The hot, humid temperatures of late can be used to advantage if you are selling your home during the summer, explains Caroline Knight and Karin Hawkes.
The warm weather is a chance to show just how useful your garden can be. To convey the feeling that the garden acts like an extension to your property to create an outdoor seating area – even if you have absolutely no intention of dining outdoors yourself.
An ‘all-weather’ metal set can be purchased relatively inexpensively and you will be able to take it with you to your new home. Or a bench seat filled with comfortable cushions will offer the inviting possibility of a quiet read. Don’t forget a sunshade for the ultimate feeling of luxury as it will conjure up the illusion of rest and relaxation – something that most people feel is lacking in their busy lives.
Surround the patio with pots of aromatic herbs that could be used on the barbecue or within refreshing salads during this balmy time. If you have a vegetable patch, make sure it looks productive as it will give the impression of a healthy lifestyle and enjoyment generated from your outdoor room.
You could compare the preparation of your house and garden for sale with the art of dressing a shop window – you are suggesting many positive things with the use of colour, scent, props and the hint of endless possibilities that your home will offer to its new owners.
July and August are months in which to appreciate your garden to the full. Make sure that your prospective buyers notice all of its possibilities such as areas for seclusion, entertainment space, shade, sun, wildlife spotting opportunities and space for play. You are merely planting the seed of an idea – hopefully your buyers will make it blossom.
Why we like this bungalow garden in London’s Stanthorpe Road…
- The bungalow itself is quite unusual but it looks very well cared for, with baskets of cheerful flowers conveying the impression that this home is loved.
- The green foliage and pink blooms break up what could easily be a rather harsh facade.
- The rear garden has oodles of appeal, especially the brick wall boundary that makes it feel secluded and private.
- There is ample area for seating and despite the mature trees on the other side of the boundary the garden offers both sun and shade.
- The vegetable garden and sheds give the impression that this garden is useful and productive, conveying a ‘lifestyle’ that is happy and healthy.
Caroline Knight and Karin Hawkes are passionate about the beneficial impact that outdoor space can have on a property. Their design and maintenance service, Kerb Appeal South East, helps to form a missing link in the house sales process within Kent, Sussex and Surrey. They are on a mission to enable sellers to enhance their properties with the minimum of fuss and upheaval, thereby maximising the selling potential of any home.
Generation Rent is a pretty disgruntled bunch if a new survey is to be believed. More than half feel they have been ripped off by their landlord, with a failure to make repairs to their homes the number one gripe.
According to the study by loans company Ocean Finance, more than half (52 per cent) of 18 to 24 year olds currently rent, and 46 per cent of those aged 24 to 34 do the same. More than one in five (22 per cent) of those aged 35 to 44 are also in rented accommodation.
Half of all tenants in the UK feel a private sector landlord or letting agent has ripped them off with failure to get repairs done the top reason behind this feeling, new research shows.
Here is a seven point plan to reduce the stress of renting, so you can enjoy your Young Ones years to the full:
1. The internet is a brilliant way to research rental opportunities and get a good idea of what typical properties cost, but Gordon Hood, head of the lettings department at Knight Frank in Ascot, Surrey, recommends showing your face to local agents once you know what you are after. “It is great to meet the individual or couple when they come into the office, we can gleam a great deal more about their requirements and ensure we can find them the best possible property for them in the quickest possible time,” he said.
2. Use technology to help you. Rebecca Warren, lettings director at Chestertons in Hyde Park, said: “Once you know where you want to be Zoopla has a map search function that allows you to draw the desired areas and will show the availability within that area, you can then set up an alert so any new instructions are sent over immediately to you.”
3. Check out the small print when signing up for a house or flat. Jenny Kimmings, lettings manager of Hamptons International in Marlborough, says it is crucial to understand exactly what you are agreeing to. “Check any special conditions written into the tenancy agreement, for example a break clause if you have agreed one, or you will find yourself tied in when you don’t think you are,” she said. “Or perhaps the landlord has agreed to redecorate before you move in. Anything agreed verbally like that would need to be in the tenancy agreement.” It is also important to ask your agent what fees you are going to be charged – and if you will be charged again as and when you renew your lease.
4. Make sure your deposit is going to be held in a Government-approved tenancy deposit scheme, so the landlord can’t just keep it when you leave, and make sure a full and accurate inventory of the state of the property is made when you move on so you don’t get blamed for damage.
5. Although landlords can be frustrating Nicola Merry, lettings manager at Kay & Co says the best way to handle them is to be a model tenant they won’t want to lose – that way they are likely to try and keep you happy. That means paying rent on time, responding politely and quickly if they get in touch, and taking care of the property. It is always nice to meet with your new landlord before moving in, especially if they are they managing the property themselves,” she added. “It helps build a rapport especially if renting for the long term, which can be invaluable if problems arise during the tenancy.” “
6. If your problems are really severe and you suspect laws are being broken your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau or campaigning charity Shelter will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
7. Lack of space is a common gripe for renters. If your possessions are spilling out of control consider renting a self-storage space to stash your treasures until you have a place of your own. Make sure to shop around to get the best deal. Aussie Man and Van, for example, offers storage in London for £9.95 plus VAT per week for a 175 cubic ft space.
To let: Pick of the rentals…
1. Live in total James Bondesque luxury in this Knightsbridge pad, available for £50,000 a week (and no, this is not a typing error).
2. Make a life changing move to an adorable thatched cottage in Cornwall, yours for £345 a week.
3. Young professionals in Manchester will love this three bedroom warehouse flat in the fashionable Northern Quarter, on at £288 a week.
4. Or live in the centre of Liverpool in a lovely listed townhouse, available at £387 a week.
House price growth stalled during June as potential buyers adopted a more cautious approach, figures showed today.
The average cost of a home in England and Wales was unchanged during the month at £172,011, according to the Land Registry.
The annual rate at which house prices are rising also slowed to 6.4 per cent during the month, down from 6.7 per cent in May.
The slowdown in growth comes as separate research showed a steep fall in confidence among potential buyers in the face of high house prices and future interest rate hikes.
A balance of just 5 per cent of people thought it was a good time to buy a home at the end of the second quarter, down from 34 per cent in the previous three months, according to Halifax.
The group said the fall in confidence was the largest recorded since it started collecting the data in 2011.
Around 55 per cent of potential buyers said raising a deposit was the biggest barrier preventing them from getting on to the housing ladder, while 35 per cent sited high house prices and 18 per cent admitted they were worried about future interest rate rises.
But while buyers are now cautious, there was an increase in confidence among potential sellers, with a balance of 25 per cent thinking it was a good time to put a property on the market – the highest level ever recorded by the index.
Both groups also remained optimistic about future property price growth, with a balance of 66 per cent predicting further price rises.
The Land Registry data showed that London continued to enjoy the highest house price growth of 16.4 per cent year-on-year, but this was down from 17.8 per cent in May.
Growth was also strong in the East and South East at 7.8 per cent and 7.9 per cent respectively.
But on a monthly basis, house prices fell in seven regions, with Yorkshire and the Humber seeing the biggest drop of 1.3 per cent, while prices fell by 1 per cent in both the East Midlands and North East.
Even in London, which has been the main driving force for the market, prices edged ahead by just 0.1 per cent during June.
Evidence that the housing market is beginning to slow down naturally will help to further ease concerns that a property price bubble had been building up, particularly in London.
Strong price growth had caught the attention of policymakers and led to the Bank of England introducing measures to help calm the market.
But recent data has suggested some of the heat has started to come out of the market as more people put homes up for sale, helping to ease the supply shortage.
At the same time, potential buyers have become more cautious in the face of high house prices and speculation about when interest rates will start to rise.
Peter Rollings, chief executive of Marsh & Parsons, said:“After a frenetic start to the year, the pace of house price growth has slowed this quarter as the market stabilises and returns to more normal trading conditions.
“With more choice coming onto the market, sellers are able to find their next onward purchase and consider trading up.”
Despite suggestions that the market is slowing, a total of 1,028 homes worth more than £1m changed hands during April, the latest month for which Land Registry transaction data is available, the equivalent of 34 a day.
Recent strong house price growth has left the average UK home costing £260,311, according to Zoopla.
The cost of renting a home in the private sector edged ahead by just 1 per cent during the past year, Government figures showed today.
The increase means someone who was paying £500 a month in rent in June 2013, would now be paying £505, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Tenants in London saw the biggest increase during the 12 months, with their rents rising by 1.4 per cent.
At the other end of the scale, the cost of renting in the private sector rose by only 0.2 per cent in Wales during the same period, while in the North East and North West rents edged ahead by 0.3 per cent.
The pace at which rents rose in all regions of Great Britain was significantly below the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index, was stood at 1.9 per cent in June, meaning being a tenant is getting cheaper in real terms.
The low increase in the cost of renting a property is good news for potential first-time buyers saving for a deposit.
The small rise is also unlikely to bother many buy-to-let landlords, who are still benefitting from strong growth in property values and record low interest rates.
Recent research from lender BM Solutions showed that rental yields remained strong at an average of 6.2 per cent during the second quarter.
The highest yields were seen in the North West, North East, West Midlands and Wales, while the lowest were seen in Central London, where house prices are highest.
Around 35 per cent of landlords said they had increased their rents during the past year, with 26 per cent planning to hike them in the coming six months.
Meanwhile, financial information group Moneyfacts.co.uk said the number of different buy-to-let mortgages available had increased to a level not seen since 2008.
The group said landlords currently had a choice of 665 different products, 43 per cent more than were available in July last year.
The increased competition in the market has also driven the interest rates charged on the loans down to a record low.
The average cost of a fixed rate loan is now 4.17 per cent, while the typical rate charged on a variable mortgage is 4.03 per cent.
Sylvia Waycot, editor at Moneyfacts.co.uk, said:“Lender interest in the buy-to-let market may be fuelled by the knowledge that it falls outside of the recent Mortgage Market Review.
“This makes the process of granting any buy-to-let mortgage quicker and simpler as it is not subject to the new affordability criteria that is starting to clog up the mainstream mortgage market.”
Gwen’s home from the popular TV show Gavin and Stacey has gone on the market despite welcoming more than 13,000 fans through its front door.
The Barry property is famed for Gwen’s omelettes and feisty neighbour Doris, and is now one of the key stops on the Gavin and Stacey tour.
The agent’s Alex Easton said: “It also offers a potential business opportunity for someone wanting to continue the frequent tours but unlike the current owner, charge visitors.
“The two double bedroom house is deceptively spacious and includes a very pleasant, south facing courtyard with elevated views across the old docks and Barry Island.”
The property comes with an asking price of £125,000.
The current owners have decided to sell up and an open day is being held on August 2 between 10am and 1pm.
Homeowner Glenda Kenyon told the Daily Mirror: “Since the filming of Gavin and Stacey, I have welcomed over 13,000 visitors to the house including organised coach tours on a weekly basis.
“I will miss both the street and Barry, but having lived here for over 30 years, I feel it’s time for a change and plan to move to Swansea.”