Why move to Brixton?


Word on the street is that Brixton will become London’s next property hot spot. Just south of the city and in Zone 2 at the end of the Victoria line, the popularity of the SW2 and SW9 postcodes is increasing. Young professionals attracted by Brixton’s ever-vibrant nightlife and families, who value the area’s Ofsted-ranked schools, are setting up home in the area because it offers an abundance of affordable properties. To gain a better insight into the value the homes in Brixton offer, click here to see how prices in nearby Battersea compare. Property choice in Brixton Brixton was a wealthy suburb until the beginning of the 20th century, which is why the area has a large number of large, period properties that are comparable to those found in upmarket Clapham, just a short stroll from Brixton. Many of these have now been converted into flats and sit comfortably with the new-build apartments that have appeared in recent years. However, there are still pockets of early Victorian family homes available, although most housing belongs to the late Victorian era. Modern-day Brixton is also home to several big housing estates, which offer first-time buyers a wide choice of affordable ex-local authority homes that are invariably a lot larger than more modern developments that sit between older properties, including 1920s terraced houses. Who lives in Brixton? Traditionally, Brixton has been home to London’s Afro-Caribbean population, not to mention a melting pot of various Asian and Middle Eastern communities, along with bohemians, poets, musicians, writers and artists. Today, they’re joined by an influx of young professionals, attracted by the diverse cultural experience and vibrant nightlife. Brixton has staying power, too. Many of those attracted here by its unconventionality, and the fact that it’s still within reach of first-time buyers with limited budgets, have ended up [...]

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Ten costs to consider when moving house


In the last decade the cost of moving home has risen by nearly 60%. The stark but not altogether surprising rise, up to nearly £12,000 from £7,475 in 2004, might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for many wannabe homeowners. According to research just under 40% of movers pay £5,000 more than they expected whenever they move, and for all the financial costs there are emotional and physical factors which accompany them. So there are multiple reasons that the initial cost of a home can be so punishing (as described in this Money Advice Service guide) – here’s a list of the main culprits. Smartening your own home If you’re moving home, and even if you’re leaving a rental property, you’ll want to get a good price for the former and get back your full deposit for the latter. That could mean decoration and repairs in multiple rooms, or even renting a skip to clear out gardens and clutter. Energy Performance Certificate Now mandatory before the home can even be placed on the market, an EPC gives an energy efficiency rating from A to G and recommendations on how to make a home even more efficient. Assessment and placement on the EPC register usually costs from £50 upwards, although prices vary. Deposit The deposit is the biggest expenditure, by far. The average cost of a first home is £209,000, and a 10% deposit is therefore around £21,000. The Guardian points out that it’s a far cry from 1969 when Baby Boomers could move into their first home for as little as £4,000 – no surprise then, that more than a third of all property wealth is owned by the over-65s. Stamp duty Skip this section if the home you’re purchasing costs less than £125,000. The stamp duty fee calculation was changed in the December 2014 Autumn [...]

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4 boroughs in London you may not have considered renting in


 London has a total of 32 boroughs – or 33 if you include the City – so you might be forgiven for overlooking some of them as places in which to rent a home. Here, we cover north, south, east and west by asking letting agents in Bromley , Hackney, Barnet and Ealing to provide us with some insight into their local areas and learn more about you might want to give more than a second glance. 1. Bromley Despite being the largest London borough by area, Bromley is home to just 300,000 residents because half of it is covered by the largest area of green space in the capital. With over 400 shops, a pedestrianised high street and two train stations, the town of Bromley attracts a mix of students, young professionals, families and people who have retired from work and the different styles of architecture reflect these diverse profiles. Bromley South is full of mostly modern purpose-built flats, Sundridge Park is where some of the most expensive houses are found and large, detached 1920s properties characterise Bickley. Bromley Old Town, close to Bromley North station, has a mix of Victorian cottages and larger houses, while Bromley Common has a mix of two and three-bedroom homes. Meanwhile, Trinity Village on the site of derelict playing fields on the corner of Crown Lane and Bromley Common is a development of 800 new homes, of which 264 are affordable. 2. Hackney Hackney is one of the capital’s most rapidly developing areas. Much of the borough maintains its inner-city character and in places like Dalston large housing estates now sit side-by-side with gated developments. East London estate agents point to massive regeneration is in evidence across the whole of the borough, from the magnificently refurbished Hackney Empire, Kings Hall leisure centre, St John at Hackney Church and churchyard regeneration to [...]

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5 Crucial Things You Need To Do Before Renting Out Your House


Renting out your property can be a great way to make a profit or bide you some time while the property market picks up. If you are considering letting your property then there are a few issues that you will need to confront. As a landlord, you have certain laws and responsibilities to abide by, so with that in mind, here are 5 crucial things that you need to do before renting out your home. Appearance is everything Before you let out your property, it’s important to ensure that all aspects of the house meet standard requirements. You need to make sure that both the interior and exterior is in the best condition possible. For example, spruce up the front and back garden by repairing anything that needs to be fixed, remove any weeds and trim any bushes or hedges. Make any repairs to the interior of the property, such as electrics, leaking taps, minor cosmetic work and any dampness. The house should be clean and in a suitable condition for tenants to reside in. Know the law As a landlord, you have specific legal obligations to fulfil. Your property must meet particular safety standards when it comes to health and safety. If you don’t comply with this legislation then severe fines or prison terms can be dealt. Therefore, it’s extremely important that this is taken care of before you put your property on the rental market. All gas and electrical appliances must be checked before renting out your home. Gas related appliances should be checked at least once every 12 months and records of these checks should be kept. Before renting your property, a qualified gas engineer should service your appliances to award you with a Gas Safe certificate. You must then give this report to your tenants, as [...]

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House Prices Soar to Strongest Levels in a Year


The average house price in England and Wales witnessed a rise of almost £2,000 during the month of August alone, according to the latest publication from the LSL property index. Prices rose by as much as £1,900 or 0.7%, in stark contrast to July’s figures, which now brings the average price of a property to its eighth consecutive highest level this year, reaching £282,816. The LSL property index data also revealed average prices shot up by as much as 4.1%, with East Angelia witnessing the largest regional surge of 5.9% in July, widely resulting from a distinct shortage of properties entering the market. With this being said, sales have dropped within a month by 14% in August and now fall behind 2013 levels. The most vibrant sales activity was in the North of England which saw purchases spike by 3% annually. August is the first time in 2015 where sales have dipped below their equivalent month in 2013. It is worth noting that monthly house prices during the course of 2015 have had difficulty achieving an increase over 0.5%, so these latest figures demonstrate a welcomed boost for the industry. With the numbers of individuals looking to sell their property during summer in short supply, buyers are finding themselves in fierce competition for new home purchases . To add to this, average house prices have soared by as much as £11,225 where all 10 regions in England and Wales are displaying year on year house price increases. The only region to suffer a yearly annual decline in property values was Wales back in July 2013. The notable slump in sales is not attributed to a lack of demand, but rather insufficient supply in the housing market. With less properties being driven onto the market, competition amongst prospective buyers is escalating price growth and [...]

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Flexible Lending Options for Property Developers and Investors


Financing options for property developers and investors explained… Getting loans from mainstream lenders has become a sticking point for developers and investors, which is causing many to shift towards alternative funding options for their ventures. This new frontier in lending appears to be caused by the growing demand for more negotiable terms regarding interest and timeframes. Coupled with the rising numbers of developers including self builders, the shift is making for an increasingly affluent marketplace. From crowd funding to bridging and mezzanine finance, there are now more products readily available for developers and investors than ever before. So, the challenging question is no longer ‘where can I borrow from?’ but ‘which form of borrowing is right for my project?’ Our infographic below provides an overview of some of the most common credit options that are now available to developers and investors, along with some of the benefits and drawbacks of each. Affirmative Finance helps property developers and investors to deliver a project to completion. When lending, we will ensure that you have a full understanding of the general & development finance process, and will provide information on all terminology and answer any questions that you might have along the way. To find out how our bridging and development loans work, call the Affirmative Finance team on 08701 123111 or fill out an  application .

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How to Survive the House Buying Process

housing buying

The house buying process explained With many hurdles to overcome when buying a property, the process can seem daunting to first time buyers starting out on their journey. Common factors that those entering into property ownership need to think about include the fees and costs involved, the funding options available to them and what legal support they need to obtain. Potential challenges and issues should also be considered at the very beginning, so that contingency plans can be put in place to allow the house buying process to run smoothly. Below is Affirmative Finance’s guide to surviving the house buying process. With information on how to handle the different stages and issues first time buyers are likely to encounter, including financing options, property chains, timescales and the various added costs involved in buying a home, the valuable information can give you a full understanding of what to expect so that the process can remain as straightforward as possible for you. Author Bio: Affirmative Finance provides home buyers, property investors and property developers with bridging and development funding in order to help secure, refurbish and develop property. When supplying funding, the team ensures that the process is fully understood, and provides information on  terminology where necessary. To find out more about this funding option, Affirmative Finance has produced a bridging loan whitepaper that fully explains how it works and what is involved.  

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Be your own estate agent


Studies have shown that the longer a property is on the market the less it will fetch overall. So in order to get the right price you need a quick sale. In the current climate, more and more people are resorting to D.I.Y versions of everything from self-builds to traditional house selling. Be your own estate agent and sell your house yourself. You could be the best person for the job, after all you live there. So first things first, take some pictures and not on your iPhone. Pictures: A study conducted by Redfin research in 2013 shows that using professional photographs sold houses for up to £10,000 more than amateur photos. So get a DSLR camera and take a photography course if you haven’t already. It may cost you in the short term, but it’ll be worth it. Photo sharpness is key in fetching above the asking price with the sharpest photos selling above list price 44% of the time compared to amateur photos only 9% of the time. Pictures are the first thing that online house hunters click on. It’s their first impression of your home and will immediately put you in their yes or no pile. Other things to think about are the time of day you take photos of the exterior of your home, usually dawn provides the best light. Be sure to capture both the ceilings and flooring in your photographs to project space. Price: The price has to be right. The price of a house is the number one reason a house does not sell quickly. Setting the correct asking price is tricky business, and the greater someone revises their initial asking price the lower they will sell for eventually. Lowering a house price shows potential buyers a weakness, and they immediately use that [...]

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5 things first-time buyers need to know

First Time Buyers

With the Help-to-Buy ISA launching on 1 December, the government is hoping that by giving up to £3000 to those saving for a new home, they’ll be able to incentivise more young people to get onto the property ladder. Although many of us may want to buy our first place, it can be difficult to know how much to save, where to find help and even how to apply for a mortgage. Knowing as much as possible about these processes can make buying a property a lot easier. How much will I need for a deposit? Before you can even set foot in an estate agent, you’ll need a deposit to put down on your house. Although most of us will pay for our properties with a mortgage, banks won’t lend you the full amount required to buy your chosen home anymore. Instead, you’ll need to save between 5% and 20% of the cost of the property you want to buy. So if you think you’ll be looking at places in the £150,000 range, you should save £7,500 at least. But if you save a higher percentage, you’ll have a better choice of mortgages and could end up with a cheaper rate. Affording the monthly repayments A mortgage functions in the same way as a loan, so you’ll be expected to make monthly repayments at a previously agreed rate. It’s a good idea to make sure you know how much you can realistically afford each month by creating a budget before you begin looking for a mortgage. But in addition to this, there are now strict affordability checks that all banks will carry out to ensure you’ll definitely be able to pay each month. As part of the application process, you’ll need to provide proof of income and evidence of [...]

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Pension Reform 2015: All you need to know about your pension pot


New pension reform, which was introduced to the UK in April 2015, has provided savers over the age of 55 with new financial freedoms. Some savers will spend their cash on some of life’s luxuries, some will invest, some will continue to save and some will simply do nothing. For those who are left confused about the options available to them, Experience Invest has compiled a helpful infographic that outlines the options available to investors. Free and impartial advice Money Marketing’s Head of News, Thomas Selby has created a series of informative articles for Experience Invest that explain the new pension freedoms. Simply visit Experience Invest’s website to access your free guide. Remember, the government’s free and impartial website is available to all. Savers looking to spend their pension pot are strongly advised to seek advice to ensure that they get the most out of their savings.

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