends, same school etc. If further afield then it’s an adventure! Bigger house, bigger bedroom, new gardens to explore. Keeping them involved in the process early on will make life easier in the long run, no matter how old they are.
Next go through each room and look at it through buyers eyes:
1. Kitchen – Clear excessive magnets and pictures off of the fridge to give a tidier feel. Pack away baby sterilisers, bottles or any other clutter left out by the kids. Show off the space you have.
2. Bathroom – Clear away bath toys, keeping spaces and sides clear in order to accentuate space.
3. Lounge – Invest in a toy box! It is imperative that you tidy away toys and games. Although families will understand, they will still want to see open spaces. Impressing potential buyers without kids if there’s mess? No chance.
4. Bedrooms – Organise and keep tidy. Difficult but essential. It again shows people the space available and could even have parents believing their own kids would could be this tidy…
With all these slight adjustments made you should be on to a winner. The only other thing it is important to remember is the viewings themselves. A child playing in a tidy home is generally a bored one. Take them out when someone comes round, so they aren’t tempted to play or sulk. Viewings are ultimately for adults, so make sure you are selling without distractions or mess
As it stands the Essex County Council will forward fund the development until SELEP (South East Local Enterprise Partnership) have their own funding finalised. The council has been investing heavily on resurfacing and upgrading the roads in and around Colchester too recently, something as residents we have all been clamouring for for some time. Mersea Road, Southway, Cowdray Avenue and Ipswich Road have all been targeted, with heavy delays an inevitable outcome.
We are all well aware of the increasing pressure that North Station is under from traffic congestion at peak times of the day. Councillors within the ECC claim that the Park and Ride scheme will relieve this, offering economic and residential growth and improving air quality in polluted central areas.
Perhaps the most crucial changes will be under the bridge at North Station, with a dedicated Park and Ride bus lane to be added alongside the four current lanes we already use. This will be a town centre bound lane. From now until March we will see huge delays around the area as development continues to accommodate the Park and Rides needs. Short term disruption for long term benefit.
But will it really be benefit? Will the introduction of a Park and Ride make it easier or more difficult for people outside the town to visit? Will they want to, or will the buses remain empty? We have written previous blog posts on how housing developments need to take into account the infrastructure of the area to be successful. In this situation, to make a Park and Ride successful, work to the Town Centre needs to be done.
By investing heavily in the Town Centre you give people a reason to visit. We can reenergise our High Street with incentives and more variety in our shops. We can increase event days and make use of the empty space above our stores to develop housing for a town centre community, creating a buzz in an otherwise nightlife orientated Town Centre.
Investment in the Park and Ride may prove to be inspired, with congestion eased in key areas and at key times, and businesses allowed to flourish. Many would call that a naïve viewpoint and question the motives and potential success of such a scheme. We believe that investment can only improve our town, the key is finding where to invest it.
This year there is only one place to be for your firework fix and that is Home Farm Primary School in Colchester, where on Friday the 7th of November there will be a display to put Guy Fawkes to shame. At Temme English we are incredibly lucky to have sponsored Home Farm before at their annual fete and are privileged to be able to do so again at their first ever Firework night.
Gates will open at 5.30pm, with the display itself expected to start at 7pm. Make sure you get there early though, with pre-firework entertainment on offer to get people in the mood. Acts include the Fyreflies, local fire performance artists whose talents include fire eating and breathing! Alongside them will be a local magician, bringing magic and intrigue to the evening.
The event has been expertly organised by staff at the school to include a BBQ, fully licenced bar for refreshments and even funfair rides, including teacups and a mini carousel. Glowsticks and wands will of course be available, as what is a fireworks display without them?
The HFSA (Home Farm School Association) will be working alongside Dynamic Fireworks to provide the zip and bang. With showrooms in both Essex and Suffolk, Dynamic have a reputation for quality and making each event they attend one to remember. Devising the display themselves, it is bound to be a celebratory atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.
Tickets are selling fast and the only way to get one is to email Home Farm IN ADVANCE. No tickets will be sold on the night so please message:
For availability as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
The whole night is shaping up to be a fun, safe, family orientated event. Everyone is welcome, not just pupils and their family, as Home Farm are a school who embrace their community and encourage active involvement from local people to help create these events. It is one of the reasons that we are involved and it is definitely a night that we won’t be missing.
Boilers that were installed before 2005 are slowly edging towards a period where regular repairs will be required to keep them running successfully. Even then they are likely to be highly inefficient in energy production. In winter especially this could prove a huge increase to your bills that can be avoided and is where an upgrade could prove beneficial, to save money in the long run.
A more up to date condensing boiler is likely to save you somewhere in the region of £300 to £500 every year, but again much of that will depend on the age and efficiency grade of what you buy. The more modern, the more efficient and of course the more expensive.
The newest grading system uses a percentage value to determine exactly how efficient your boiler will be. Previously you were confronted with grades A – G, with the old systems A grades as the equivalent of around 88% efficiency in the current one.
Hopefully the home you buy will already have a modern boiler system installed that offers you this 88% efficiency. If not though there are investments to be made. For something that is modern and highly efficient, expect to be faced with a bill starting from £600 upwards. What you must take into account though is that although this may seem expensive, you must factor in the likelihood of repairs costs to an old boiler, and the monthly bill reduction through added efficiency.
Whatever you do make sure that you use a trained, qualified engineer to perform the works. There are various boiler types to choose from, so by using an accredited source you guarantee the correct system for your specific requirements.
The boiler types you are likely to be faced with are:
• Combination / Combi Boiler – Ideal for smaller properties and easy to store away.
• System Boiler – Better for larger properties but take time to reheat.
• Open Vent / Heat Only – Located in the loft, this is old style system no longer installed.
So make sure whenever you view a property to check exactly what you are inheriting; the type of system, the efficiency value and how old it is. If you feel it will be beneficial then make sure you incorporate the cost of a newer boiler into you overall budget before signing on the dotted line.
As people and businesses struggled through the recession, seasonal selling fell out of favour. The market has risen and fallen a number of times, but as recovery begins to take shape it is more about finding the right property than when you look.
This is why winter could prove ideal for sellers who may have think they missed out on the ‘peak’ period and are looking to hang tight until next year. The lack of seasonal buying makes this a waste of valuable time.
1. Whenever you’re looking to sell your property it makes sense to keep an eye on the competition. In the summer months there’s a lot to see. In winter the competition is cut down considerably, as people assume they should follow seasonal selling.
2. Demand will always exist and can often outweigh supply at this time of year. The reasons people seek a new home can vary from a new job, a new baby, or even just a change of lifestyle. This is unlikely to happen solely in August, so tap in to an expectant market.
What this doesn’t mean is that you’re guaranteed a quick sale just because you market your property this autumn, just that you shouldn’t be afraid to. There are things you must still do that, when combined with winter marketing, could give you the edge.
1. Keep a fair price. Yes you may have less competition but people are still looking for value. What winter selling can mean is that if you’re fair in your pricing, potential buyers are less likely to haggle. With less competition you can remain firm and receive what you market for, rather than having to make concessions to draw buyers in.
2. Keep the house tidy. Don’t be complacent; your home must still look pristine. Keep the place clutter free and the rooms well organised to increase the space.
3. It’s cold outside, so offer some warmth. If people sell in spring and summer because of sunny weather, it makes sense that this is why they don’t in winter. Use this to your advantage. A bright, warm and cosy property, with hot drink to boot, will make your buyers comfortable and feel at home.
So don’t be put off by a winter market. There are buyers out there and at Temme English we know how to find them. Get in touch today and see what we can do to get your home sold this year.
Bellway as a company have grown enormously since they were founded over 70 years ago. What started as a simple, family run firm has expanded and evolved to become one of the most successful house builders in the UK.
Now boasting over 2,000 reliable and meticulously trained employees, Bellway has a well-deserved reputation for quality, in both its service and its attention to personal details. With a 5* rating awarded by the National House Builder Federation for customer satisfaction, it is easy to see why they are so successful, and why we feel so privileged to be marketing their latest venture.
As with every Bellway build, the Escala site has a focus on the living environment as well as the structure of the properties. By looking after individuals and focussing on personal needs throughout the process, the builders from Bellway have been able to create a lifestyle as well as a home.
With 1 and 2 bed apartments available, and the close proximity to the station, this latest development offers opportunity to a host of different potential buyers. It is perfectly situated for the commuter who wants to live outside of the city, or is great as a relaxed option for downsizing after the kids have left. It would be great for a young couple looking to take those first steps onto the property ladder too. Whatever your requirements, the homes at our disposal will be able to meet them, providing you are looking for stylish apartments of course.
The prices too are incredibly reasonable for such expertly crafted properties. The 1 bedroom homes start from £149,995 and the 2 bedroom from just £169,995. We are also lucky enough to have a Bellway rep based in our office throughout the process, giving all the necessary detail you will need to make your decision. They will be able to show you all the offsite plans, while the buildings themselves are reaching completion.
The release date will be the 27th of September between 10am to 5.30pm at the Temme English offices in Wickford. These fabulous buildings will be sold fast, so don’t get left behind. Speak to a Temme English team member today for details and make sure you come to see us on Saturday to get ahead of the queue.
Equally important to how well you present the inside of your home is how the outside looks too. From the minute a potential buyer arrives they will ask themselves one question; ‘Can I see myself living here?’ First impressions are hugely important in all aspects of life, but perhaps none more so than in property.
A sale starts on arrival. Pull up to a well presented, tidy front garden space and immediately the buyer is put at ease. There are simple things you can do that are quick, simple and inexpensive to achieve, but can increase the space and value of your home. The bigger a house feels, the more attractive it will be:
1. The Front and Back Lawn. Mow them. A 10 minute job, tops, but one that can make a huge difference. Tidy the kid’s toys away and give the grass a good cut. Don’t worry about hiding the bigger toys though, these can appeal to a prospective family.
2. The Front Door. The point of entry, it is a sight that your buyer will see every single day if they take the property. Fix the letterbox and add a lick of paint to give a welcoming feel.
3. The Windows. Give them a wash. Simple when you think about it. Clean windows let in more light and give a nicer view out of the house. This makes a room feel both open and homely in equal measures.
4. The Shed. If falling apart then you may need to replace it, but it’s amazing what a lick of paint can do. Give it a little tidy too, just in case your buyer is nosey.
5. Flower Bed and Hedges. A well planted flower bed and trimmed hedge can give a real lift to any garden. Cutting back shrubs gives the feeling of more space and planting something pretty can make the garden feel more vibrant. Don’t overcrowd though, and make sure you keep everything alive!
These tips are common sense in the main, but throughout the excitement of selling your home and finding a new one, these little space making and value increasing tasks can be forgotten. Much like inside the home, it is just a case of keeping everything tidy and looking attractive. People will buy into the image.
Moving on from the sad events of 2013, this year the Wickford carnival returns with aplomb, combining a parade with a family Fun Day event at Nevendon Park. In previous years the parade has been graced with organisations ranging from BBC Essex and Wickford FC, to the local Scout and Brownie groups, with this year sure to have a similar local feel to the event.
The floats will aim to set off from Runwell Park at around 1pm, travelling down Church End Lane, onto Swan Lane, down the High Street through to Nevendon Road and then ending up at Nevendon Park at approximately 3pm.
The Fun Day will be taking place from 12pm until 5pm and is promising to provide quite an afternoon of entertainment. Live music, majorettes and karate demonstrations will be just some of the events that are running, with stalls and a fair open throughout the day for locals to come and enjoy. With food and drink available too, there is everything you need to bring a community together and celebrate summer coming to a close.
So to feel a similar community spirit and togetherness, get yourself down to Wickford on the 21st of September to enjoy the day. The team at our Wickford branch certainly will be! Even if you aren’t a Wickford local, come and support what is a historical event. Just 5 more to go until the 100th year and all money raised goes towards supporting local charities. A good cause and a fabulous day out. What more could you want?
The charity was registered in 2005 with the intention of uniting these two small rural communities, Little and Great Wigborough, so that local people could get together and have some fun. Having lost their pub, village hall and shop down the years, the idea was to set up local events and unite them in a cause; in this case the restoration of their historic buildings. Since that day they have held regular quiz nights (that take place in St Stephens church!) and ran an annual Cricket match, where locals come out to support their sporting heroes!
The St Stephens and St Nicholas Parish Churches have great historical and local relevance. Both date back to around the 13th Century and an early Norman. Clergy and Rector records present dates around this time, though the churches themselves would be more categorized as 15th century, due to subsequent rebuilds. Even more recent refurbishment has been applied and the churches have now been modernised to include heating and toilet facilities, whilst keeping the aesthetic that makes them such a treasure to the locals.
Located just 8 miles south of Colchester between Peldon and Mersea Island, the villages of Little and Great Wigborough regularly show that community spirit is strong, regardless of the loss of their local amenities. It is the people that make a place great, which is why we were so keen to be involved with the ‘Friends of the Wigbouroughs’. Their cause is selfless and their events enjoyable.
So whether you are a sports fan or not, getting yourself down to Elmdale on Peldon Road in Little Wigborough on the 6th of September is an absolute must. There will be light refreshment and local rivalry; all the ingredients for a great family day out and all for a fantastic cause to help keep our local history alive.
Andrew Wilkinson, of En-Form, the Colchester-based environmental charity that organises the market, says: “At its peak the Colchester Farmers’ Market used to see 1,000 customers coming through the doors and 28 stalls.
“Yes, some products may cost more than the supermarket, but if you take the sausages as an example, you can’t eat more than two of the local producer’s sausages because they are packed with real meat, whereas you may eat three or four supermarket-bought ones, so the cost balances out.
“One of our stallholders makes real apple juice with nothing else added in,” he says.
A council-run Farmers’ Market was originally run from Vineyard Street car park between 1997 and 2000, but had to close. Without a regular venue the town was without a Farmers’ Market until 2003, when En-Form, which was running a similar market in Dedham, was called on to reopen its market at the Arts Centre in Colchester.
It is popular with Chinese university students, many of whom enjoy shopping around for their produce rather than loading up at supermarkets.
But, although sourcing locally has become fashionable with the likes of Jimmy Doherty and High Fearnley-Whittingstall promoting all things local, Andrew says the young do not know what to do with food, let alone where to buy it from.
He says: “At our market they cannot only learn about different foods and how to use it and cook it, but in the case of meat, the producers can tell you about the animal it came from.”
The next Colchester Farmers’ Market will be held on Friday, September 6, between 9.30am and 1pm.
Visit enformfarmers markets.org.uk or call 01206 367776
(Source: Daily Gazette)
A Garden City is defined as a new town designed as a whole with much open space and greenery. They will generally have several thousand homes and be almost completely sustainable. The idea is to create a community, where jobs and local facilities can make the new town or village self-sustaining, providing the residents with anything and everything they could need to live happily and healthily.
So far there have been two potential areas of interest brought to the attention of the Council. The first is to create a new site to the East of Greenstead, where plans are said to commit to 4,000 homes. The other is towards Marks Tey and an area that would become West Tey. Here the proposal includes 7,500 homes.
Colchester, as we have said many times before, is a developing town and with that comes a huge increase in population. The area is popular, for both its local amenities and its close proximity to London. Homes must be built, but done so in the right way. Recent studies have shown that Colchester on average will need between 1,065 and 1,225 homes built every year to deal with demand. We are likely to have population of 200,000 as soon as 2021.
Garden Cities and development are fantastic opportunities. By building more homes we invite more consumers and with that more trade. It creates a booming market that local businesses can benefit from. Added inhabitants will naturally lead to added investment, with infrastructure improved and amenities increased to deal with the growing numbers, making Colchester a more comfortable and expanding economy in the process.
But as with any development, there are factors to take into account first. Building new housing is all well and good, but must not be to the detriment of those already living here, or those who would look to buy. A Garden City should be self-sustaining, and that must be the focus before even one home is built. Create schools, hospitals and community facilities. Make sure access to transport links is readily available and that current roads will not suffer as a result of increased users.
Creating a community is difficult. It takes dedication and it takes heart. Make this Garden City an enjoyable place to live, somewhere easy to integrate and it will be a huge success. Build 7,000 homes and fill them with people without any prospect of finding a job and who become a burden on neighbouring towns and it is likely this venture will prove a failure. We sincerely hope that the former is the case.
Keep Britain Tidy is an environmental group that relies on volunteers and charity work to make a difference to the environment in Britain. Having been established 60 years ago, the group has been through many changes, but what has stayed the same is the desire of its members to create environmental programmes that protect and preserve beaches, parks and schools, keeping areas clean and able to be enjoyed by the local community.
They work closely with Businesses, Governments and Locals to create an understanding of the environment and our impact on it, endeavouring to prevent damage that could ruin these communal areas for future generations. The vision and the aims are simple; to eliminate litter, improve the environment, educate the future and eradicate waste.
The Green Flag award focusses especially on areas of green space; places where people can come together whether young or old and enjoy. It is widely acknowledged that living near to and visiting areas of green space is good for your health and quality of life, making these areas vital to us all. Volunteers visit on behalf of Keep Britain Tidy, to assess the cleanliness and general feel of the park or area, making sure that it is maintained sustainably and a fun place to spend time.
The Green Flag is generally considered to be the benchmark for quality when it comes to environmental cleanliness. These parks are just two of 123 in the East of England, highlighting the dedication of those who live here to creating a more sustainable, green future.
At Temme English we consider being close to green space, especially areas that have been awarded this accolade, as a great selling point for a property. To be able to explore and enjoy an area of beauty near your home is another plus for Colchester, and long may the Keep Britain Tidy group appreciate the work of those who make our parks great.
On the 19th of July the Colchester community will be coming together yet again to celebrate the gorgeous weather in style, with a Parade and Family Fun Day inspired by the theme, ‘The Magic of the Movies’. It returns again to relive its past success and is a celebration of a town regularly coming together to enjoy fun activities and a procession of creativity.
People are encouraged to register and enter their float, bringing vibrant spirit to the event and livening up the High Street in the process. The event has been organised by both the Colchester Round Table and the Colchester Ladies Circle, social groups with an emphasis on charitable fundraising. It will also be backed up through partners such as The Mercury Theatre, Weston Homes and Essex Audi to help cement its success.
To make it a wonderful day out for families, the event will be split between a Family Fun Day in the Castle Park, and a procession through Colchester of the participating floats.
The Fun Day will consist of a number of entertaining activities throughout the day, including a Mascot Games, for the town’s most recognisable characters, Tai Chi lessons and stalls with artisan gifts. There will also be a kid’s area for the little ones, with activities from Kiddi Caru and a ‘Tent of World Dreams’, which will play host to Belly and Bollywood dancing.
The Procession will run from Abbey Fields from 3pm and after travelling down Butt Road is likely to hit the High Street at around 3.30pm. So come out and show your support for an event that gets bigger and bigger every year. The Colchester Carnival is yet another example of the spirit and togetherness of this developing town. If you are a local already, or an out of area buyer looking to relocate, we highly recommend you visit and spend the day supporting a great cause, with likeminded people who care.
The history of the town as we know it today dates back to around 975AD, when it was given its Saxon name; with Wic meaning village and Ford meaning a shallow river crossing. It was present in the Domesday Book of 1086AD and throughout history has been an important agricultural village. Due to its strategic placement it has also got the mark of the Second World War upon it, with specialist pillboxes still found around the town and throughout the Wick Country Park. These were used as a British anti-invasion technique, as preparation for an anticipated German attack. It’s most recent claim to fame is as the birthplace of British Naturism too! Though it isn’t something we see a lot of today at Temme English.
Based in the South East of Essex and a mere 30 miles from the Capital, Wickford is a commuter’s paradise. Similar to Colchester, where we have our second branch, Wickford offers everything you could want for a more relaxed way of living; away from the hustle and bustle of London life, but without missing out on any of the vital amenities.
In November 2005, with its commuter popularity increasing, ‘The Master Plan’ was confirmed. This was a £125m investment scheme that would see Wickford elevated and reborn, through redevelopment of the High Street and an encouragement towards urban living through the creation of public space. Residential Development was also key to the project, with 650 apartments estimated and Health and Public Service improvement was also a part of the plans.
The work started in February 2007 and, although suffering setbacks in the same way that much of the country did during the financial crash, has certainly increased popularity and living standards for the town. One area that has been preserved, though, is Wick Country Park; 50 acres of former agricultural land that is now home to a lake, a pond, numerous walking trails and small bridges over the Rivers Crouch and Wick that flow through it.
So if you are looking to embrace history and enjoy the modern day investment of a Basildon District town, then Wickford may well be for you. Pop into our High Street branch and see what Temme English can do to help make your dreams come true.
As with most things in life it will be the financial aspect of your venture that will need addressing first. With a deposit of up to 30%, the sums you do will be incredibly important in gauging whether Buy to Let is a viable option.
One thing that does work in your favour as a Buy to Let investor is the fact that you are Chain Free, meaning that any agreement offers a quick and smooth transition. This could prove an attractive prospect for Vendors.
So the sums add up, now the next part is finding the ideal location for your property. Think of all the things that make an area attractive; schools, shops, transport and community feel. Your Buy to Let home needn’t be on your doorstep either, so look for the best spot, not the nearest.
If you are looking further afield then do your research both in person and online. Speak to potential neighbours and take a tour of the area. Also look at websites like Rightmove which will give you a great indication as to where is popular and where struggles to find tenants.
So now we have the perfect location, it’s time to fill the property. You might be tempted to decorate to your taste. Unless you are trying to attract yourself as a tenant, then this isn’t the best idea. Different groups will be after different things, so it is important you consider who it is you are targeting.
A good example is the difference between letting to students or a family. All students will want is a great night out and an easy route to class. If you are near the town centre, then this might be your market. Families on the other hand are likely to be concerned with local schools and how safe an area is. They should be who you look to if your area reflects these family values.
Investing in a Buy to Let home is relatively easy; it is what follows that takes the time and dedication. You need to find a tenant and then keep them happy. Make sure rent is coming in on time, whilst keeping up to date on repairs and problems. This is a time consuming project and can affect everything about the way you live your life.
One way to avoid being completely overcome is to enlist an Agent to manage the property for you. This will cost you a percentage of course, but give you back the evenings and weekends you might well miss otherwise. You certainly can go alone and reap the rewards, but consider how much time you are willing to lose before you do.
The prizes we will be giving away as part of the event include a BMX, Scooter and Swing Ball set for each school, as well as setting up our own game of ‘Price the Unusual Property’. To be in for a chance to win you have to come on down. We guarantee a wonderful day out where you can help support a fantastic cause.
This isn’t our first sponsorship of a school and so we know how important, and not to mention fun, these events can be, both for adults and children alike. With the warm weather looking like it’s here to stay, it should be a great way to celebrate the end of the school year and welcome in the summer.
We talk a lot about the community spirit we find across Colchester and these events are no exception. School Fetes are predominately about the kids and their education, with children across all backgrounds and family situations joining together to raise money and have a fantastic day out with friends and classmates. We believe these events offer a different dynamic to school life and the learning process, which is why we are always so keen to be involved.
As well as our stall for the ‘Unusual Properties’ and the fabulous prizes on offer (even if we do say so ourselves) there will be a tombola too, with smaller, but no less exciting, prizes to be won.
So if you do get the opportunity to support your local school then we highly recommend you do. Whether you just want to enjoy some holiday style weather in a great community atmosphere, or are after a new BMX to ride home, you will be warmly welcomed and can really make a difference. We look forward to seeing you there!
The Chariot Race itself will be on Saturday the 7th in the Lower Castle Park and is a creative way of celebrating the event. This incredible spectacle will see six teams fight it out in what is being called ‘The Battle of the Ages’, with local businesses sponsoring the teams and event. It is yet another example of community coming together, both business and residential, to mark another outstanding achievement by the town.
The six teams will each represent a battle from history, with the Romans facing the Iceni, Saxons taking on the Normans and the Cavaliers and Roundheads going head-to-head. The races will take place around the Castle Bailey, with the initial round determining who will represent their era in the final and have a chance to claim the trophy for their time.
It is an exciting prospect and a really great way to mark the grand opening of the castle in true Medieval style.
As well as the Battle of the Ages, there is also the Medieval Festival too, another way to commemorate the past and celebrate the present. This Fayre and Market is an annual event that is eagerly anticipated throughout the year. And with falconry, combat, archery, theatre, music and dance events it is easy to see why. Everything on show will represent the period, with entertainment both reminiscent and complimentary of the time in equal measure.
The event will be filled with authentic traders selling fine food and proving good ale. These merchants uphold Medieval philosophy and, with new juggling, magic and medieval singing on show, we are all in for a treat.
We realise we sound like excitable kids here at Temme English, but we don’t mind. When it comes to bringing a town together to celebrate its history and achievements, there aren’t many that do it better than Colchester. So we urge you to get on down this weekend to Colchester’s Lower Castle Park and immerse yourself in not only history but also a community that it is a pleasure to be a part of.
I thought for a first article I would concentrate on the design of small gardens, as let’s face it, most of us have smaller plots these days, including me. There are a few basic principles in designing a small garden or courtyard, which if adhered to, will help make the space a success. Here are my 6 topical tips to help achieve this;
1. Keep the design simple - Use bold ground shapes and make sure each area is in proportional and scale to the overall size of the space and its relationship to the house.
2.Use a limited number of different materials- less is more. Be creative with a few hard landscaping materials. The courtyard uses just three, brick, random York paving and gravel. The use of the hard materials must enhance the layout of the garden without overshadowing the planting, therefore the hard and soft landscaping should complement each other, not compete. Also try to avoid a lawn in a very small space, it’s impractical and will be a lot of hard work to keep it looking good.
3.Use plants that are suitable for the site, soil, aspect and local climate of the garden. Work with the conditions you have and don’t try and fight against nature, you won’t win!! If you have light sandy soil in full sun, plant accordingly. Lavenders, Cistus, Agapanthus, Santolinas, are all plants that love those conditions. If on the other hand you have heavier or moisture retentive soil in shade, plant Hostas, ferns, Hemerocallis, Hydrangeas. Basically if you put the right plant in the right place and you won’t go far wrong and you’ll have a successful garden.
4.Think of plants in terms of their structure, form, leaf shape and texture as well as their flower and colour. Most plants only flower for a relatively short period, although there are exceptions. Once the flowers are over you’re left with the foliage. With a little careful planning plants can be grouped together to make a very pleasing design with just the foliage in mind. An example of this might be a grouping of blue leafed Hostas, a variegated grass, Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, with a purple leafed shrub, Physocarpus and white flowering Japanese Anemones.
5.In small gardens use a limited palette of plants and use them in bigger numbers. Once again, less is more. This will give the garden a greater impact and avoid it looking too busy. Use herbaceous plants in drifts and clumps, and make sure the plants you use have a long season of interest, as each plant needs to ‘earn its keep’. Plants like Penstemons, Euphorbias, Astrantias, Heleniums, Asters and grasses will all provide weeks of colour and have good foliage to.
6.Now is a great time to be thinking about designing or redesigning a garden. All the planning, construction, and planting work can be carried out over the autumn and winter time in readiness for you to be able to start enjoying your garden next spring.
Paul Baines MSGD
44 St Mary’s Road
Frinton on Sea
Tel: 01255 671161
Mob: 07747 495489
As an Estate Agent Temme English is a supporter of new construction and we believe it is something that is crucial in meeting the increased demand. But although development is a good thing, we are mindful of its harmful effects too, having spoken previously about the topic in our North Colchester Development Mistake blog. But as well as causing problems for residents we must also take into account impact on the environment.
The Colchester Institute has embraced this idea by holding its first Bee Green event, an eco-fun day that is designed to highlight the work that they do to make themselves environmentally friendly. Energy saving measures on the day include a stage set up for Zumba dancing and live music which will be powered entirely by bike as staff and students pedal to keep energy levels high. The two restaurants found on campus are also employing a ‘10 Mile Menu’, with their ingredients sourced no more than this distance away, thus reducing the impact of distribution.
To have this educational powerhouse of Colchester showcasing such environmental concern is refreshing. As a huge part of the town’s community we can only hope that the Institute sets the trend for businesses across Colchester and beyond. At Temme English we have taken inspiration from them and are implementing our own eco-friendly measures to lower our impact.
To begin with we have severely reduced our paper wastage, making sure to favour email wherever possible and share information on as few pages a possible. We have also introduced car sharing measures, whereby members of staff will travel to work together, reducing carbon emissions by at least half. Some of the more nearby staff members have chosen to start biking to work and cut their cars out completely. We have also made a push on ‘Using the Button’. At times when a room or appliance is not in use or when we leave the office at night, everything from lights to PC’s are turned off until needed again.
These may be small measures for now but we are always looking for ways to improve ourselves on an environmental level as much as a professional one. Development is all well and good and as a nation we are in the position where it is absolutely vital. But looking after our planet and preserving areas like the Country Park and Dedham Vale for future generations is a duty we should all share and one Colchester seems to be taking responsibility for.
Generally speaking a couple will base their home choice around a variety of factors to do with their age, social group, vocation and financial situation. These are important things, to make sure you fit seamlessly into your surrounds and meet the demands of your lifestyle. In many respects these are the same factors that dictate a family move, but more often than not the relevant specifications will fall at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Finance will of course play a bigger part in your decision than before. Kids are expensive; food, toys, transport, beds, clothes, the list is expansive. Whereas before you could perhaps stretch the budget to guarantee being close to bars and restaurants or for the particularly well designed living room, now it is important to put money aside; the spending doesn’t end quickly.
This is by no means meant as a scaremongering piece that drives prospective parents into panic. Instead a friendly warning on what might now be important. As baby grows and begins to move around think about the safety of balconies perhaps, or open staircases. Are they suitable? Ponds in the garden or open fencing leading away from the property could mean little one must be constantly watched. Changes can be made to any property of course, but then there is the nurturing aspect. Why waste time rebuilding or plastering or decorating, when instead that time could be spent with baby. Leaving tools or chemicals lying around is another no-no, so why face the hassle?
As mentioned, having a baby is incredible, amazing and terrifying. At Temme English we are here to offer the best advice we can to make sure you find the perfect property for you and your new family. Let us know you’re expecting a new addition and we will do our utmost to meet those requirements. Of course you have to compromise, but we aren’t here to tell you where to live. All we ask is that you perhaps reconsider that modern apartment in the town centre, just above your budget but close to your favourite bar and instead consider the 3 bedroom in the suburbs, with childproofed cupboards and room for a slide. But the choice, as ever, is yours.
For the past 10 years Jumbo has been owned by a developer named George Braithwaite. As of last week he admitted defeat in his quest to renovate Jumbo into a building of luxury flats and offices, with a restaurant and museum said to also have been included in the plans. This controversial building that has divided opinion for over a decade will remain as it is for the time being, thanks to MP Bob Russell and the Balkerne Gate Trust.
As a Grade II listed building there are obviously strict regulations in place to prevent demolishment. This is something that we would never have advocated anyway. Although a deteriorating building, preservation should be key, although we believe in the way that George Braithwaite envisaged.
Jumbo has become an empty shell, a mere shadow if an illustrious past. It plays a huge part in the town’s history and present, with its presence above Colchester’s town centre. But allowing it to fall into further disrepair, simply for the sake of preserving a relic, seems short sighted. Major cities across the UK have managed to adapt old buildings, to preserve their history, whilst giving them a modern twist that makes them relevant and useful. Jumbo could become a tourist attraction to match the Castle and Firstsite, if given the opportunity.
The costs of maintaining and improving it without development are too high and would fall on taxpayer shoulders to implement. The Art Centre just around the corner is a fantastic example of how modernising an old building can work, the retired church now a thriving culture centre. The question is, without the ability to develop will anyone take on Jumbo as a prospect? Will it be left to fall into disrepair and become a historical eye sore, rather than a symbol of pride? Would a restaurant, gallery, viewing platform, or community space really be that bad a compromise, bringing Jumbo to the 21st century whilst maintaining its aesthetic? We think it isn’t and hope that rather than become a drain on public resource we instead see Jumbo meet its potential, be that a development of apartments or otherwise.
At Temme English we have put together a few tips that may prove the difference between just missing out and bagging the house of your dreams:
The first step is to PREPARE. It is crucial that when you put in a bid you know exactly what you can afford. Speak with an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) for impartial advice, as well as your bank for information on how they can help.
Looking to get an AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE (AIP) can also prove useful when you are making offers against multiple buyers.
The internet is a fantastic tool to help market properties, as a buyer it can really help narrow down what you’re looking for. Setting up PROPERTY ALERTS means you will be up to date with any property that fits your criteria as soon as it is uploaded.
It is incredibly important to MEET WITH LOCAL AGENTS, to introduce yourself and what you’re looking for. We are a friendly bunch in the main and the sooner we find a buyer with the requirements of a property we market the better! Plus, when new stock comes in, you want that agent to have your details in on their hot buyer list and call you immediately.
SPEED is also key. Act quickly and make yourself available as soon as new stock comes on the market. Even if only one member of the family can make it, at least you can assess the property before a second viewing.
In a similar way, getting your OWN PROEPERTY ON THE MARKET, preferably under offer too, will speed up the process latterly when it comes to agreeing a deal.
Most importantly perhaps is pay as much as the PROPERTY IS WORTH TO YOU. It is an unfortunate reality that we always expect to get a deal. The market is changing and with demand exceeding supply those deals don’t always exist. If you don’t want to get outbid then pay the amount that moving there would mean. This is obviously subjective, so think hard before offering.
Hopefully these tips will add a little knowhow to your search. For more information, or just an informal chat from some experts, Call Temme English Today and let us help you find your perfect home.
Now enveloped into Colchester as a whole, Lexden was once a village on the outskirts of the town. It is roughly a mile to the west of Colchester’s town centre, making it within easy reach of all amenities, but still far enough out to have easy access to places like Tollgate and the A12.
Much like all of Colchester there is a long and interesting history to be discovered when you delve into Lexden’s past. The area that we know as Lexden today was once the base for Boudicca before her rampage against the Roman’s in AD 60, with the first known reference by name in 1086 in the Domesday Book, William the Conqueror’s infamous tax survey. At this time it was called Lessenden and later became the headquarters for one Lord General Thomas Fairfax in 1648 before the great and bloody Siege of Colchester.
Today much of this celebrated history is still evident, with the surrounding wall that the Roman’s built after Boudicca burnt the village to the ground still standing and many 18th century homes still lived in today. There are two 400 year old watermills currently owned by residents and a hundred year old iron bridge across the Colne still used.
The town itself looks both towards the past and the present, something evident in its structure and properties. It is home to three religious buildings; St Leonard Church, the Patron Saint of prisoners, a Methodist Chapel and an Evangelical Church. It is also lucky enough to have several highly regarded schools within its boundaries too; the Private Holmwood House, Lexden Primary, Home Farm Primary and even a special needs school named Lexden Springs. From there you also have the renowned Colchester Royal Grammar and Philip Morant for higher learning.
The area is known to also have a thriving history group, for those likeminded souls who take an avid interest in the area they live and would like to take advantage of some of the fascinating walks and nature reserves that Lexden has to offer. So for yet another area of this historic town that is steeped in historical relevance then perhaps Lexden is the place for you as well. Get in touch today for more advice and fantastic properties around Colchester that Temme English has on offer.
Having looked to address Colchester’s social, economic and educational needs, now medical is on the agenda. We see this as further evidence of the progress the town is making and the dedication there is towards helping local residents.
The Colchester Medical Practise will be a merger surgery that will provide the back office services for the Shrub End, Castle Gardens and Wimpole Road surgeries. It will hold the records for 25,000 patients, with a catchment area that covers roughly half the town. Although a merger of three surgeries, the focus is on efficiency; refining the services provided to create a more pragmatic and functional system. With that in mind each surgery will retain their current sites, but will use Colchester Medical Practise as a base from which to deal with office duties, such as payroll and pensions.
By creating this central hub they will hope to remove duplication and be able to spend more time on what it actually important; patient care. These are likeminded surgeries providing the best care they can without the restriction of administrative duties. At Temme English we think this is a fantastic idea and provides yet another selling point for out of area buyers assessing the living standards of our town.
The project will save money, increase efficiency and mean better care for those in need. What we think this shows is that it isn’t just housing development or the renovation of an attraction that makes this a great place to live. It is the consistency that we are seeing investments made into key areas that is making this an exciting time for residents. We hope this will prove to be a success and will always keep you updated on the latest developments in our town and why we love to sell houses here.
But first a little on that history of Colchester.
Formally under the rule of Queen Boudica and known as Camulodunum in the early AD’s, it was founded as one of the first Roman towns and was the English capital of its day. When the Roman rule became too heavy handed for the natives it became the scene of a revolt, with Boudica and her Iceni tribesman destroying the town and slaughtering its Roman settlers. Although renowned as a strong leader, she was eventually defeated and a defensive wall was placed around Camulodunum, much of which can still be seen today. Since then Roman artefacts are regularly unearthed; treasures from Colchester’s bloody past, displayed within its historic 11th century castle.
And it is this castle that has been given a £4.2 million revamp over the past year, with the noble incentive of bringing history to life and Colchester’s past into the 21st Century. Tim Young, the Colchester Councillor in charge of culture, has said that the renovations will turn Colchester Castle into one of the best museums in the country and having looked at the upgrades we are inclined to agree.
There have been many modern additions made to the castle, including virtual Chariot races as part of the exhibition on the Colchester Roman Circus. IPads and tablets will be made available on arrival, supplying information on the castle and on the numerous displays on show. A mobile app is also on the cards to offer a similar service to continue this interactive theme. The museum will become technology driven, giving a modern take on what is a historical building and getting locals and tourists alike interested in the history of the town.
The castle will reopen on May 2nd 2014, with an estimated 100,000 tourists anticipated to visit in the first year alone. The upgrades are family friendly, creating a place that parents will love to take their children and children can’t wait to visit. This increase in tourism will be an incredible boost to the local economy too. Yet another investment into our town in the same mould as the Firstsite art gallery and the plans for the Vineyard Gate Shopping Centre. Money is available and Colchester is considered a place of opportunity for such ventures.
Sure, as estate agents an increase in tourism doesn’t help us in the short term; people are here to visit not buy property. But at Temme English we look in the long term. Increased tourism leads to increased customers for businesses in the town centre. A boosted town centre brings a higher quality of living. A high quality of living leads to an increase in popularity, with out of area interest in moving here. So really an investment of this magnitude is a huge benefit to us all; from the smallest child looking to learn about the history of their town, to businesses who can take advantage of more potential customers on the streets. We look forward to seeing the end result and hope it lives up to expectations.
At Temme English we are devoted to providing an open, transparent service that not only helps you sell or buy the perfect home, but at a price you deserve and with no hidden fees. Everything we do is service driven. For those that follow our blog regularly you will know that we take a great interest in Colchester and its residents. We aim to keep you updated on local events, give our opinion on potential developments and offer you expert advice on entering the housing market.
But actions, of course, speak louder than words, which is why we have decided to introduce our new Review System, soon to be a prominent addition to our websites home page. It is a combination of review and testimonial; real feedback from people in your area who have used our service and would like to share their experience. We are able to produce such a system due to the utmost confidence we have in not only being able to meet your aims, but to do so in a friendly and professional manner. We aim to help make what is considered a stressful experience into an easy and carefree transition. You concentrate on packing boxes, while we deal with the paperwork.
The Review System will go live in next few days, so keep an eye out for information on our Twitter page. Whether you are a previous customer who is eager to share their experience, a buyer or seller who has been let down by agents in the past and is looking for a reliable replacement, or even someone heading into the market for the first time, looking for advice from other local people on the best Estate Agent to choose. We welcome all your reviews, revelling in the positives and building on any advice we are given. So if you are looking for a transparent service with the customer’s interest at heart, then look no further. As our Review System will surely show, you have already found us.
Sole, joint or multiple agency – what type of Estate Agency agreement do you need to sell your house?
Contracts of this type should read as follows -
‘You will be liable to pay remuneration to us, in addition to any other costs or charges agreed, if at any time, unconditional contracts for the sale of the property are exchanged:
with a purchaser introduced by us during the period of our sole agency or
with whom we had negotiations about the property during that period, or
with a purchaser introduced by another agent during that period.’
The agent gets paid if they ’introduce’ a buyer during their contract period, or if you let another agent ’introduce’ a buyer within the original agent’s contract period. The definition of ‘introduced’ is a wide ranging one. It may well cover negotiations with a buyer, viewings, sending details, discussing on the phone as well as all these scenarios:
A buyer who knocks on your door as a result of seeing a ‘for sale’ board.
A buyer that views through one agent but later makes an offer through another agent.
A buyer that is given details of your property by an agent and then realises that they know you.
A buyer who views through an agent but suggests that you do a private deal
Contracts must have a set period of time (the average is 12 – 14 weeks). Please note that a contract almost always has a notice period at the end – add this to your stated contract length to work out the real amount of time you’ll be locked in to your chosen agent. This type of agreement does allow you to find a buyer for your home yourself without paying the estate agent (a private sale). A ‘sole selling rights’ agreement (best avoided) would mean the agent would get paid even if you did find a private buyer. Of course at Temme English we offer a zero week contract with the aim of giving you control over who the engage to sell your home.
Sole agencies are the most common of the agreements – most agents want an exclusive shot at selling your house. If the estate agent is any good, you shouldn’t need another agent to help in selling. However, you might want to check how comprehensive an agent’s marketing is before you agree to a sole agency – if they don’t cover all the bases (or have over valued your house to get the business), you don’t want to be locked into a contract lasting months and months. Find out exactly what your money buys you when it comes to the estate agent’s marketing.
If you appoint two estate agents to act together for you in selling the property, this is known as ‘joint agency’ or ‘joint sole agency’. A joint sole agency contract is where the estate agents involved share the commission when the property is sold. In practice, the agent that actually finds the buyer usually gets a higher split of the commission but this percentage share would need to be agreed at the start of the contract between owner and both agents.
Joint agency is often a useful way to get out of a sole agency before the end of the contract – if you tell your estate agent that you’re not happy and are considering terminating their contract at the earliest opportunity, then give them the option of being retained on a joint agency basis, they might be smart enough to see the merits of a slice of a fee rather than none at all. This type of agency is also useful when you want to use two agents that offer different services (for example a town agent and a country agent if you live on the border of a town). Do bear in mind the majority of the public have a negative perception about properties on with more than one agent (“I’ve seen that before – there must be something wrong with it”). If you’re thinking about joint agency, try to choose two agents that can communicate/work together happily.
More than one agent is appointed and there is no fixed contract period. You can add as many agents as you like, remove one at any time and so forth. However, only the agent that actually finds the buyer gets paid.
Often used when a property fails to sell with a sole agent, this is an extreme measure to take as the total fees can be considerably higher plus the property may become over-exposed very quickly. Confusion and disputes can also arise if agents argue over who introduced a particular buyer – make sure you keep a track of each agent’s activity.
Fees in General
Estate agents fees are due on completion and should have been invoiced at exchange of contracts. The invoice is sent to the solicitor acting for the owner, but the owner should also receive a copy to check. Most agreements are based on “no sale, no fee” so you shouldn’t pay anything if your house doesn’t sell (however, see below re extra fees).
Fees must be clearly stated on the contract – if the fee is a percentage of the sale price, a maximum amount in pounds and pence should also be displayed.
Although estate agents fees are often expressed as a straight percentage of the sale price, do remember they are also subject to VAT at the prevailing rate (currently 20%).
Some estate agents charge extra fees over and above the sale fee – we have recently seen these expressed as ” administration fees”, “advertising fees” or “withdrawal fees” ( a charge if your property doesn’t sell or you take it away from an agent). Costs up front for production of brochures and professional photography are also relatively common with upper market agents – it would always be worth making sure you know the total of ALL fees you may be liable for before signing a contract.
Watch out if you agree to a fixed fee from an estate agent – the fee is usually agreed based on the asking price so, if your property sells for less, you’re likely to be overpaying the agent compared to a normal percentage fee (which is charged on the final sale price)
If you want to give your agent extra motivation to achieve a top price, consider negotiating a tiered fee (eg 1% if they get under £240,000, 1.2% if they achieve between £240,000 and £250,000, 1.5% if they get over £250,000). Set the levels carefully to reward superb service and penalise an average result.
If you change estate agents, make sure the previous agent gives you a list of names of the people they have “introduced” to your property. If one of those names goes on to buy the house (in practical terms within 6 months from the date of termination of the agent’s contract), the old agent is entitled to their fee. Make sure you don’t get into a scenario where you owe fees to both agents because you didn’t do your homework.
Always ask estate agents to confirm their contract terms in writing (you would think this is standard practice but you might be surprised!) and, if you do end a contract with an agent, make sure they confirm that in writing as well.
You can go from one sole agent to another, from a sole agent to joint agents or any other permutation.
Don’t go backwards in marketing terms – if you leave an agent because they aren’t marketing your home effectively, take a breather and make sure the next one you choose can do better BEFORE you appoint them. Keep the property details you weren’t happy with and ensure the next agent does a better job.
Watch out for agents trying to tempt you away from your current agent with letters, leaflets and phone calls. This is standard practice for many corporate agents and is usually a load of flannel. “We have lots of buyers for your house” – Hmm, why haven’t they already seen it on the websites or in the paper with my current agent.
A quick guide to UK Stamp Duty
Backed by Caddick Developments again, The Vineyard Gate Shopping Centre will this time around have a backing of £70m; £5m of which will be supplied by our own Colchester Council and the remaining by numerous private investors. At a grand size of 175,00 sq. ft. it will create approximately 750 new jobs for Colchester, but even more importantly perhaps, start to bring people back to what some feel is an ailing Town Centre. Vineyard Gate will have a large anchor store, so far yet to be named, with smaller stores and restaurants completing the line-up around it. Although several big names have been bandied around, all we do know at Temme English is that the store is renowned enough to have created a real buzz and a rush of other high profile retailers to sign up.
The project is planning to go ahead in around two years’ time, with local residents given the opportunity to have public consultations about the plans. This interaction and inclusion of the community is a fantastic way to start this project, but what is really exciting is the knowledge that there are numerous investors who believe in our town and who are willing to spend the funds necessary to create an obvious boost to our economy and way of living.
The boost comes not only to the contemporary retail and leisure stores that are moving into the area, but also the smaller independent stores and their owners. With Town Centres across the country falling on hard times, it is fantastic to see Colchester leading the way in a rebirth. Rather than relying on out of town shopping centres, we are instead investing in the heart of Colchester. Rather than be daunted by the prospect of competition, it is clear that the independent stores revel in the idea of a fresh start.
What this project does show is what an upturn in fortune we are having in Colchester, a reason why so many out of town buyers have been banging on our doors. The issue of the Vineyard Gate Shopping Centre will be debated on March 17, we hope to a successful end. As Estate Agents it is certainly a warming feeling to be able to let our buyers know that by moving to Colchester you will become resident in a town filled with culture, thanks to Firstsite, beautiful, modern housing in our newest developments and now a thriving town centre, thanks in no small part, we hope, to our new, roofed shopping centre.
One thing that is clear to us is the great community spirit that exists in Colchester. It is something we have been keen to promote and have previously spoken about in our Braiswick School and Mile End Park Improvement blogs. Today we want to focus on the rural village of West Bergholt and again look to sing the praises of this tight knit community nearby. West Bergholt is but a stone’s throw away from Colchester’s town centre; a civil parish that is seeing a lot of interest from potential buyers, both local and out of area. The fact that it was upgraded to Class 2 category in 2008 and came 3rd in the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE) Best Kept Village in Essex competition certainly aided that.
A Medieval village by origin, the excavation of Prehistoric, Iron Age and Roman Remains show that West Bergholt has a long established history. Known as ‘Bergholta’ under Anglo Saxon rule, which translates as ‘Wood on a Hill’, it was later claimed by conquering Normans in 1067, the year after the Battle of Hastings. The land was regularly robbed and harsh laws were placed upon the inhabitants in a reign that lasted 35 years. The introduction of Robert Sackville as Mayor in 1119 had the name adapt again, to ‘Bergholt Sackville’, the second part of which was later dropped to become the name we know today.
West Bergholt currently has around 3,500 inhabitants and around 1,400 homes. It is a part of the Colchester Borough Council and as mentioned has a bustling community. As with many villages there is a strong religious feel, with Anglican, Methodist and Pentecostal churches, all of which help to build a togetherness and spiritual feel. The village is surrounded by farm and woodland, including what is locally known as the ‘Bluebell Wood’, a protected Woodland Trust area with a variety of deer.
But it is the community spirit of the area that is so appealing and to be admired. This comes of course through the local pubs, societies and social club, but it has been maintained and built upon by the development of the Neighbourhood Plan, which allows the community to shape their own future development. This means that land can be protected and the pace of the development monitored by people who actually live there. Simply put it is local decisions by local people.
So with popularity in the area soaring, for obvious reasons, and more and more buyers coming through our doors asking about properties in West Bergholt, we are really looking to up our involvement in the village. We love the ethos of the residents and the beauty of the surrounding area, just like our buyers. So if you are looking to sell then get in touch with us at Temme English today and choose an agent who respects your village and will find new buyers who will do the same
Presenting Your Home
Making sure that everything is clean and tidy before taking photos is an absolute must. You only get one chance at a first impression, so make sure people are drawn towards your property immediately.
Try and make the room seem more spacious wherever possible. By packing away non-essential bits and pieces you are able to open up an area and give the buyer a chance to imagine filling those spaces.
Perfect presentation will involve four of the five senses. It must look fantastic, first and foremost, but smell is also important and use of potpourri or air fresheners can create a calming effect. Touch is also a factor, so make sure there is no dust and that all sides are cleaned down. As for what the buyer can hear, turn televisions off, music down and make sure pets are on their best behaviour.
For more presentation tips see our Help Us To Help You blog.
Choosing an Agent
To make sure you sell your property at the price you want you need the right agent. Be very careful not to fall into the trap of choosing whoever offers the highest valuation or the cheapest fees. This doesn’t always guarantee quality and can waste valuable time and cause upset and mistrust.
We always recommend using a Sole Agency rather than taking the Multi-Agency approach. Although you may find more potential buyers, the ‘winning’ agent will expect to be paid handsomely for having won, meaning the fees will be far higher. Instead choose an agent you can trust, who instead of being in a rush to beat their rivals, is instead focused on finding the right buyer for you.
Online marketing has become a huge part of selling a property, but we shouldn’t forget the importance of having a board outside your home. Wherever you are situated, there will always be someone going past, even if it is just the postman. These people may have a friend, or friend of a friend, or even a relative looking for a house in exactly this area. Make their lives easier by giving them the information they need to get in touch with us direct and start the ball rolling.
One way to answer this question before instructing an Agent is to ask to see how there Click Through Rate (CTR) compares to their competition on sites like Rightmove. All Agents have access to this information and will be able show you how they perform.
CTR is basically your online activity, low CTR equals low online activity and with around 80% of all enquiries coming from online property portals it is important your agent understands this.
Poor photos, write ups and general advertising will cause your property to have a low CTR, this of course will have an effect on a properties activity.
THE MORE TIMES YOUR HOME IS VIEWED ONLINE THE MORE VIEWINGS YOU WILL GET AND THE QUICKER YOU WILL SECURE A BUYER.
When choosing an Estate Agent it is wise to pick that understands this .
Please call one of the team for more information on how we achieve the best CTR in Colchester and Wickford.
Please click here for a full description of CTR
There has recently been a bid submitted to have the Dedham Vale boundary extended, pushing further towards Sudbury and to make sure that there can never be development on what is without doubt an area of Natural Beauty. This is a bid that we truly back and wish the Stour Valley Partnership luck in their submission. The reason that we feel so strongly towards this cause comes down to something we have written about before, in our blog on the overdevelopment of Colchester’s North Station. We love the fact that Colchester is expanding and becoming a more popular place to live. But any development must be for the right reasons, and in the right places, to benefit the residents already here. Being on the doorstep of the Dedham Vale is a privilege. We are incredibly lucky in our town to have a combination of wonderful amenities and beautiful countryside just minutes away. It is part of the reason that people continue to flock here and for Estate Agents like ourselves, an incredible selling point to potential buyers. The bid has been backed by some pretty important people and organisations in the area. Thanks to Braintree MP Brooks Newmark, the Dedham Vale Society, the Colne Stour Association and the Campaign to Protect Rural England. Each of them are fighting to help preserve the Suffolk countryside and continue to keep Colchester and the surrounding areas so close to some true, natural beauty. For that we are very grateful.
A play area is great for so many reasons. Most obvious is that it creates an area to play in, a place children can call their own. Here they can meet and interact outside of school and can develop friendships in the real world. They meet new families and people they otherwise might never have had a chance to. But play areas are important for other reasons too.
Technology has taken over our lives, in many cases for the good, but for our kid’s maybe not. Less and less are we seeing them out in the fresh air. Parks and play areas have been replaced with games consoles and tablets. What improving a play area like the one in Mile End can do is encourage fun exercise. Getting kids away from the screen and outside to run around, climb and jump. To socialise with others who love doing the same and work up an appetite before dinner.
One of the impressive things is the funding that was made available, with money coming from Co-operative Community Funds, the Colchester Council, the Environment Trust and the Community Initiatives Fund. Even more impressive was that it was secured by locals. People in the area who care enough about their community to go out and find the money to change and improve it. People like this should be congratulated.
As an Estate Agent that is proud to market properties in Colchester, we see this as a great project for several reasons. Firstly, as mentioned, that residents would go out of their way to improve the area is a fantastic advert for families looking to move to Colchester. Secondly is the fact that so much funding was available, as it means people are willing to invest here. If investment is made in projects like this one it will only increase Colchester’s popularity. Thirdly is that we at Temme English have families too. We love the idea of getting kids having fun and keeping healthy. Let’s hope this is the start of a trend in Colchester and that we all begin to make the most of what we have on offer.
Nathan was today pleased to wish Mr & Mrs Walsh good luck on their moving day and to also present them with their new Ipad Mini.
We ran a promotion through December and January offering an Ipad Mini on completion to vendors that instructed us in that period.
The promotion proved very successful with many home owners taking advantage of the offer. It seems fitting however that Mr & Mrs Walsh were the first to complete and therefore the first to receive there Ipad mini as they wasted no time instructing us on the 2nd of December.
Mrs Walsh said earlier “I was unsure whether marketing our home a few week's before Christmas was a good idea, my concerns did not last long, we had 6 viewing booked within 24 hours of going on the market and a sale agreed 10 days later”
We wish the Walsh family all the best in their new bungalow and we also wish Mrs Walsh good luck hanging onto the Ipad mini, her daughter seemed very keen to get her hands on it!
Clearly a fantastic team effort required for a successful company. Your operation can only be described as impeccable. Strongly recommendable and one that I will certainly be using in the near future.
Thank you. Kind regards
Mr & Mrs M. WICKFORD
Temme English are relatively new to Colchester and provide an excellent all round service.They are professional, slick,reliable,and loyal if they say they are going to do something they will.Communication was excellent and we developed a great rapport with Nathan, Carl and Jake.
I think their secret weapon is their all round experience and abilities,interpersonal skills,negotiating skills and their maturity sets them apart from any other estate agent in colchester or further afield.
I would have absolutely no hesitation recommending TE to customers, friends, and family.
If you are about to go on the market choose TE- they will sell your house and they will negotiate the best possible price for you.
It took them 6 wks to sell ours and prior to selling they had viewings booked in during weekdays and evenings.
Thanks very much guys we have settled in our new home very nicely.
One feature we have found to be key is the use of 2D and 3D floor plans. Temme English does not charge for this service, one that we are reliably informed by Rightmove will increase your online activity by around 25%. That can be the difference between selling your property within weeks and within months and is all down to directing the right people to view it.
For every property we market we look to offer the highest Click Through Rate (CTR) that we can. This effectively measures online activity and can be explained through a very simple formula:
More Online Activity = Increased Views Online = Higher Number of Property Viewings = A Sale!
80% of all enquiries come through online portals, so making sure that your online presence is offering the most it can is very important. It is up to your agent to guarantee this and any worth their salt will use floor plans to boost their marketing repertoire.
A floor plan is a very simple yet effective principle. As these examples show, they can come as either a 2D or 3D image and offer a detailed layout.
Without a floor plan, and with only photos and a description to go on, it can be very difficult to imagine living somewhere. People will view a house that just doesn’t fit their specification, wasting time and effort for all involved.
What you are offered with a floor plan is a true depiction of how this home would feel to live in. It builds excitement before a call has even been made as, when combined with high quality photographs, people know exactly what to expect when they arrive and are already starting to make plans in their mind.
A detailed and professional floor plan is yet another key aspect of how we market our properties at Temme English. Because of its importance we offer this service for free, as what is most important to us is getting the best deal for your home as quickly as we can.
The marketing and presentation of your home has never been more important and it is imperative that it is portrayed in the best possible light to your potential buyers. Here are some simple tips to help make the most out of having your property professionally photographed:
· Tidy away papers, magazines and any loose paperwork from tables and work surfaces
· Remove any birthday cards or invitations from mantle pieces/walls
· Remove magnets, postcards and artwork from refrigerators
· Move dog/cat bowls & baskets from sight
· Dressing tables and side tables should be neat and tidy and clutter free
· Ensure keys are not left hanging on walls or in a visible position.
Generally it is a case of de-cluttering and striking the correct balance between that and maintaining a ‘lived-in’ feel. This can be crucial, so don’t be afraid to ask your photographer should you have any questions.
In certain scenarios props can be a great idea, to highlight a particular feature. Whether your home be presented with fresh flowers in the dining area or fresh fruit in the kitchen it can add colour and appeal. If you have an open fireplace then nothing is more welcoming than a lit fire.
Coats and scarfs should be removed from the hallway as a shot of the entrance hall can be most inviting.
Pictures will be taken in every room where the opportunity presents itself so the property can be fully presented.
Following these simple steps can offer a fantastic return, the more people who are visually attracted to your home will lead to more viewings. This in turn gives you the best possible chance of receiving the optimal selling value.
Be sure your home is remembered for all the right reasons…
First impressions count – The very first impression your eventual purchaser will have of your property will be the marketing photographs used to promote it.
We have worked hard as a team to achieve and maintain this huge landmark getting the basics right and making sure the presentation of each home is to its maximum. 700 days in a row shows consistency in this respect amongst its competitors.
If you are looking to move we will provide you with a free valuation without obligation. An appointment can be arranged by calling 01268 573035 or by popping into the shop.
*Source: For Sale Sign Analysis Ltd
People often worry that the traditional English village is disappearing, that further development to towns and cities will spell the end for close knit communities with a quiet, slow paced way of living. When you visit villages like Layer-de-la-Haye you start to realise that this just isn’t the case.
Layer-de-le-Haye is a village roughly 4 miles away from the bustle of Colchester’s town centre. It is far enough out of reach to retain its tranquillity, yet close enough to take advantage of the fabulous amenities that Colchester has to offer.
With a population of around 2000 people, Layer, as it is more commonly known, offers a mixture of vibrant community spirit with stunning country landscape, a small slice of rural heaven found nestled in Essex countryside. Originally a Saxon settlement, it was considered a great defensive vantage point and was known as ‘Legra’, Saxon for ‘lookout’. Later it was under Norman control and owned by the de la Hayes, hence its adaption to today’s name.
There is a distinctive character to the village. The surrounding woodland and fields offering a comforting blanket against the furious pace of town living. Built on the banks of the Roman River Valley, it is a conservation zone rich in animal and plant life, especially so on the 1200 acres of Abberton Reservoir, now a sanctuary for both resident and migrating birds alike.
This guarantee against excessive development allows Layer to embrace its cultural and traditional heritage. But don’t be fooled into thinking this as an ancient, forgotten hamlet. Its combination of old and new housing has given the area a fresh vitality that attracts only those happy to embrace Layer life, of which there are many.
The highly rated Church of England Primary School, that educates around 200 children aged 4-11, is the hub of the community. But the extracurricular activity isn’t just for the kids; there is also a regularly used tennis court to be found in the village. The local village shop offers all the essentials, including freshly baked bread each morning and the two local pubs offer you the choice between the traditional and the refurbished; a perfect representation of the village as a whole.
Layer is the perfect place to compromise. Need an escape from the hustle and bustle of town living, while staying close enough for work, travel and retail therapy? Then Layer is the place for you.
Earlier this week our local MP, Sir Bob Russell, raised a question in Parliament regarding planning for 1,600 homes to be built in North Colchester. These new homes have been described as a ‘planning and environmental disaster’, something, having looked into the development strategy, we strongly agree with. It is the Colchester Borough Council who have failed to ask the relevant questions and agreed to the plans; the people of North Colchester the ones who will be left to struggle.
The first problem is the lack of funding that has been put aside for schools. Last week we wrote about how excited and pleased we were to see plans for a new school in Braiswick. This was something that would benefit the area and, although there were minor problems with traffic to iron out, offers a real boost, both financially and personally, to the locals. The Essex County Council has already stated that they are unable to fund even one school for this new development, which the developer themselves is required to do, but won’t. This will put unnecessary pressure on the surrounding schools, with an inevitable influx of families with young children.
Secondly comes traffic. The congestion around North Station is already a major concern for many people. 1,600 new homes in the area would create even greater problems, and there again seems to be no plan to deal with this issue.
Anyone that lives in Colchester understands that development has been crucial in its rise in popularity and liveability. Colchester has become a vibrant, bustling town that people are now prouder to call their home than ever before. Much of this is down to the expansion of homes and the new people who have moved into the area.
For an Estate Agent this increase does bring work, but it also brings questions. At Temme English we are not focussed on the short term. We intend to supply Colchester with our quality service for many years to come and so are passionate about keeping Colchester as a great place to live. We only support development that will benefit the town, creating places that people will want to live in 10, 20 or 30 years, not just until the traffic and lack of schooling becomes too much of a problem.
Unfortunately on this occasion the Colchester Borough Council are wrong in their decision. We strongly back Sir Bob Russell’s campaign and wish him well.
· Grade I - of exceptional national architectural or historic importance
· Grade II* - of particular national importance& special interest
Both Grade I and II* listed buildings are of great importance to the nation’s built heritage and their importance will generally be beyond dispute.
Grade II listed buildings are of special architectural or historic interest and make up about 94% of all listed buildings.
Who decides whether or not a building should be listed or de-listed?
The Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport is responsible for compiling the statutory list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest.
Anyone can apply to have a building listed. Applications should be sent to English Heritage, who administers the application process and provides expert advice to the Secretary of State on which buildings meet the criteria for listing. Further information is available on the English Heritage website.
How can I find out if a building is listed?
The English Heritage website contains details of all listed buildings in the country www.english-heritage.org.uk. Please remember that property names do change and you may need to search under a previous name or number.
What is a list description?
A list description is a report which identifies a building by giving a history of the structure and a description of the historical features and character of the building.
How can I get a copy of a list description?
On the English Heritage Website. Searches can be made in several different ways (i.e. Parish/Street/House Name or No. etc.). Please remember that property names can change so it is worth checking that the description is the correct one for the property you are searching for.
Is the whole of the building included in the listing?
Yes. The whole building is listed and that includes the inside as well as the outside and also any object or structure fixed to the building. The area of land around a listed building within the boundaries is called the ‘curtilage’ and any pre 1st July 1948 building or structure within this area is also deemed to be listed as are the boundary walls, railings, gates and possibly garden features.
What is listed building consent?
Listed Building Consent is needed for any work to be carried out to a listed building that would affect its special character and/or appearance in any way. It is a criminal offence to carry out such works without consent.
Do I need listed building consent to...
· Repair windows/doors – No, providing they are carried out in a like-for-like manner but if there are changes in materials, appearance or in some cases colour, consent may be required.
· Replace windows/doors - Yes, even if the new windows/doors are to be of the exact same design, material and finish.
· Build a conservatory, porch or extension– Yes if attached to the main building or curtilage buildings. Planning permission may also be required.
· Build a separate building or structure within the curtilage – No, but planning permission may be required.
· Install a satellite dish – Yes, if the dish is to be erected on any part of the building or curtilage buildings. Planning permission may also be required.
· Repaint the exterior of the property – Yes, if the building has not been painted before or if the proposed new colour affects the character and appearance of the building.
· Repair/replace the roof covering – No, providing the repairs or replacement roof covering are done using exactly the same material. Where possible existing pantiles/tiles/slates should be re-used. Consent may be required if there are any proposed changes to the roof timbers or structure or to the appearance of the roof as part of re-roofing works.
· Put up a fence, wall or install gates within the curtilage of a listed building – If the structure is to be attached to the main building or any curtilage building, then Listed Building Consent may be required. Planning permission may also be required.
· Do I need consent to demolish any structure or building within the curtilage of a Listed Building? - Yes. Listed Building Consent will be required for any proposed demolition to any part of a Listed Building or any structure within the curtilage. If the building is within a Conservation Area, Conservation Area Consent may also be required for any proposed demolition.
· Do I need permission to fit solar panels or wind turbines to a Listed Building? -
Consent will be required to fit any renewable technology devices to a listed building as in most cases they need to be fixed to the building which may change the character and/or appearance. We also need to ensure that any installations do not unnecessarily disturb or destroy historic fabric and ensure that there is minimum intervention and that any work is reversible, should the devices need to be removed in the future. Installation of renewable technology devices may also need planning permission.
How can I apply for Listed Building consent?
Listed building consent forms can be downloaded from the English Heritage website or you can apply online If you also need planning permission for your proposal, then the two separate applications should be submitted together.
What about VAT on works to a Listed Building?
Where listed building consent is required for works then VAT could be 'zero rated', providing the building is designed as a dwelling or used for qualifying residential or non-business charity purposes (or is being converted to such use). As consent is not normally required for general repairs and maintenance, these works would be subject to VAT at the normal rate.
For more detailed information on VAT and listed buildings you should contact HM Customs & Excise, tel: 01603 704200
What happens if unauthorised works are carried out on a Listed Building?
It is a criminal offence to carry out works to a listed building which affects its character and appearance without our prior approval. If you do, you could be liable to prosecution, and/or be made to change what you have done. The maximum penalty could include imprisonment and unlimited fines.
Can the Council take any action if a listed building falls into disrepair?
Yes. There are powers we can use to require owners to carry out urgent repairs to safeguard the future of a building and prevent further damage. In certain cases we can apply to ‘Compulsory Purchase’ a listed building.
It is widely accepted that one of the most important criteria for a family choosing a home is the schools. Making sure that your kids are going to get the education they deserve, without having to travel across the country to do so, can be the icing on the cake for families moving to a new area.
In Colchester we are very lucky for a number of reasons. We are considered one of the fastest growing towns in the country, have a fantastic cultural hub thanks to the Firstsite art gallery and there are even signs that Col United are starting to turn their form around! As well as this, we are now going to see the £5 million development of a Primary School in Braiswick, yet another reason for Colchester’s residents to smile.
Braiswick School, as it will be known, will have 420 places available for both Braiswick and Mile End based students and is due to be opened in September 2015. Sponsored by the Learning Pathways Trust, who already have successful schools in Braintree and Clacton, and funded by a combination of government and the Essex County Council, it will be on what was once the Flakt Woods factory site.
There are many reasons to be excited about a development like this. The continuing construction of both housing and amenities shows the ambition of the town. A community is often built around school and education and so, for the residents of Mile End and Braiswick, this Primary School offers the opportunity to become more than just neighbours. Jobs will be created and the idea of a modern educational facility in Colchester will be an incredible pull to the area.
For families looking for a place to call home, Braiswick now offers the full package. With easy access to the town centre, modern, attractive housing, plans for a new school and the chance to build a community in which every member can play a part. We look forward to hearing what changes are made to the initial plans at the end of March, but look forward even more to its completion in 2015, as further evidence of Colchester’s progress and another great selling point for us!
There are lots of ways you can search for property for sale.
Rightmove and other property portals are a great source of information and can give you a real insight into what types of property are available, their location and price. Most estate agents list their properties on the main property portals so this will give you a good overview of what is for sale at any given time.
You should also contact your local agents and register your interest with them. Put yourself on their mailing list, make firm connections and get to know them. This helps to get them on side.
Drive round your chosen area to get a real feel for the place, highlight the areas that are of interest to you and make sure your agent knows where they are. If something comes up for sale in that area, you’ll want to know about it so get the agent working for you.
How much time should I spend looking for houses?
You should spend as much time looking around houses as you can. The more houses you look at, the greater an idea you will form of what your dream home should have to offer.
Try to get round to see new listings as quickly as possible. This will accomplish two things; firstly, you may come across your ideal home and because you’re one of the first to see it, you’ll stand more of a chance of getting it and secondly, it will show the estate agent that you are a serious buyer, so when a new property comes to the market that seems to fit your requirements, they will be more likely to contact you.
Once you do find a property you are interested in, arrange a second viewing at a different time and perhaps take someone else with you such as a family member or friend.
Apart from the house purchase price, what other costs will I have to pay when buying a house?
There are a number of additional costs that need to be factored in when buying your new home. Below is a list with approximate figures.
Solicitor’s conveyancing fee
You should allow anything between £500 - £1000 + VAT but shop around for the best deals. Here at Temme English Estate Agents we can recommend good local solicitors if you don't already have one organised.
Stamp duty is a banded payment. It is payable at different amounts, depending upon the sale value of the home. The bands are listed below:
0% on homes sold at up to £125.000
1% on homes sold at between £125.001 and £250.000
3% on homes sold between £250.001 and £500.000
4% on homes sold at £500.001 and above
5% on homes sold over £1 million
7% on homes sold over £2 million
Mortgage survey fee
This can cost anywhere between £250 and £1,000 depending on the type of survey you have done.
Mortgage lender's arrangement fee
This is only applicable on certain mortgages and your mortgage advisor will be able to tell you in good time, what the situation is with yours.
Buildings and contents insurance
Once you have moved in, building insurance is compulsory for anyone who has a mortgage. This insurance protects the lenders money in the event of the building being damaged
If the sale does not go through, what costs do I have to pay?
Many solicitors and estate agents offer their services on a No Sale No Fee basis. If your purchase falls through prior to exchange of contracts and survey then you will not have to pay anything. If it falls through after survey then you will lose the money paid for the survey. If the sale falls through after exchange of contracts has taken place, this can be very costly as your buyers and sellers will sue for the inconvenience caused. A Home Buyers Expenses Insurance scheme is available to help safeguard against some of your costs if your purchase fails to proceed to legal completion.
How much can I borrow?
Before you start to look for your new home, it is essential that you find out what size mortgage you can get. After all, there's no point searching for the house of your dreams if it's out of your price range. The best thing to do would be to speak to an Independent Financial Advisor or (IFA). IFA’s are not tied to a lender and they provide objective advice of the various mortgage products available. They will find the best deal for you that matches your own personal circumstances. Get a lending agreement in principle and a certificate that confirms the amount. A lot of estate agents will request sight of this and you can use it as a bargaining tool because it will add weight to your offer.
Your borrowing ability is based on the size of your deposit and your salary. Lenders will usually lend up to 3 times your annual salary. If you are buying as a couple, the lending criteria changes and becomes 3 times the 1st income plus the second or, two and a half times the joint income. Do your own research as well, look through newspapers, magazines and the internet, it pays to be informed.
Temme English would recommend Brian Leppard at Buckingham James 07718 476015
What are the most important questions to ask the seller when buying a property?
You need to know whether the property is freehold or leasehold and if it’s leasehold, how long the lease has to run on it and whether it can be lengthened.
Another key question concerns maintenance charges. Are there any maintenance charges that you would be contracted to pay?
Has the road been adopted by the local council? Is the local council responsible for its upkeep and the upkeep of the drainage system?
Are you allowed to erect business signage and/or hang out your washing? Believe it or not, there are restrictions in place in some parts of the country, forbidding you to do this.
Do any rights of way exist over the land of the house?
Can the current occupiers guarantee full vacant possession upon completion? This is very important, after all, you do not want to move in, only to find you have to share your new home with some existing tenants.
Is the property built on a floodplain? Has it ever flooded or been in danger of flooding?
Make sure these questions are answered to your complete satisfaction prior to moving forward with an offer.
How much should I offer?
As tempting as it might be to try to get a bargain, it would be saddening to lose the property you have set your heart on for the sake of trying to save a few pounds. If you consider the house or flat to be a reasonable price, then offer the full asking price. In doing this you are more likely to secure your dream home. The owners are less likely to want to hold out for more money and you stand less of a chance of someone else coming along to pip you to the post with a higher offer.
When should I sell my house?
If you are reliant on the funds from the sale of your current home to finance, at least in part, the purchase of your new home, then it is absolutely the right thing to do, to sell your home first. It will place you in a much better position if you already have a buyer for your home when you put in an offer on a new home.
We would recommend putting your home up for sale as soon as possible. When you find a buyer, make sure you state in the contract, that you will not move out before you have found a new home. Another advantage of adopting this strategy is that you will know exactly how much money you have available to you, to make your next house purchase.
Any time is a good time to sell and buy property, especially if the mortgage market is stable. It used to be said that the property market was a cyclical thing, prone to slowing in the holiday seasons and whilst it may be true that slightly fewer property sales go through at Christmas time or in high summer, we have over the past few years noticed these seasonal trends levelling out.
We are currently celebrating a 1st birthday, with our Colchester branch still young, but growing and learning fast. The year has shot by, but not without some great memories.
Firstly, we would like to thank Prettygate School. During the summer we provided support and prizes for their annual fete. It was a wonderful day and one that we cannot wait to be part of again when the warm weather returns. The close, community spirit of the school gave us a great understanding of how local people come together to create an ideal place to live, learn and have fun.
We were also proud to be named finalists at the Colchester Business Awards, a humbling achievement in our first year. A great night was had by all and we were yet again shown how united the town is and how well local businesses are supported.
We have been made to feel very welcome this past year and are delighted to say that our expertise have led to both buyers and sellers receiving a stress free service that delivers results again and again. We look forward to putting smiles on many more faces in 2014.
We are supplying free valuations, with our professional and experienced sales team offering you piece of mind, as well as a platform from which to sell your property.
As well as that, if you ask us to market your property before the end of January 2014, we will give you a free iPad Mini on completion! Get in touch today for more details.
2013 was a great year for Temme English and we cannot wait to see what 2014 holds.
One way to answer this question before instructing an Agent is to ask to see how there Click Through Rate (CTR) compares to their competition on sites like Rightmove. All Agents have access to this information and will be able show you how they perform.
CTR is basically your online activity, low CTR equals low online activity and with around 80% of all enquiries coming from online property portals it is important your agent understands this.
Poor photos, write ups and general advertising will cause your property to have a low CTR, this of course will have an effect on a properties activity.
THE MORE TIMES YOUR HOME IS VIEWED ONLINE THE MORE VIEWINGS YOU WILL GET AND THE QUICKER YOU WILL SECURE A BUYER.
When choosing an Estate Agent it is wise to pick that understands this .
Please call one of the team for more information on how we achieve the best CTR in Colchester and Wickford.
Please follow the Wikipedia link for a full description of CTR http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Click-through_rate .
Interestingly, we didn't have the most for sale boards, but we had a very large lead on SOLD boards. This shows the attention to detail we give to each property that we are entrusted to offer and the effort put in to sell them.
So, if you are looking to sell in 2014 then you can be assured by using us, of a pro-active response from an Estate Agent that knows its market place!
Please call us or pop in for a free valuation, without any obligation.
As the evening approached there was a definite buzz around the office; suits were dry cleaned, hair trimmed and shoes shined. When we arrived we were struck by just how glamorous they had managed to make the Charter Hall look. A Champagne reception was followed by casual networking with other finalists and sponsors. What struck us most was the community feeling of the event. Everyone was there to promote their business and have fun, but above all support one another. This immediately put us at ease.
Before the ceremony there was a beautiful three course meal provided by Le Talbooth, which again added to the glamour and prestige of the event. Then it was time. As our judges made their way to the podium there was a sense of excitement around the table. The names were read out and the winners moved to the stage to collect their awards. Temme English was unfortunately not one of them. Rather than disappointed we were reflective. It had so far been a wonderful night and we were proud of being finalists. Rather than let it get us down we decided to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy ourselves.
As the night wore on and the dancing became less elegant, both Chris and Tom came to speak to us about their decision. They explained how difficult it had been and how close we had come. We had done a little research into the other finalists and so knew about the winners. To them, Baby Chariots of Colchester, Boutique 65 and Space Kingdom, we send our congratulations and a very Merry Christmas.
A key reason for entering these awards was to help us integrate ourselves into Colchester as a new company. Despite not winning, we felt closer to Colchester and its people than ever before and met some wonderful people. We are proud of our achievement and look forward to what 2014 holds.
One way to answer this question before instructing an Agent is to ask to see how there Click Through Rate (CTR) compares to their competition on sites like Rightmove. All Agents have access to this information and will be able show you how they perform.
CTR is basically your online activity, low CTR equals low online activity and with around 80% of all enquiries coming from online property portals it is important your agent understands this.
Poor photos, write ups and general advertising will cause your property to have a low CTR, this of course will have an effect on a properties activity.
THE MORE TIMES YOUR HOME IS VIEWED ONLINE THE MORE VIEWINGS YOU WILL GET AND THE QUICKER YOU WILL SECURE A BUYER.
When choosing an Estate Agent it is wise to pick that understands this .
Please call one of the team for more information on how we achieve the best CTR in Colchester and Wickford.
Please follow the Wikipedia link for a full description of CTR http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Click-through_rate .
We have worked hard as a team to achieve and maintain this huge landmark getting the basics right and making sure the presentation of each home is to its maximum. 700 days in a row shows consistency in this respect amongst its competitors.
If you are looking to move we will provide you with a free valuation without obligation. An appointment can be arranged by calling 01268 573035 or by popping into the shop.
*Source: For Sale Sign Analysis Ltd
Staying local, you will find a good range of amenities at your disposal. The development is located close to a parade of shops and the town centre itself where you will find a supermarket, shops, banks, building societies and an excellent selection of cafes and restaurants. You are also well placed to enjoy popular public houses, including The Barge Inn, Quart Pot and Thomas Kemble. Perfect for families, Wickford offers a strong range of educational facilities to cover all age groups. Two secondary schools and five primary schools give you peace of mind that your children's future can be well catered for at any level.
Turning to leisure, you certainly won’t be left wanting with an abundance of activities to suit all ages, the town boasts its own library, sports centre including swimming pool, along with a collection of football and cricket pitches at the nearby Wickford Memorial Park. Take advantage of the ideal opportunity to view wildlife and the picturesque surroundings on offer, including superb views over the 870 acre Hanningfield Reservoir and nature reserve. For those who enjoy nature, you may choose to stay closer to home and discover the beautiful surroundings of Wick Country Park, a wonderful 50 acre park of lakes, ponds, meadows and woodland that provides the ideal setting for a leisurely stroll with over 2km of trails.
Alternatively, jump in the car and take advantage of this superb location, why not enjoy a day at the seaside with Southend on Sea just 13 miles away or stay inland and make the 11 mile trip to the popular city of Chelmsford. Not forgetting the wealth of activities available when making the short journey into London by rail or car.
Ideal for commuters, Wickford is situated just a 20 minutes drive to the M25 (J29), Dartford Tunnel is just 21 miles away and the heart of London is only 35 miles from the development. By rail, Wickford Station offers a direct service to London Liverpool Street with journeys taking under 40 minutes and up to 6 trains an hour. What’s more, you will find yourself just 35 miles (55 mins by car) from Stanstead Airport making for easy international travel, whether it be business or pleasure.
By choosing to live here you will find yourself well served by excellent road and rail links, offering fast easy access to heart of London, along with the City of Chelmsford and Southend on Sea.
If you would to know more about AJS Photographic please go to their website www.ajsphotographic.com
Wickford swimming pool, built in the 1960s, will be transformed to include a new hi-tech gym and fitness suite after Basildon Council officers thrashed out a financial agreement.
The council hopes the plans, first mooted nine years ago as part of the doomed Wickford masterplan, will start by the end of the year, with the project completed by the end of summer 2014. Malcolm Buckley, Basildon councillor responsible for regeneration, said: “This project will play a major role in breathing new life into Wickford while delivering on our promise of transforming our borough.
“It is unusual in these cash strapped days for councils to invest in leisure facilities, but these things really matter “If we are to really create opportunities for local people, as we have pledged, then we must make our town centres places where local people, and families in particular, want to be.”
The project will include new changing facilities for swimmers.
The council also outlined its intentions for new toilets in the heart of the town, which will be free to use and could be open by the spring.
In March, the council set aside up to £1million in its budget to invest in Wickford, and a proportion of that cash will be pumped into the pool improvements.
The council insists the remainder of the £2million is budgeted for, but could not be specific on where it would coming from.
Mr Buckley has previously said land in Radwinter Avenue, Wickford, will be sold to developers to help finance the package of improvements.
The council claims the pool, in Market Avenue, will remain open during the work, but last month Mr Buckley said the pool may need to be closed.
The centre’s current operators, SLM, will continue to oversee the running of the pool.
David Harrison, vice-chairman of Wickford Action Group, said: “The pool has been a priority and has needed a revamp and we were promised this nine years ago, but it is good to see work looking like it will start.
“We are, however, interested in how these changes will be financed.”
Source: Evening Echo
This accolade is no fluke as its now our sixth quarter in a row which (as of today) we make 524 days consecutively!
Published: 31/07/2013 Last Updated: 09/06/2015 16:42:58 Tags: Wickford
Basildon Council has revealed its plans for Wickford Memorial Park, in Rettendon View, even though it is still trying to find the majority of the money for the two-year project.
Almost half of that money, £439,000, will be spent on doing up the park’s pavilion for community use, as well as a cafe and changing rooms for sports teams who use the park’s playing fields.
Trees to commemorate soldiers who haven’t been previously recognised will be planted in the Memorial Avenue while the Garden of Peace will be restored, and works will take place to improve walkways near to the River Crouch.
Alan Ball, chairman of the Wickford Action Group, said: “We are happy for any inward investment in Wickford. We welcome this latest initiative as it does not involve the selling of land or any building to pay for it as this is the correct way to go and Wickford will benefit from a regenerated and vibrant park.”
David Harrison, vice-chairman of the group, added: “We hope the bids for money are a success and this does not end up in failure like the Wickford masterplan.”
In April, the authority was told that its bid for cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund was unsuccessful, so officers have now tabled bids to other organisations.
Kevin Blake, the Tory administration’s cabinet member for leisure and the environment, said: ”Although external funding cannot be guaranteed, we are working hard to ensure we will be able to deliver significant improvements to a fantastic facility for our residents.
“The plan is for the park to be a base for the community to enjoy the nature and open space as well as top quality facilities.
As part of this, a Highcliffe Neighbourhood Group has been set up, and it is hoped community volunteers will help publicise and maintain the park, as well as run the pavilion’s café.
The role of volunteering officer will be created to co-ordinate this, at a cost of £120,000.
It is hoped that the park’s enhancements will eventually lead it to attain Green Flag status, which is barometer of well-run and maintained open spaces.
If the authority is successful in its funding applications, work will start in March next year and will be completed by the end of 2015.
But the authority is only providing £68,000 towards that £1million figure, with the rest coming from grants, donations, and S106 contributions.
The council has managed to get £320,000 in grant funding from the Veolia Pitsea Marshes Trust and is also bidding for money from Sport England and the BIG Lottery Fund to try and get the project moving.
So far, it has just under half the cash required for the revamp.
Britain's most-hated tax is about to be overhauled – although only if you live in Scotland.
However, there are hopes that the replacement of stamp duty north of the border, which will see the end of the hugely unpopular system of "highest rate of tax on the whole amount", will be copied in the rest of the country.
"There's a referendum on independence coming up," said Ray Boulger, an expert on the housing market. "It will be an open goal for Alex Salmond if he can say to Scottish voters: look, we abolished this immensely unfair tax as soon as we had the power to do so but the Westminster government is happy to keep it." To neutralise this threat, the Coalition could announce its own changes to stamp duty before the general election, Mr Boulger added.
Stamp duty is hated for two reasons. First, the amounts involved can be huge, preventing some families from moving when they need a bigger home and making it harder for people to move when they are offered a job in another part of the country.
Second is the unique way in which it is levied. Unlike income tax, say, where higher-rate taxpayers pay 40pc only on that slice of earnings above the threshold, stamp duty is charged at the higher rate on the entire sum if it is above one of the thresholds.
This gives rise to huge jumps in the tax bill at the various thresholds – £125,000, the level at which 1pc stamp duty becomes payable; £250,000, where the rate rises to 3pc; £500,000, above which 4pc is charged; £1m, where the rate is 5pc; and £2m, at which the rate becomes 7pc.
For example, if you buy a home for £249,999, just below the £250,001 level at which stamp duty rises from 1pc to 3pc, your tax bill comes to £2,500. But pay £250,001 and the cost shoots up to £7,500 – an increase of £5,000.
A bill passed by the Scottish Parliament last month scraps this system, replacing it with one that works like income tax. This will get rid of the sudden jumps in tax bills at each threshold. The new law is due to take effect in April 2015.
How likely is it that the Westminster government will follow Holyrood's lead?
Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and housing spokesman for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said the change in Scotland was "very good news" for the prospect of a similar move in the rest of Britain. "There's nothing better than showing a new system works in a place so close to home – it's like having a pilot scheme on your doorstep," he said.
Keith Denholm of Allied Surveyors Scotland said the reform to stamp duty north of the border was "long overdue" and would be relatively easy to introduce in the rest of the UK.
Mr Boulger, who works for John Charcol, the mortgage broker, said Scotland's move "must make a similar change elsewhere in Britain significantly more likely". He added that a decision was possible before the general election in 2015.
"There's a good chance that the Government will announce a review in this year's autumn statement or next year's Budget," he said. "This would allow it to announce the scrapping of the existing system before the election."
He pointed out that the Chancellor had reduced the top rate of income tax from 50p to 45p because he believed that higher tax rates discouraged economic activity. "If he really believes that, how can he argue against a reform of the stamp duty system that is bound to allow more people to move house, boosting activity in all sorts of areas, from DIY retailers to removal companies?" Mr Boulger said.
The effect of stamp duty on the housing market has become more acute since the financial crisis. When first-time buyers could get 100pc mortgages, saving up the stamp duty didn't take too long. Now, however, deposits of at least 10pc are required, with the stamp duty on top. Falls in house prices since the pre-crisis peak have also wiped out the equity in many people's homes, so their savings are needed for a deposit when they move to another property and cannot be used to pay stamp duty.
Paul Gallagher, a tax partner at Ernst & Young Scotland, which wrote a report on the new regime, said the Scottish Government had spent a lot of time and effort looking at land taxes around the world in order to come up with the best system. "We would expect the Treasury and HMRC to be looking at it," he said.
A spokesman for the Treasury said it had "no plans" to change the stamp duty regime in the rest of the country.
Can you avoid the dreaded duty?
The perceived unfairness of the current stamp duty system, especially the sudden jumps in tax bills at the thresholds, has led some people to look for ways to avoid it. Here are some of the tricks used either now or in the past.
Selling fixtures separately
Anything that brings the purchase price of a home below a stamp duty threshold will have a big effect on the tax bill. So some buyers persuade sellers to charge for fixtures such as curtains, carpets and kitchen appliances separately in order to bring the price of the property itself below a stamp duty threshold. This is perfectly legal as long as the fixtures are priced reasonably, but sometimes inflated prices have been agreed to squeeze the house price into a low tax band.
Cash under the table
Even simpler is agreeing an artificially low price for the official transaction and topping it up to the real price with an undeclared payment to the seller. This is outright tax evasion and therefore illegal.
Using a company
You used to be able to avoid stamp duty by putting your home into a company, then selling all the shares in the company to the new owner, rather than the property itself. This was often used for high-value homes. However, the Treasury has now clamped down on the practice.
Selling two or more leases
You can divide a property into separate legal entities so that each is priced below a stamp duty threshold. For example, a house could be split into two leaseholds and a freehold, with the new owner simply buying all three.
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Joe decided to fundraise on behalf of The HLH Trust in memory of close family friend Carol Goodbourn who sadly died of HLH.
Joe said “Carol was not only a close family friend, but also a fantastic mum and daughter as well as a wonderful person. I dedicate my runs to her because she dedicated and devoted so much of her time to others and was the best friend possible to my mum.
“The fact most people have never even heard of Hystiocytosis makes the marathons even more challenging as not only am I trying to raise funds for this worthy cause, but I am also trying to raise awareness of HLH and what it can do to people’s lives.
“Running for Carol and for HLH makes these runs even more special occasions for me and I feel very proud to be able to support a cause that genuinely relies on people’s generosity to survive,”
At last year’s Boston Marathon, Joe ran in 32 degrees of heat and achieved a personal best of 2 hours 54 minutes coming in at 370th out of 26,0000, while at the London Marathon, he achieved another personal best of 2 hours 51 minutes. He believes he came 500th out of 37,000 runners.
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Paris Update - Joe completed the Paris Marathon in an incredible time of 2 hours 45 minutes 28 seconds, his personal best!
London Update - Guinness World Record achieved for Fastest London Marathon Time
(2hr 58min 3 seconds) in a three piece suit!
September's 3 pence fuel duty rise scrapped
April's 3 pence rise in beer duty scrapped. Instead, beer duty to be cut by 1 pence
Annual inflation +2% rise in beer duty to be ended but "duty escalator" to remain in place for wine, cider and spirits
Cigarette duties unchanged - continuing to rise by inflation +5%
Limit at which people start paying tax to be raised to £10,000 in 2014 - a year earlier than planned
Shared equity schemes extended, with interest-free loans for homebuyers up to 20% of value of new-build properties. No cap on borrower’s incomes. Purchase price of new home limited to £600,000. Not limited to first time buyers but not clear if available for investment property.
Bank guarantees to underpin £130bn of new mortgage lending for three years from 2014. Effectively introducing a mortgage guarantee scheme (previously an insurance backed scheme now tax payer backed)
STATE OF THE ECONOMY
Growth forecast for 2013 halved to 0.6% from 1.2% in December
Office for Budget Responsibility watchdog predicts UK will escape recession this year
Growth predicted to be 1.8% in 2014; 2.3% in 2015; 2.7% in 2016 and 2.8% in 2017.
Borrowing of £114bn this year, up from previous £108bn forecast
Borrowing set to fall to £108bn, £97bn and £87bn, £61bn and £42bn in subsequent years
Borrowing as share of GDP to fall from 7.4% in 2013-14 to 5% in 2015-16
Debt as a share of GDP to increase from 75.9% in 2012-13 to 85.6% in 2016-17
SPENDING AND PAY
Most government departments to see budgets cut by 1% in each of next two years
Schools and NHS will be protected
£11.5bn in further cuts earmarked in 2015-16 spending review, up from £10bn
1% cap on public sector pay extended to 2015-16 and limits on "progression" pay rises in the sector
Military to be exempt from "progression" pay limits.
Proceeds of Libor banking fines to be given to good military causes, including Combat Stress charity
600,000 more jobs expected this year than at same time last year
Claimant count to fall by 60,000
TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE
An extra £15bn for new road, rail and constructions projects by 2020, starting with £3bn in 2015-16
HELP FOR BUSINESS
Corporation tax to be cut by 1% to 20% in 2015
New employment allowance to cut National Insurance bills cut by £2,000 for every firm
450,000 small firms will pay no employer National Insurance
Government procurement from small firms to rise fivefold
Tax relief for investment in social enterprises
Stamp duty axed on shares traded on growth markets like Aim.
Tax avoidance and evasion measures, including agreements with Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey, aimed at recouping £3bn in unpaid taxes
ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Tax incentives for ultra low-emission cars
Pottery industry in Midlands to be exempt from climate change levy
Tax allowances for investment in shale gas
2% Bank of England inflation target to stay in place
Bank remit to be changed to focus on growth as well as inflation
Single flat-rate pension of £144 a week brought forward a year to 2016
Cap on social care costs confirmed
20% tax relief on childcare up to £6,000 per child from 2015
£5,000 payments for those who lost money on Equitable Life policies bought before 1992. Extra money for those on low incomes
A credit to the team at Wickford to of carried this accolade throughout the whole of 2012 and now into 2013!
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