Posts filed under ‘Findaproperty blog archive’

Number one complaint of Generation Rent?

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.

Woman looks in estate agents window

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:

Gordon Hood1. 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.”

Jenny Kimmings3. 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.

Nicola Merry5. 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).

28.07.14 Rent 1

2. Make a life changing move to an adorable thatched cottage in Cornwall, yours for £345 a week.

28.07.14 Rent 2

3. Young professionals in Manchester will love this three bedroom warehouse flat in the fashionable Northern Quarter, on at £288 a week.

28.07.14 Rent 3

4. Or live in the centre of Liverpool in a lovely listed townhouse, available at £387 a week.

28.07.14 Rent 4

July 28, 2014 at 12:06 PM Leave a comment

Landlords’ profits reach four-year high at £20K a year

The cost of renting a home increased by 0.6 per cent during May as the returns made by investment landlords hit a four-year high, figures showed today.

Renting 3

The typical property in England and Wales cost £745 a month to rent in May, the highest level since December last year.

But despite the jump, rents have only risen by 1.1 per cent during the past year, compared with inflation of 1.5 per cent, as measured by the consumer prices index, according to LSL Property Services.

The group, which owns the UK’s largest lettings agent network, said it was the twelfth consecutive month in which annual rent rises had been below the rate of inflation.

In absolute terms, the cost of renting a home has risen by just £8 during the 12 months to the end of May.

David Newnes, director of estate agents Reeds Rains and Your Move, part of LSL Property Services, said: “Private renting is becoming cheaper in real terms. May’s latest sub-inflation rent rises will help over nine million tenants.

“To put that in context, this is more than a hundred times as many households as have benefited from Help to Buy in its initial stages so far.”

Landlords continued to make gross yields on a property of 5.1 per cent on average during May, unchanged from April.

But when house price growth was taken into account, along with void periods between tenants, total annual returns on a buy-to-let property soared to a four-year high of 12.2 per cent.

The figure was more than double the total return of 5.3 per cent recorded in the 12 months to May 2013.

As a result, the average landlord has seen a return of £20,133 in the past 12 months, with £8,107 coming from rent and £12,026 from capital appreciation.

Tenant arrears also improved during the month, with arrears standing at 7 per cent of all rent due, compared with 8.2 per cent a year ago.

Rents in seven out of 10 regions of England and Wales are now higher than they were a year ago.

The South West saw the fastest annual increase, with the typical monthly rent 3.9 per cent higher than it was in May last year at £657.

It was followed by the East Midlands, where rents have risen by 3.8 per cent in the past year to £575, and the North West, where they are now 2.3 per cent higher at £584.

But the annual rate at which rents in London are increasing has slowed down to 1 per cent, compared with a peak of 7.9 per cent in early 2013.

Despite this, London still remains the most expensive place to rent a home at an average of £1,124 a month.

Three regions of the country recorded rent falls during the past 12 months, with the cost of letting a home dropping by 3.6 per cent in the North East and by 2.3 per cent and 0.4 per cent in the East of England and West Midlands respectively.

 

June 20, 2014 at 7:00 AM Leave a comment

Which home improvement can add almost £55,000 to the value of your home?

Adding an extra bedroom is the best way to increase the value of your home, but carrying out the wrong ‘improvements’ could make your property worth less, research showed today.

03.04.14 New build

The buoyant housing market has boosted people’s confidence in property, with 42 per cent planning to carry out home improvements in the next six months in the hope of making their home worth more, according to Zoopla.

But while adding an extension or carrying out a loft conversion could boost the value of your home by up to a fifth, bodged DIY jobs could knock thousands off its value.

The home improvement that will have most impact on a property’s value is adding an extra double bedroom and bathroom through carrying out a loft conversion, according to Nationwide.

The group estimates that this improvement could add 21 per cent to the value of a typical home.

With the average home in England currently worth £259,745, a loft conversion could boost a property’s price by around £54,500.

Next on the list is adding an extra bedroom through building an extension, with this boosting the typical home’s price by 11 per cent or £28,600.

Putting in an extra bathroom typically adds 5 per cent or £13,000 to a property’s value, as does increasing the floor space by 10 per cent.

Robert Gardner Chief EconomistRobert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “Having more usable space is generally thought to be consistent with better quality accommodation and people are prepared to pay for it.

“Home improvements that increase floor area, such as an extension or loft conversion, remain a good way to add value.”

But the impact of adding an extra bedroom varies according to property type.

Nationwide estimates that turning a two-bedroom semi-detached property into a three-bedroom one will boost its value by 12 per cent, but adding an extra bedroom to a three bedroom detached home will only increase its value by around 9 per cent.

Nationwide thinks home improvements that increase a property’s energy efficiency will also have a growing impact on prices.

It points out that the number of homes that have an energy efficiency rating of A to D, the top four scores, has increased from 20 per cent to 65 per cent since 1996.

Gardner says, “With fuel costs continuing to rise and an increased emphasis on environmental sustainability, we expect households to become increasingly conscious about their energy use.”

Other improvements, such as interior design, a landscaped garden or a fitted kitchen can also boost the value of a property, but Gardner warned that these improvements were subjective and difficult to quantify.

He said: “While one designer’s makeover will add value for some buyers, the same design may detract from the price for others.

“Improvements finished to a higher standard will be more attractive than bodged jobs, but there is a trade off between the cost spent on refurbishment and the price someone else is prepared to pay for it.”

April 25, 2014 at 11:23 AM Leave a comment

Competitive mortgage deals will ‘not end’ under new lending rules

Tough new mortgage rules should not have an impact on the availability of competitive fixed rate loans, a mortgage trade body said today.

06.03.14 Mortgages

The tighter regulations, which come into force on April 26, require lenders to carry out a detailed assessment of borrowers’ ability to keep up with their loan before advancing them money.

The strong emphasis on affordability has sparked speculation that banks and building societies may scrap short-term fixed rate deals at low rates, as they focus on responsible, sustainable lending.

Under the new rules, known as the Mortgage Market Review, lenders will also be able to ask applicants for evidence on how much they spend on everything from food to childcare to debt repayments if they are concerned about affordability.

They will also carry out an interest rate ‘stress test’, to ensure borrowers can continue to meet their mortgage repayments even if the cost of borrowing rises.

But the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) today said there was nothing in the new rules that would lead to lenders pulling their fixed rate products or hiking the price of them.

BernardClarkeBernard Clarke CML communications manager, said: “There is a very strong attachment among consumers to two year fixes.

“They have proved extremely popular overtime and the mortgage market has a strong bias to consumer preference.

“There is nothing in the Mortgage Market Review that would bring them to an end.”

Just under nine out of 10 mortgages taken out during February were fixed rate deals, according to the CML.

The group attributed the strong preference for these loans to the fact that interest rates were likely to start rising sooner than previously expected on the back of the UK’s strengthening economy.

Only 6 per cent of borrowers opted for a tracker deal, which moves up and down in line with changes to the Bank of England Bank Rate, while just 2 per cent of homeowners took out a discounted rate.

Meanwhile, the Bank of England’s Trends in Lending report showed further improvements in the mortgage market during the early part of the year.

The Bank said mortgage approvals for house purchase by all UK lenders had continued to rise during the three months to the end of February.

It added that although approvals fell slightly in February, they remained “considerably higher” than for the same period in 2013.

At the same time, interest rates on two year fixed rate mortgages have remained broadly unchanged since the start of the year, despite an increase in two year swap rates, upon which the deals are based.

But the cost of five year deals has started to edge up, as lenders pass on some of their higher funding costs to consumers.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “The volume of mortgage lending continues to rise as more buyers take advantage of the cheap rates available to get on the housing ladder or move up it.

“Two year fixes were largely unchanged in the first quarter but five year fixes have started to edge up, partly as a result of higher swap rates which have doubled in the past year.

“However, there are still five year deals pegged at around 3 per cent for those with sizeable deposits, which is excellent value.”

He added that the new mortgage rules were likely to lead to a slowdown in mortgage processing while they “bedded in”, but once any glitches were ironed out, the mortgage market should continue to perform strongly for the rest of the year.

April 22, 2014 at 12:00 PM Leave a comment

Small properties for sale in London and the South Counties

Britain’s smallest £1m property offered less space than a London Underground Tube carriage, it was revealed last month. Zoopla looks at what other properties of a similar size are currently on the market to buy or rent.

tube_carriage

It hasn’t always been regarded as the most glamorous of places. But Walthamstow’s award winning restaurants, leafy village feel, and popular market mean it is has now arrived on the official wall of cool in terms of places to live.

And higher demand for accommodation in the area means higher prices.

A one bedroom loft conversion in the E17’s Queens Road is available to rent at £173 a week, the equivalent of almost £750 a month.

The accommodation consists of an open place kitchen and living room, a double bedroom and a new fully tiled shower room.

It is within easy walking distance of Walthanstow Central and Queens Road mainline states.

25.03.14 tiny House Tuesday 1

For those looking for something more central, a studio in West Kensington is available to rent for £325 a month.

Found just off the popular North End Road, the accommodation is fully furnished with a single bed, an open plane kitchenette and its own shower. The toilet is shared.

25.03.14 tiny House Tuesday 2  25.03.14 tiny House Tuesday 3

A waterside retreat in Kent is available for £60,000 and includes a double bedroom, shower room, kitchen and a spacious lounge.

The windows on three sides means this bespoke purpose built houseboat is flooded with light.

It is fully centrally heated and full finished, meaning that the new owner can move straight in.

Outside, there are terraces at either end of the boat and a ladder leading to a roof terrace.

25.03.14 tiny House Tuesday 4

 

March 25, 2014 at 3:16 PM Leave a comment

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