Will you be able to rent out your property next year?

  Were you aware that from April 2018, your property will need to be a minimum EPC rating of E or above to be able to rent it to a tenant?  As a landlord, you are liable to pay a hefty fine if you do not adhere to the regulations.This could affect over 300,000 properties in the private rental sector.   Until 2020, it only applies to new lets but after that it will apply to all rented properties. There are rumours that some green deal initiatives will be coming soon, so keep an eye out for those.So, as a landlord what do you need to do now? Have a look at the EPC register to see what grade your property was rated. Click here to go to the register. Make sure it is less than 10 years old. EPC’s are only valid for 10 years, then you need to have...
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What property expenses are allowable to deduct against tax?

Here is another interesting question from one of our subscribers and one that is useful for every Landlord to know the answer to.When you work out your taxable rental profit you can deduct allowable expenses from your rental income. The expenses must be wholly and exclusively for the purposes of renting out the property. This means that if an expense wasn’t incurred for the purpose of your property rental you can’t offset the cost against the rental income.Here’s a list of allowable expenses and details of what is classed as capital expenditure.  You can’t deduct capital expenditure against your rental income, but you need to keep a record of this as you can offset it against Capital Gains tax when you sell the property. general maintenance and repairs to the property, but not improvements (such as replacing a laminate kitchen worktop with a granite worktop) Repairs such as: - Repairing water...
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Should you invest in North London property?

Property is undoubtedly one of the most solid and secure investments available. If you are in a positon to invest in London it has been the case for many years that house prices could only rise and rise, virtually guaranteeing a strong investment. But with Brexit on the horizon and prices here reaching all-time highs, this has left many people nervous about putting their money here. This is especially true for the most expensive and high-prestige areas of the city, in North London.So is now the right time for you to be investing in property in North London? Here we take a look at the current state of the property market and some of the issues that could affect a potential investment here over the next few years.Growth is slow in London – but it will still growIt is no secret that North London is one of the most expensive...
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What first-time buyers need to ensure they have in place when buying a new home

When buying your first property, it’s easy to get overwhelmed at the sheer amount of admin involved. From arranging mortgages to fishing out old pay slips, buying your first home can be stressful at best. We’ve put together the New Homeowner’s Checklist to help you make sure that you have everything ready to complete your purchase. Take a look at our guide below to discover more about what you need to have in place when buying your new home. Mortgage Your mortgage is probably the most important thing to have sorted in plenty of time before buying your new house. Do lots of homework to figure out how much you can borrow, and where the best deals are to take advantage of. A mortgage broker can be a great source of advice, and can help you navigate the process more easily.It’s a good idea to double check what size of...
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Will Winter Kill off Japanese Knotweed?

The autumn and winter months are a relief for people with Japanese knotweed on their property. It's a time of respite in the battle with this exotic plant that seemingly just cannot be killed off. But will it finally just shrivel up and die in the bitter cold of winter?Japanese knotweed certainly grows rapidly during the summer months, and if not tackled, it will soon take over entire gardens, homes and anything else in its way. Many property owners grow alarmed when they think they have got the better of this beast of a plant, only for it to shoot back up and expand like wildfire once more. Brought into the UK in the 1800s as an ornamental plant, due to its attractive, heart-shaped leaves, people soon grew tired of its wild-growing ways and threw their once-beloved plants out. Left to grow out of control, Japanese knotweed has gone on...
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Buying property in a Notting Hill Conservation Area

If you’re thinking of buying a property in London, you’ll find that many areas of historical or architectural interest are protected by designated Conservation Area status. If you’re looking to buy in the Notting Hill area, this neighbourhood falls under the jurisdiction of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC) which has a total of 38 individual Conservation Areas.Independent estate agents in Notting Hill should be your first port of call for specialist advice and guidance for buying residential property there. You’ll also need to know that the following Conservation Areas lie to the north of Kensington High Street: Avondale – Victorian terraced houses built between 1870-1895 Avondale Park Gardens – WW1 ‘Homes for Heroes’ artisan cottages around a garden square Colville – the Portobello Estate developed around 1860-1875 Holland Park – a large area around the Park, formed in 1981 Kensal Green Cemetery – 72 acres of well...
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A Guide to Buy-to-Let Mortgages

These days, it’s more important than ever to make 100% sure that you have thoroughly understood the numbers behind a buy to let property, particularly when it comes to your mortgage. With this in mind, here is a brief guide to buy to let mortgages.Buy to let mortgages work differently depending on whether or not you are a limited companyEven though lenders assess potential borrowers on the basis of the rental income they (expect to) receive from the property, in a worst-case scenario; they can make a claim against a private individual’s personal property. They can, however, only claim against the assets of a limited company rather than the property of the people who own the company and have to take this fact into consideration when deciding whether or not to do business with them.Landlords with more than three mortgaged properties must have their whole portfolio assessedThis regulation comes into...
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Are the Costs of Buying Investment Property in London Still Worthwhile?

The cost of buying property in London is famously high and compared to the rest of the UK, it always has been. However, as more people than ever before are now choosing to relocate out of the UK’s capital because they cannot afford to buy a property, it begs the question – is investing in property in London still a viable option?It depends where you want to investLondon is a big place, and like any other part of the country it has areas which are much more expensive to live than others. Due to developments made within different parts of the capital, some areas have become a much more of a lucrative investment than others. If you have the capital, the more popular areas such as Chelsea, Battersea and Mayfair are still very much worth investing in. However, you may also want to consider areas such as Nine Elms, Tooting,...
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Protecting yourself from property fraud

Property fraud is where fraudsters try to “steal” your property, most commonly by pretending to be you and selling or mortgaging your property without your knowledge. This is such a nightmare scenario as your property is your most valuable asset, which is why fraudsters target it.Properties that are more vulnerable to fraud are: Mortgage free properties Tenanted properties Empty properties If the owner lives overseas Where the owner has died and the property is held in trust Fraudster’s can attempt to acquire ownership by stealing an owner’s identity by using a forged document or impersonating the registered owner. Once they have raised money by mortgaging the property without the owner’s knowledge, they disappear without making repayments leaving the owner to deal with the consequences.You should register your property with the Land Registry if it isn’t already.  If you bought or remortgaged your property after 1998 then it should be registered,...
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What are the Best Ways of Selling Your Investment Property?

Buying an investment property is always done with profit in mind, and whilst rental income can contribute to this, the biggest pay out comes when you sell the property. So, how do you maximise what you can make?Estate AgentsEmploying an estate agent is traditionally the easiest way to find a buyer as these can help you get your property on the main websites whilst also conducting viewings on your behalf. They aim to achieve the highest possible price using a variety of methods.A typical estate agent should have a presence in the local area and a substantial knowledge of the locale. Search for a similar property to your own on the property websites using the ‘sold subject to contract’ filter to see if one particular agent dominates these sales. There are also third party review sites which can recommend agents in your areas. This can be particularly useful if you...
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The top 5 considerations for renting out your holiday home

Looking to rent out your holiday home? Then there are a few considerations you need to bear in mind. Know your market Ensure you know your likely tenant well. If you own property in a location with a high proportion of holiday homes, you’re likely to be familiar with the demographics of the regular holiday makers in the area. If not, then do your research. Once you know your market, you can tailor the property to meet their needs. If your holiday home is in a rural location that attracts lots of walkers, then ensure you have adequate heating, hot water and good laundry facilities, so when people come back from a day out in the fells, they have all they need to hand. Alternatively, if your likely tenants are families, then ensure you have a safe outside space for the children to play in, a kitchen well equipped to...
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House prices have flattened

May Summary In May 2017, the average price of a property was £220,713. The annual price change for a property was 5.8%, below the average of 4.7%. The monthly price change for a property in the UK was 0.5%. The monthly index figure for the UK, with January 2015 equalling 100, was 115.8. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor’s (RICS) conducted a survey for May 2017 reporting that price expectations remain moderately positive, but new buyer enquiries have decreased over the month. Statistics have shown that the number of seasonally adjusted property transactions completed in the UK with a value of £40,000 or above has increased by 13.4% since May 2016, however there was an unusually low number of transactions last year due to an introduction on higher tax rates for additional properties. Compared to the first month before this tax increase, April 2016, property transactions have fallen by 3.3% in...
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5 Perfect Paving and Driveway Solutions For Any Investment Property

When it comes to developing investment properties, it's just as important to focus on the outside of the house as it is to focus on everything within. Good first impressions are vital and if the paving and the driveway are bad or unappealing, people will be instantly turned off and much less likely to purchase or rent the property. With this in mind, here are 5 perfect paving and driveway solutions for any investment property. 1. Brick Patio A brick patio can provide a really nice, homely feel to a property. Usually, if you’re going to use bricks for the paving, you’ll use red bricks, but of course, it’s for you to decide what’s best for your individual property. Not only is a brick patio something which has quite a lot of aesthetic appeal, but it is also something which is rather durable, making it even more appealing. Plus, it’s...
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Slowing demand but expectations are positive

According to the recent Land Registry HPI: The average price of a property was £217,502. The annual price change for a property was 5.8%, below the average of 7.3%. The monthly price change for a property in the UK was 0.6%. The monthly index figure for the UK, with January 2015 equalling 100, was 114.1. Indicators suggested a slowing demand and continued tight supply. According to surveys, housing market activity has remained subdued and transaction volumes and enquiries are mostly unchanged from November 2016. Despite this, expectations are positive, but steady. New buyer enquiry figures, supported by the Bank of England, show that the volume of approvals for house purchases decreased by 5.6% compared to February 2016. The total number of seasonally adjusted property transactions completed in the UK with a value of £40,000 or above has also decreased by 1.9% compared to February 2016.House Price Changes Annual house price...
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A Solicitor's Guide to Conveyancing

“Barlow Robbins’ residential conveyancing solicitors are able to help with the stressful nature of residential property transactions. “ 
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Kerb appeal: choosing the perfect garage door for your property

  Are you building a new garage or replacing an existing garage door? If so, you’ll likely be thinking about what style will best suit your property. If you are simply thinking a garage door is a garage door and functionality is more important than style, think again. While functionality and durability are important factors when choosing a garage door, the aesthetics will make all the difference to the kerb appeal of your home. Your garage is an extension of your house so when it comes to style - it should be treated as such. Just as the front door to your home makes an important impression, so do the doors to your garage. Choose carefully and you’ll be adding style and value to your home. We know it sounds dramatic, but make the wrong choices when it comes to the colour, material and style of your garage doors and...
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Why it’s important that your building is energy efficient

  Whatever your business, if you manage a commercial property with over fifty square meters of floor space, you require an up to date energy performance certificate. Government legislation has made it completely inescapable as a business, and failing to meet these requirements can result in massive fines of thousands of pounds, which can be entirely crippling for smaller businesses. Making sure your business is energy efficient is hugely important too. With climate change all too obvious around us, knowing your business is doing its part, and is fully aware of its own energy efficiency and CO2 emissions is useful and necessary. As a commercial property owner, it can have its own host of benefits, making sure your property has a good EPC grade, with the more efficient, and therefore cheaper to run, properties being much more attractive for rental and sale. What is an Energy Performance Certificate? Energy performance...
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Landlord legal expenses explained

Every good landlord worth his or her salt will have considered the benefits of legal cover or insurance before letting their property to tenants or placing it in the hands of an agent. While nobody wants to think about the possibility of lengthy disputes, rising legal costs, and the threat of repossession, it is important for landlords to protect their property – and their own financial responsibilities – in case the worst happens. No matter how amicable things may seem in the beginning, it is vital that landlords protect their assets and rights with legal expenses cover. What does this involve? Landlord legal expenses: The FAQ Although it is not exhaustive, the following FAQ should help landlords to decide whether legal expenses cover is for them whilst providing some insight into what this kind of insurance offers. While grievances with tenants can be a nightmare, landlords also need to think...
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Considering Investing In Property In 2017? The Top 3 Things To Remember

Property was hit hard for investors in 2016, not just by the gloomy shadow of Brexit but by the changes made to the stamp duty tax in the spring. The new legislation added an extra three per cent to the stamp duty bills of those buying a second property from April 1st 2016. This has meant investors buying freehold properties in London at around £530,000 will not have to pay a massive £32,400 in stamp duty alone. The Government’s reason behind practically doubling Stamp Duty tax is that they are trying to make cheaper homes more accessible for first-time buyers rather than just investors and landlords. To work out where this leaves you as an investor, it’s best speaking with a professional such as Jason Harris at First Urban who will be able to advise you on your individual situation. It isn’t all bad news - 2016 saw properties reach...
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Buy-to-let Investing: How to Do It Right

  Over the years, buy-to-let investing has been one of the most promising in the UK real estate market in terms of its returns. Under this scheme, you will be buying a property, and in turn, you will be looking for tenants to have it rented. This is the perfect choice for people who are looking for long-term investments as returns will not be yielded within just a short span of time. Considering this form of investment? Keep on reading and learn about some of the things that should be done to be assured of making the right choice and to lessen the likelihood that you will have regrets in the future. Find the Right Timing When it comes to buy-to-let investing, timing is key. As a property investor, your goal is to buy a property at a time wherein the price is low. More so, you also have to...
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