14
Oct 19

At one point or another, we've all been victim to unwanted noise in our homes whether it's from traffic, animals or neighbours.

In fact, one of the most searched for topics across the Landlord Library is noise pollution and how to deal with it and with this in mind, lettings platform, Howsy, has revealed what noises cause the biggest impact and how to protect against them.

Neighbours playing loud music or socialising late at night is the number one most hated cause of noise pollution amongst UK tenants, closely followed by road traffic, noise from animals such as dogs, cats or foxes and neighbours arguing – according to a survey of 1,000 UK tenants.

What can you do about it?

You don’t have to suffer in silence and there are plenty of cost-effective tips that both you and your landlord can carry out to ensure maximum peace and quite within your home.

Perhaps obviously, start structurally. Use filler to address any holes or cracks in your walls with a particular focus around things like window frames or other breaks in the wall such as sockets.

It may look nice, but wooden flooring can be one of the main issues when it comes to noise pollution, particularly if you rent out a flat with neighbours below. While a new floor might not be necessary, sorting out any creaky floorboards can make more of a difference than you might think when it comes to cutting out noise pollution.

Now check out your doors. All too often, cheap doors aren’t soundproof and can be replaced by something a bit more substantial where materials are concerned. Once you’ve fixed your new door in place, one handy tip is to bolster your soundproofing with weathering strips which will also make your home more energy-efficient.

Now your doors are sorted, what about your windows? Not the most cost-effective method but replacing old or damaged windows with double or triple paned PVC can work wonders for noise pollution – even a good quality wooden frame will reduce noise dramatically.

From fibreglass to insulation foam or ceiling panels and everything in between, insulating your home doesn’t just help keep you warm in the winter, it cuts out a lot of noise.

It’s within your best interests as a landlord to make sure your property is not only fit for purpose but is appealing as possible for tenants while also doing your bit for the planet and your pocket.

However, there are additional things you can recommend to your tenants that can also make a difference and these range from simple touches such as heavy-duty curtains to help down out the outsides world or a similarly robust rug to cover wood flooring and protect from the noises below.

Rearranging the furniture is also a smart way of minimising noise pollution and putting larger items such as a big book case or cabinet against the sharing wall will help add another layer. Another smart trick is to always position your tv on or by a shared wall as this will at least drown out any noisy neighbours while it’s on. Even a large picture or mirror will play its part and so considering layout is a small but smart step to help reduce noise pollution.

Calum Brannan, Founder and CEO of Howsy, has this advice: “When it comes to the tenant-landlord relationship, it’s often the small things that can go a long way and helping to soundproof your property, even with the smallest of touches, can really improve your tenant’s quality of life.

Of course, there is always work that can be done to improve a property, but you certainly don’t have to break the bank and there is a whole host of innovative tips that you can suggest and that will cost nothing to do.

Not only will you have a happier tenant for doing so, but you’ll have increased your property’s rental appeal which will make it more attractive if or when does return to the market.”

11
Oct 19

We could be leaving the EU at the end of the month. I say 'could' because let's face it, anything is possible on the Brexit merry-go-round. However, one thing is certain and that is that there has been a negative effect on the property market.

Estate agent comparison site, GetAgent.co.uk, has looked at where UK home sellers have been forced to take the biggest property price reality check when it comes to the asking and selling price of their home.

Pulling data from all of the major portals then cross-referencing with the Land Registry, the firm used proprietary algorithms to create a comprehensive record of what is selling, where, for how much and how long it’s taking.

When it comes to the asking price sought by UK home sellers, the market has remained firm as a whole, up 7% across the UK since the Brexit vote, with actual sold prices up 7.6%.

However, while the resilience and diversity of the UK market means many areas have remained impervious to the Brexit blues, there has been a notable chill in both asking prices and sold prices in a lot of areas.

Here are the worst when it comes to both.

Asking Prices

The biggest asking price drop since the vote has been in Bradford with home sellers having to re-evaluate their price expectations by a huge -35.9% to drum up buyer interest. Waveney in Suffolk has also seen a notable decline, down -22.4%, while the London borough of Islington takes the third spot with asking prices down -21.3%.

Chichester, Wigtownshire, Vale of White Horse, Aberdeen, East Hampshire, Horsham and Bolsover are also amongst the largest declines.

Sold Prices

While home sellers will list at a higher asking price to chance their arm in any market conditions, often resulting in a decline, sold prices have also come tumbling down in a number of areas since the Brexit vote.

It’s bad news for those in Bradford as the area not only tops the largest asking price declines but also the largest sold price declines, down -30.6%. Another Suffolk district ranks for the second largest decline in sold prices, but this time it’s Babergh with a decline of -24.8%, while Hertsmere places third, down -20.3%.

Wellingborough, Harlow, Chesterfield, Blackburn with Darwen, Oxford, Ripon and North West Leicestershire join the rest as the worst areas for sold price decline since the Brexit vote.

Colby Short, Founder and CEO of GetAgent.co.uk, commented: “There’s no doubt that Brexit uncertainty has produced perhaps the most erratic property landscape we’ve seen in some years and while there is light at the end of the tunnel, it’s hard to say just how long the tunnel is and if there is indeed an end in sight or not.

It’s certainly not accurate to say the UK market is down and out and for the vast majority, property prices continue to creep up, albeit at a slower rate than previous years. However, there are certainly a notable number of areas in which Brexit has delivered a bit of a knock-out punch for property prices and a real lack of buyer demand is seeing sellers list for a lower sum and sell for even less.

The proof of UK property is most definitely in the pudding though and once Brexit is behind us, we should see a reversal in fortunes for those feeling the brunt of our current European limbo.”

9
Oct 19

Newly released data from estate agency, Springbok Properties, has found that first-time buyers in and around London have seen some of the biggest jumps in average house prices since the Help to Buy schemes were introduced.

Help to Buy is characterised by three schemes.

The Help to Buy Equity Loan was launched in 2013 and has buyers contribute a 5% deposit towards a new build, with the government providing a 20% equity loan on the property, or 40% within London, which is interest-free for the first five years.

This is available on new builds under £600,000 in England and £300,000 in Wales. The scheme is running until 2023, though after 2021 it will only be available for first-time buyers and there will be caps on the value of homes people can buy.

This is the most well-known of the Help to Buy schemes.

The second scheme is the Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee, which also launched in 2013. This had the government act as guarantors against loans, while it wasn’t restricted to new build. It was discontinued at the end of 2016.

The Help to Buy ISA was launched in 2015, which saw savers pay money into an ISA and then get a cash bonus form the government. The scheme closed for new entrants in November 2019, while the bonus must be claimed by 2030.

Springbok Properties looked at the average cost of a first-time buyer property across the UK and where has seen the largest uplift in price growth since Help to Buy was introduced. While Help to Buy has given many a leg up when it comes to climbing the property ladder, the influx of additional demand has also, perhaps ironically, pushed the cost of Help to Buy homes up considerably.

Across Great Britain, the average cost of a first-time buyer property has increased by 32.8% since 2013, almost on par with the regular market. The typical price first-time buyers paid for a property in Barking and Dagenham was £281,396 in 2019, an alarming 70.8% increase from 2013.

This isn’t the only East London region to see huge increases the average first-time buyer price, as they rose by 60.7% in Newham to £349,874 and 60.1% in Havering to £307,874.

Other areas to see a strong uplift are Waltham Forest in North East London, rising by 68.7% to £408,233; Thurrock in Essex, increasing by 59.2% to £237,635; and Stevenage in Hertfordshire, rising by 58.7% to £250,086.

Scotland and the North East more subdued

The City of Aberdeen, which has been hit hard by falling oil prices in the past few years, is the only area of the UK where first-time buyers are paying less than in 2013. The price they paid has fallen by -10.9% to £126,794 in 2019.

Some other areas of Scotland have only seen modest rises, as Inverclyde prices have risen by just 6.55% to £83,995, while South Ayrshire prices have seen a 6.9% uplift to £102,992.

In England, the worst climber is County Durham in the North East, where prices rose by 3.5% to £88,790. This is followed by Redcar and Cleveland, where prices climbed by 4.5% to £105,156; while behind that is Middlesbrough with an increase of 5.0% to £110,304.

It seems Help to Buy hasn’t been enough to kick-start some of these markets into action.

Shepherd Ncube, Founder and CEO of Springbok Properties, commented: “Help to Buy was introduced by the previous government with good intentions – to assist would-be home-buyers in their first step onto the property ladder.

However, it seems that whilst around 200,000 buyers have indeed been supported, the unintended consequence in most areas has seen an above average hike in prices driven by the demand that Help to Buy has created.

First rung homes are supposed to be more affordable, but we’ve seen the average price paid by a first-time buyer accelerate to similar levels as the wider market. Not only has this made it more difficult for today’s aspirational homeowner, but perhaps some tax-payers might question the wisdom of using their money to fuel house prices even further?”

7
Oct 19

Halifax has unveiled ‘Home by Halifax’, a new space on Cannon Street in London, dedicated to helping people buy a home.

The new is thought to be the first its kind in the UK and will bring together experts in home buying, interactive experiences and special events.

Aimed at everyone, from those just starting to think about saving to buy a property to those thinking about home insurance and other homeowner essentials. Extended opening hours will ensure expert staff are on hand to help walk people through the process and provide the best support possible at a time that’s convenient to London’s busy workers.

Located in the heart of London at 100 Cannon Street, Home by Halifax’ visitors will be greeted by a 55” interactive screen which breaks down the process of buying a home into helpful stages.

Free events open to everyone will also be a regular feature, focusing on a range of topics, including home buying and events with industry experts, and charity partners.

Yoga classes will also be offered free of charge to encourage mental and physical health and combat stress.

All events and seminars will be held in the morning, at lunch and after popular working hours. A list of current events can be found here.

Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax says: “We’ve built a different kind of space unlike any other dedicated to home buying, as we know the challenges people can face when attempting to set foot or move up the housing ladder.

Home by Halifax is designed to make the process simple, with extended opening hours and specially trained staff on hand to help people make the most of their visit at a time that’s convenient. Our free events also recognise that buying a home can be stressful, and that’s why we think it’s important to offer something different, focussed on health and wellbeing.”

Quality food and barista crafted coffee will also be available in Change Please coffee shop – a warm, informal space to chat, meet, work and learn. Run in partnership with social enterprise and award-winning local independent supplier Change Please, it empowers members of the local homeless community by offering opportunities to be trained as baristas.

Halifax recently launched the Family Boostmortgage to help first-time buyers without a deposit, where savings from parents or other family members can be used to provide security for 10% of the loan.

Staff will be on hand to discuss Family Boost, as well as a range of other products, with visitors from the 7th October. In addition, video links to further expert staff members will help customers make the most of their time in store on the rare occasion an adviser isn’t immediately on hand to help.

Home by Halifax will be open five days a week from 07:30 to 19:00 on Monday to Thursday, closing at 16:00 on a Friday.

3
Oct 19

As many of you may know, if you refer a client to us who places their home on the market with us, you qualify for £100 worth of vouchers for your shop of choice. One of our contractors, Andy Henderson, referred a client to us and we rented that property out very quickly. Andy asked us if we could donate the £100 to the Pilgrims Hospice which we totally agreed to do. Not only did we agree to do that but we also agreed to double it to £200! I contacted Rachael at the hospice and we agreed to split the vouchers so that they can use them as prizes in their up coming events to help raise even more funds for such an amazing cause.

We are pleased to say that from today, anyone who wishes to donate their vouchers to the Hospice, we will DOUBLE them every time. We enjoy supporting good local causes and we cant think of a better way to do that.

So, if you know anyone who is thinking of selling or renting out their property then just get them to contact us today and we will do the rest! We look forward to talking to you and assisting your recommendations!

9
Aug 19

Finding a home isn’t always easy and it’s important to take into consideration a number of factors such as budget, agents and negotiations. First time homebuyers looking to purchase an abode for the future can look to six savvy tips from conveyancing experts, JMP Solicitors.

Here’s a list of savvy tips for first time homebuyers:

1. Decide on a realistic budget

When purchasing a home, the deposit isn’t the only cost you’re going to need to cover. As well as the budget for a deposit, which will be around 5%-20% of the value of the home, there will be a number of initial fees such as the valuation fee and the surveyors fee, as well as the additional parties to pay such as the lender/broker fees (if first time buyer no estate agents fees) and the conveyancer. There is then the fees associated with the mortgage including the booking fee, arrangement fee and mortgage valuation fee. We recommend saving an additional £2,500 on top of your deposit to cover the costs. Please be aware that if more than one person is purchasing and they have already owned a property then stamp duty will be payable even though the other person has never owned a property anywhere in the world before.

2. Find a suitable conveyancer

It’s important to find an experienced conveyancer who will provide a thorough service when you’re buying a home. Your conveyancer will be able to give legal advice, handle contracts, undertake important searches, deal with the Land Registry, and the transfer of funds. Many estate agents will recommend a conveyancer, but it’s important to undertake your own research to make sure you find the right one for your particular purchase. Ensure that they are certified by either the Solicitors Regulatory Authority or Council for Licensed Conveyancers or the Law Society.

3. Take extra care in filling out paperwork

Miswritten paperwork is a common cause of delays when it comes to buying your home. It is important to ensure you read all contracts in full detail and fill in all paperwork openly and honestly. Any incorrect paperwork could lead to a great deal of legal problems in the future. Taking a little extra caution when filling in forms and applications can save you a great deal of time in the long run.

4. Be patient

While you may be itching to get into your new home, it is vital that all aspects of the process are dealt with thoroughly. Sometimes the conveyancing process may involve a lot of paperwork and additional enquiries, but it is important to understand that all the legal aspects are being done in your best interest as a first-time home buyer. Aside from conveyancing, the mortgage arrangements, estate agent negotiations and the actual moving in process will also take some time.

5. Uphold good communication with your agents

Ensure you are always kept in the loop with the seller, your estate agent, mortgage advisor and conveyancer. When you have decided on a property, you want the process to be as smooth and hassle free as possible, so don’t be afraid to keep pestering your agents. In the same way, make sure to keep your phone on at all times in case you need to be informed of any major turning points. Additionally, keep up to date with your emails, including checking your junk, as conveyancers will often send over documents via email.

6. Ensure you are fully satisfied with your final arrangements and negotiations

For first time home buyers, you may go into a contract not fully understanding what is in your best interest. Your conveyancer will be able to provide you with the best possible advice to ensure you get the best deal for the short and long term. If at any time you are not satisfied with your agreements, it is vital you speak with your conveyancer and they will endeavour to resolve any issues before it is too late.

8
Jul 19

Amazing home at a new and amazing price!

This great family home is situated in a prime position within a sought after development enjoying privacy and seclusion siding onto Godinton Park gardens. The current owners have lived here from new for the last 18 years and it's easy to see why. Call or Email us to today to arrange your priority viewing!

https://www.evolutionproperties.co.uk/property-search~action=detail,pid=1117

29
May 19

New data released by Zoopla has revealed that cautious buyers are negotiating harder on price resulting in a 3.9% widening in the difference between asking and selling prices.

According to the report from Zoopla, the gap between average asking prices to average achieved prices has increased in Q1 2019 across nearly all (16) cities, compared to 2018.

With the exclusion of Leicester, these discounts are increasing off a relatively low base and indicate that buyers are not prepared to keep pace with asking price growth. Different market dynamics in Edinburgh and Glasgow mean property sells for more than the asking price but the scale of the premium has declined in 2019Q1 compared to 2018.

Regional breakdown

The current UK average for the gap between asking price to selling price is 3.9%, up from 3.3% in 2018. Six cities registered average discounts above the current national average, with Aberdeen registering the highest discounts at over 8%. This is consistent with the decrease in demand for housing in the city due to the collapse in the oil price since 2015. Newcastle and Liverpool also registered higher gaps than the national average although the level of discounts has narrowed over the last 3 years as underlying market conditions improve.

Only two cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh, registered average sale prices as higher than average asking prices. Typically, properties in Edinburgh sell for 6.3% more than their listing price, while stock in Glasgow shifts for 5.2% above asking price.

Discounts increase in London

In London, which has led the slowdown in house prices, the average differential between asking price and selling price has increased from 4.8% in 2018 to 5.7% today. Price falls have been concentrated in inner London areas where average discounts are highest at 7.6%. In some central areas, such as Kensington & Chelsea, buyers continue to achieve double digit discounts. In outer London and the commuter locations, the gap is lower, averaging 5.1%.

House price growth softens

The level of house price growth across UK cities continues to slow, following the national trend. UK Cities registered the smallest spread in annual growth since 1996 according to the latest Zoopla UK Cities House Price Index. Price growth ranged from +5.1% in Glasgow, which is the lowest growth rate of the best performing city since 2012, to -0.5% in London. Overall, house prices increased by 1.7% over the 12 months to April 2019.

The latest index results reveal a softening in the annual rate of growth across most cities, with this slowdown now extending beyond southern England. Manchester, Nottingham and Leicester are among the regional cities registering a slowdown in price growth. The deceleration in house prices is still most marked in southern England with Bristol, Portsmouth, Bournemouth and Southampton all registering price inflation at or below 2.5%.

Richard Donnell, Research and Insight Director at Zoopla, comments: “This latest index report reveals a continued moderation in the rate of UK city house price growth as the slowdown extends beyond south eastern England. It has been twelve years since the fastest growing city was recording price inflation of 5.1%.

Sellers are having to accept slightly higher discounts to the asking price in order to achieve a sale. This is a natural response to weaker market conditions and buyers are starting to negotiate harder on price. The increase between asking and selling price is off a low base. Correctly priced homes continue to sell within a reasonable period and setting the asking price at the right level remains a key decision to agree with your agent.

Market conditions remain weak in London and the level of discounting continues to increase. We expect the price adjustment in London to continue although we do expect sales volumes to start to tick upwards. The slowdown in the rate of price growth is set to extend further across the south of England while we expect continued above average house price growth in regional cities where employment levels continues to grow, and affordability is attractive.”

23
May 19

According to the latest research from regulated property buyer, Good Move, people would rather buy a house where a murder has taken place than one that has signs of damp or cracks in the walls.

The firm's analysis revealed that nearly three in five (58%) would be put off if there had previously been a murder at a property, and more than two in five (44%) would reject a house if there had been reports of paranormal activity. However, Brits are far more concerned by more trivial faults, with a shared garden (73%), signs of damp (75%) or cracks (73%) and having a short leasehold remaining (76%) all featuring higher on the list of unwanted features.

The biggest red flag for those looking to buy is noisy neighbours, with a huge 85% of people saying this would put them off purchasing a property.

The top 10 things that would put house buyers off are:

1. Noisy neighbours (85%)
2. Short leasehold remaining (76%)
3. Signs of damp (75%)
4. A shared garden (73%)
= Signs of cracks on the walls (73%)
6. Front Door opening onto a main road (70%)
7. No parking (69%)
8. No garden (66%)
9. Smelly (63%)
10. Busy or high-speed roads nearby (62%)

Although over 40% of UK housebuyers say they would not be put off by the fact that a murder had taken place onsite, the survey also found that, if this were the case, they would expect the property to be reduced by almost a third (32%) of its market value.

Similarly, buyers would also expect a 30% reduction if there had been reports of paranormal activity.

The top five features that buyers would expect the biggest discounts for are:

1. Existing tenants (34%)
2. Murder (32%)
3. Paranormal Activity (30%)
4. Pets left behind in the property (26%)
5. Being next door to a cemetery (25%)

Ross Counsell, director at Good Move, said: “Although everyone has a different idea of the perfect home, it’s clear from our survey that certain things will put off most people. On the bright side, some of these put-offs are easy to address, so if you are looking to sell your house, make sure you sort out small things like cracks and damp.

These little actions can make a huge difference and help you to make your house more attractive to buyers.”

6
May 19

Evolution Properties are so excited about this superb 4 bedroom detached family home that is positioned in the sought after Sandyhurst Lane area of Ashford. There are field views to the front, plenty of parking and so much space throughout. We will be adding full details to our website soon but dont wait, if you think this could be for you, contact us today!