When and why should you have a commercial property valuation?

Having a property valuation is seen by many as an inconvenience and an unnecessary expense when they are actually the cornerstone of most property transactions. Whether you are preparing to take on a commercial lease, intending to sell your property or simply complete annual company accounts, here are six situations where an accurate, current valuation can be an invaluable document to have. Calculating Stamp Duty If you are purchasing your commercial property outright for £150,000 or more, the Inland Revenue will require Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) to be paid. The exact amount of SDLT will depend on how much you actually pay, so having a valuation carried out before making an offer will help you make a more informed decision in regards to these extra expenses. Calculating end of lease repairs On the other hand, if you have chosen to lease your business premises, your landlord will inspect the...
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5 Tips Every new Landlord Should Follow

Investing in a buy-to-let property can, and likely will be, both an exciting and challenging time whilst you find your feet as a new landlord. Rental properties can be a great second source of income or even become your career if you feel passionately about property. However, the idea of being a landlord is often quite different to reality – tenants can be unpredictable, and things can go wrong with the property itself. Find out about the five key things to consider before becoming a landlord. Target the right tenants Before buying a property think about the kind of tenant you would like to target. Maybe you would like to rent to a commuting professional who will be looking for convenience of location above many other things; perhaps you want to rent multiple rooms in a single property (which will come with other challenges) or prefer families. Knowing your target...
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DIY vs Tradesmen: Property Improvements You Should and Shouldn’t Do

It is common practice amongst private property owners to seek out houses that require renovating before selling on for higher profit margins — or letting out for better monthly returns. The concept sees such popularity because, to put it simply, it works. Repairs and improvements take time, but the investment has the potential to reap serious rewards. An extreme example of this is a couple who bought a house for a pound, then spent months renovating the place, to receive a valuation of £60k. Obviously, you’ll be unlikely to see a percentage profit increase rivaling that property, which saw a rise in near 6,000,000%, however, there is plenty of money to be made. When it comes to actual property improvement, though, many get caught out thinking they can handle the entire job themselves. Some tasks that increase property value are easily done by the landlord, but others really should be...
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How to protect your family from asbestos exposure

Well known as a dangerous material, asbestos was banned completely from use in the UK in 1999, but it can still be found in many homes around the country. Whether you have just moved into a new house or you are about to carry out some renovations of your current property, there are plenty of reasons you might be thinking about asbestos on your property. So if you are concerned that your property might contain asbestos, what can you do about it? Here we look at what you can do to protect your family from being exposed to the health risks of asbestos exposure. Learn the most common places for asbestos in the home It is first important for you to understand where you are likely to find asbestos in a property. Some people believe, for example, that asbestos is only ever used as insulation and as such is likely...
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Tenant hoarder’ leaves landlord in a financial mess

Ex-social worker and professional landlord of 30 years, Leslie-Ann Franklin, is facing having to sell the rental property she lives next door to in March, Cambridgeshire, after a complex case involving an extreme hoarder has left her in financial ruin.  With her story due to be aired on this week’s ‘Bad Tenants Rogue Landlords’ (Thursday 3rd May, 8pm, Channel 5), Leslie feels the authorities and legal system let both her and her tenant down, and now she is fighting for a judicial review of her case to avoid paying £25,000 in legal fees, on top of the £30,000 she has already spent. Leslie-Ann purchased the 18th century two-bedroom cottage she lives next door to in 2014. Her elderly tenant and neighbour, who was rent-protected and already in situ, had lived in the property for over 30 years. Although Leslie knew that the property was untidy and needed some work, she...
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A Landlord's Guide to Gas Safety

As a landlord, you are responsible for the wellbeing of your tenants when it comes to gas safety on your property or properties. Every year around 25 people die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning and many more fall ill thanks to badly installed or faulty flues and gas appliances. According to the Gas Safe Register, a staggering 1.1 million gas jobs are completed by illegal gas fitters each year. Landlords must adhere to the requirements outlined in the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, which apply to accommodation with residential tenants under a licence or a lease as defined in the Regulations, including: Residential premises provided for rent by local authorities, co-operatives, housing associations, hostels or private sector landlords. Rooms let in private households, bedsit accommodation, hotels and B&B accommodation. Rented holiday accommodation such as holiday cottages, flats, caravans, holiday chalets and narrow boats on waterways. Duties...
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Is a swimming pool good for your property?

Owning a private swimming pool is a dream for many homeowners and there is no doubt that having your own pool can be fantastic for your quality of life. But if you are thinking of investing in a private pool it is worth thinking about whether it is right for your property. There are a number of different factors to think about rather than just the fact that it will be a lot of fun. Looking around at many of the top manufacturers, it is easy to see how the addition of a home swimming pool can be a fabulous thing. This ‘best pools for a small home’ post on Compass Pools is particularly helpful, but read on for more facts about how swimming pools can be good or bad for your property. Adding value In many cases, having a swimming pool installed can be a fantastic way to add...
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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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