Posts tagged ‘property’
An eco-friendly property has many benefits, writes Morris Homes’ managing director Chris Lilley.
As energy prices continue to rise, finding a property that is energy efficient is moving higher up the list of priorities for buyers who want to minimise their monthly payments, writes Chris Lilley, managing director of Morris Homes.
In addition to wanting to reduce living costs, buyers are also becoming more socially aware of the impact that their choices are having on the environment. From choosing more eco-friendly cars to diligently recycling household waste, we’re all aware of the need to reduce our energy consumption.
The UK’s largest carbon village in Peterborough – Vista – was launched to help identify new solutions for building homes that are not only environmentally friendly, but are stylish and affordable for buyers. The development was recently named as the Best Low or Zero Carbon Initiative at the Housebuilder awards.
Inside, the properties at Vista look no different to any new home. They’re spacious, light, warm, comfortable, and designed around modern lifestyles.
However, under the skin of the properties is a range of energy-saving technology designed to reduce carbon emissions by 74 per cent compared to a similar sized property and help buyers save up to £310 per year on their energy bills (based on final As-Designed SAP calculations and British Gas energy prices in January 2013).
For example, every home has solar panels to generate electricity, a rainwater harvesting system to provide water for flushing toilets, and an advanced boiler that recovers and recycles waste heat.
The commitment to the environment continues outside of the properties, with a dedicated composting area, bicycle storage and recycling facilities installed at every property to encourage residents to live a more sustainable lifestyle. There are also 2.7 acres of public gardens and wetlands around the development to reduce the impact on the biodiversity of the site.
To help residents further reduce their carbon footprint every buyer also receives a £250 voucher to buy a bicycle, or a six-month bus pass.
All of these measures will also help towards the Government’s target of reducing carbon emissions from UK homes by 29 per cent by 2020.
Vista was launched last year, and the first buyers have now moved into their properties. Buyers have already told us that their energy bills to date have been dramatically reduced compared to their previous homes.
We’ve now moved on to the next phase of the site and have recently launched a selection of four-bedroom homes to encourage families to move to Vista for a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Homeowners are being urged by police and estate agents to watch out for the tell tale signs of neighbours converting their premises into cannabis farms.
It follows the latest farm to be discovered at an address in Tolworth, Surrey, which resulted in two arrests.
Police suggested homeowners may not know if a cannabis factory has been set up in a next door property. But they urged the public to look out for signs in a bid to tackle crime and public safety.
As well as being illegal, growing cannabis is dangerous to those living in neighbouring properties, they said. It can be a major fire hazard due to the lights, the electric fans and the tampered with electricity supply.
The properties are typically rented, but those growing the cannabis are unlikely to ever live at the address, the police warned.
Edward Foley, of estate agents Winkworth, said: “While we don’t get much of this in Wimbledon Village, I know for a fact that several cannabis farms have been found in recent years a short distance away in Merton Park, Wimbledon Chase and South Wimbledon. I sit on the Merton Park Police Ward Panel and I am always amazed that when discovered how much damage is done.
“Often the loft has been used as well with growbags full of earth packed up there with heat lamps and it can take thousands to put right. Some of the properties that I have been aware of have often been owned by landlords that have either not used an estate agent to let their property or been attracted to an agent offering lower than average fees to attract business. The landlords, thinking they are saving money, often end up with thousands of pounds of damage, weeks of inconvenience and of course loss of rental income. I would always recommend using an agent that is a member of ARLA and or NALS and that checks references for the tenants and don’t take shortcuts. Often the gangs behind the cannabis farms conduct other criminal activities from the address which could lead to further problems when you come to sell the property and will probably have implications on your credit history.
“Of course, if you see a property with black bin bags covering the windows from the inside call the local police and let them investigate. They often work with the energy suppliers to combat this and of course they can use the thermal imaging from the police helicopter to check if there is an abnormal amount of heat inside the house.”
Police urged homeowners to ask the following questions if they think a nearby property is being used to grow cannabis:
• Are the windows of the property permanently covered from the inside?
• Do people visit the property at unusual times of the day or night?
• Does no-one appear to be living at the property?
• Is there a vent protruding through the roof or a rear window?
• Is there a pungent smell coming from the premises?
• Are there compost bags or gardening equipment lying around outside?
• Is there a lot of noise coming from the equipment, such as cooling fans?
• Have a large number of pots and lights been moved into the premises at the same time?
• If in a terraced house, do shared walls appear wet to the touch?
• Are powerful lights being left on overnight?
If you suspect that a property is being used to grow cannabis, contact your Safer Neighbourhoods Team or by dialling 101. If you don’t want to speak directly to the police, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. Crimestoppers is an independent charity, and not part of the police.
With the arrival of a new season it is important to identify some key, yet simple changes to ensure your home is looking its best if you are considering selling this winter, writes Peter Everett, regional manager of estate agents Hamptons International.
When selling your home, first impressions really do count. Capturing both the attention and imagination of prospective purchasers in those first crucial moments should not be underestimated. Often buyers will have formed their initial opinion before stepping foot inside the front door, with this in mind it is important to consider both the property’s curb appeal together with the look and feel created inside.
Often prospective sellers will take special care in preening their property to perfection during spring and summer months. But the same attention should be given during the winter months. Interestingly, it is in these gloomier seasons when the smallest of changes to a property can make the most impact, making your home stand out as warm and welcoming against the bleak backdrop of the British winter.
My top 10 tips:
1. Make sure the entrance of your property is swept of leaves, and is snow and ice free.
2. Plant hardy plants in the garden that can withstand the colder winter months. Since winter plants are not particularly attractive in the summer months you may find it easier to use plant containers with winter flowers, berries and dramatic evergreen foliage.
3. Putting a seasonal wreath on the door can be immediately welcoming and can set the tone for the rest of the viewing.
4. It can be a nice touch to have a coat stand or free up some coat pegs at the front door for potential buyers to remove their coats when they come out of the cold and into your warm and welcoming home.
5. Make sure the heating is on for viewings, a suggested temperature is 21 degrees.
6. If you are lucky enough to have an open fire, make sure it is lit for viewings, fires are a great added asset to a property.
7. In the lead up to Christmas, decorate your home with tasteful decorations and pretty lighting to twinkle and sparkle throughout the festive season.
8. When possible light candles for evening appointments.
9. If any rooms need a fresh coat of paint you might want to consider warmer seasonal colours rather than neutral tones.
10. Our sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than any of our other senses and recognition of smell is immediate so make some mulled wine and infuse the house with the smell of Christmas.
See all properties for sale and to rent from Hamptons International
1. A beautiful yet spooky old rectory
2. From @faronsutaria – Simply beautiful
3. From @beadnallcopley – a 67 acre estate with a vintage car museum, now that’s unique
4. From @domusnovalondon – Loving this contemporary kitchen
5. From @JBEstateAgents – Believed to be the oldest property in Nottinghamshire!
6. From @TaylerFletcher – How about some timber cladding for a change
7. From @johndwoodandco – A charming converted watermill
8. From @FandCLakes – Life by the lakes
9. From @RichardMHHardie – Magnificent waterfront
10. Last but not least – fancy renting a property that was previously owned by Robbie Williams?
Property prices have soared in London, but there are still hotspots available for savvy buyers, according to estate agents.
If you’re looking for an affordable place to buy in London, you’d be forgiven for thinking it is virtually impossible.
Values in the capital have risen by more than £28,000 during the past month, which is more than the amount a typical worker earns in an entire year.
It means even if a buyer has a substantial deposit, an average wage will be insufficient to keep up with soaring house prices as lenders typically only lend three or four times a salary.
So what is the current value of an average home in London? It is now £495,813, up more than 6 per cent during the past year, according to figures published by Zoopla.
Much has been written about foreign buyers and investors driving London’s housing market, particularly in popular, central areas.
But there are still bargains to be found in the capital, according to estate agents.
Yolande Barnes, director of Savills residential research, explains: “If you want to spot where the next price areas in London are likely to be, look for places that are new, novel or next door or a combination of all three.
“By novel, I mean newly fashionable areas, usually pioneered by the ‘creative classes’ of various types, including artists, tech entrepreneurs and even financial creative.”
Yolande goes on to define ‘new’ areas as those seeing regeneration. “Locations surrounding good large development schemes usually see value uplift – provided the nature of the location changed as a result,” she says.
Examples include the Kings Cross development or infrastructure improvements, such as the East London line.
And she defines ‘next door’ as locations with much lower prices than their neighbouring areas, which have ‘a great propensity to rise than those in an homogenous price band’.
Sam Mitchell, regional managing director at estate agents Your Move, suggests buyers look beyond traditional transport hubs, saying: “The whole of London feels like a hotspot at the moment. The rush in demand from first time buyers means that anywhere near good public transport links are particularly in demand – for example Tooting, whereas those trading up tend to look for more leafy opportunities in places such as Twickenham.
“Those looking to try and find more value away from the traditional transport hubs have been buying in places like Crystal Palace which has seen a huge surge in demand.”
Property for sale in Crystal Palace:
Location: Downsview Road, Crystal Palace
Property: Five bedroom bungalow
Canning Town in East London is also increasingly popular among estate agents.
David Karrass, senior branch manager at Haart Plaistow, said: “Canary Wharf is about five minutes away and Liverpoool Street is about 20 minutes.
Nearby is the London Excel Centre, 02 Arena and Westfield Stratford City Centre.
“Added to the convenient location is the relative affordablity. There’s also lots to choose from – luxury apartments, Victorian conversions, Edwardian properties and modern houses.”
“Prices in Peckham have increased quite substantially and in the past year with many properties seeing increases in the region of 30 per cent,” he says. “Good transport links have certainly influenced the areas desirability and the addition of Peckham Rye and Queens Road stations to the East London Line extension has resulted in a change of demographic for the area. City professionals have realised the potential that Peckham offers with good quality property stock available and also good capital growth being seen.
“Good examples which illustrate the strength of the market this year are two homes, both on Sturdy Road, SE15. They both offered three bedrooms, roof terrace, garden and around 1,020 sq ft. One sold for £442,000 and the other for £555,000.
“Our branch has seen an increase in first time buyers of 70 per cent compared to the same time last year as it offers better value for money than its slightly pricier neighbours, Dulwich, Camberwell and Brixton. Prices in SE15 have, however, risen extremely quickly and so most first time buyers tend to be focused on the North Peckham area above Queens Road rather than the more affluent Peckham Rye. Increasingly, they are also considering Nunhead.”
Property for sale in Peckham:
Location: Commercial Way, Peckham, SE15
Property: Three bedroom freehold Victorian terrace
However, buyers ultimately need to purchase a property where they feel most comfortable living, suggest estate agents.
They advise buyers to make a final decision on what property – and area – they like, not because it will make them a lot of money.
Andrew Loveday, sales and marketing director of Countryside Properties, said: “There are not many people who are really happy to live somewhere they don’t want to be just because in a few years’ time it might appreciate quicker in value than a place they’d rather live.”