5 things first-time buyers need to know

First Time Buyers

SNIPPET How to access the financial help you need to get on the property ladder 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 [...]

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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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UK student property investment continuing to post strong figures

student uk property

A new report from CBRE has shown that investment levels in the UK’s student property market are nearly double that seen in the whole of 2014, in the space of only six months. The Company’s latest whitepaper looked at the amount of investment in the sector over the first six months of 2015. It said that between January and June, some £3.98 billion of money was spent in the student property market. This is almost double what was spent in 2014, when investment levels reached £2.9 billion. The CBRE report suggested that there is a lack of good quality accommodation for students in the UK and, with rising student numbers, the demand is set to continue to rise. “So long as demand outstrips supply, upward pressure on both rents and capital values will continue to make the market an attractive proposition for investors, and we don’t expect the market to come off the boil for some time,” said Jo Winchester, head of student housing advisory at CBRE. Student property offers investors an alternative way to invest in the UK’s property market. The asset class generally offers investors a higher level of rental returns when compared to more traditional buy to lets. “Although there are differences between residential and student accommodation operational models, some larger student housing operators and investors in the sector are beginning to explore build to let development and investing in the private rented sector. As this happens, it is possible that the operational models could become more closely aligned,” Ms Winchester said. 2015 UK Student Property Investment Guide Individual investors, who are looking to purchase property in the student accommodation market, may wish to use a property consultancy like Experience Invest. Experience Invest is one of the UK’s largest providers of student property investments. Opportunities are tailored to generate [...]

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Simplifying the Private House Sales Process

sold sign

Many people have found that over recent years selling their house has become increasingly difficult. The problems that have been experienced in the housing market, such as many people being left trapped in negative equity after the housing bubble burst, have left some struggling to sell house fast . Others have found that securing a sale has become harder because of the difficulties that potential buyers are having when it comes to getting a mortgage. This combination of issues in the housing market has left many in the lurch when it comes to selling up and moving on. Selling through an estate agent Those who do decide to sell their properties often go through estate agents, and this is something that you do at your own risk as you could find that you face a number of issues. Firstly, an estate agent cannot possibly guarantee that your property will be sold speedily or even that it will be sold at all. In many cases, properties are left festering on the market for months or even years, leaving you lumbered with mortgage repayments while you wait and hope that a buyer will be found. Although you may have had your house valued for a certain amount by the estate agent before putting it on the market, you will also find that the longer it stays on the market the more likely you are to have to drop the price. So, despite any valuation that you are given you could end up having to take a huge financial hit alongside the many months or years of waiting around for a sale. During that period you may also have spent a fortune on doing up your property as well as on mortgage payments, which means that your financial losses are even greater. With this in mind, [...]

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Things you need to do before you moving out


Moving out is a stressful activity, which requires a lot of preparation and effort. Here there are some useful tips not to forget when relocating to a new place, whether it is a small removal or a large house removal. Have a moving checklist in front of you featuring the next few essential things to do from four to two weeks before moving home. 1. Start packing and sorting your clothes and items in the kitchens and bedrooms, which you do not use on a regular basis. Put aside spare towels and bed linen, spare pillows for guests and etc. So that you pack all these things away now, and later, three or two days before moving you will only need to pack away a few things you have been using to survive for the past days. Clean things out of your garage and pack items which you are planning to remove to a new home. 2. Remember to let companies such as broadband you are using, telephone line, utility services know that you are changing your address. Tell them your new address together with the date of you moving out. This is essential, so that the electricity, gas and water bills are not coming to your card for your name after you have moved out of the property. 3. When you are moving house, you might be ordering man in a van for a moving services to another town. In this case you might lose your right to vote. Make sure you notify the authorities about your move, so that in the future you are able to attend elections. 4. Make sure you have checked how late you are able to notify the landline and broadband suppliers before your move. Some of them prefer to be notified a month [...]

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What 80 Million Means in the UK vs. the US


A Tale of Two Mansions: What 80 Million Means in the UK vs. the US Last month, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim put his impressive townhouse at 1009 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on the market. His asking price? $80 million. If he makes the sale, the property, also known as the Duke-Semans Mansion, would be the most expensive townhouse in New York City. In an equally expensive city across the pond is another impressive mansion. The most expensive terraced house in the UK is currently One Cornwall Terrace: the mansion sold for a record breaking £80 million when it was purchased by property developer Marcus Cooper in March 2013. So what can 80 million buy you in each country? Here’s a comparison of the two homes. History It should come as no surprise that these mansions come steeped in history. The Duke-Semans Mansion was purchased in 1901 shortly after completion by Benjamin N. Duke, former chairman of the American Tobacco Company. That’s where it gets its second alter ego: ‘the Benjamin N. Duke House.’ It remained in the Duke family until 2006, when it was sold for $40 million by real estate mogul Tamir Sapir. It changed owners again in 2010, when the current owner Carlos Slim paid $44 million. Over the years, it has gained significant value: it became an official New York City Landmark in 1974, underwent restoration in 1985 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. One Cornwall Terrace has an equally – if not more intriguing – history. From 1955 to the mid ‘70s, this site was home to the New Zealand High Commissioner. In 1975, squatters transformed it into a temple for religious groups the Rainbow People and the Divine Light Mission. After they were evicted, the building changed hands several [...]

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Common Central Heating Problems and How to Fix Them

common central heating problems

How Can I Protect Home against Central Heating Issues? Central heating problems often first come to light during September and October, when systems are switched on for the first time after the warmer months of the year have passed. Homeowners can get earlier warning of any issues arising by turning on the heating for an hour or so at various intervals throughout the warmer seasons to check that the system is working efficiently. How Do I Bleed the System? If you are turning the system on after a long break from using it and you know your system not to be in the greatest of health, then it’s advisable to bleed the radiators to clear out any air that could be preventing hot water from reaching them. Before you start, make sure your central heating is off, then locate the bleed valve on each radiator and work your way around the system, protecting the area surrounding them by having an old cloth on hand and using trays to collect excess water. Remember to retighten the valve before you turn the heating on to test whether or not it has worked successfully. It’s worth noting that even if the system heats up properly after bleeding, this kind of behaviour is a sign of an underlying problem that should be addressed as soon as possible by a heating engineer. How Do I know if there is A Lack of Pressure in the System? When a pressurised modern combination boiler system loses pressure, the boiler will not fire. If the system loses pressure, add water via the boiler filling loop until the pressure gauge is at the recommended level for the boiler. This can be found in the manual provided with the boiler or online via the manufacturer’s website. Why is there is [...]

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Creative Londoner Lured To Walthamstow

Chobham Manor

Despite owning a home with a friend and selling her share, Emma Cohen found herself overwhelmed by London’s fast pace and competitive property market. Emma came to the decision, like a number of Londoners, that Shared Ownership was the best option for her. House prices in Walthamstow have risen by 22.3% in just one year1, further adding to the London wide housing struggle for locals like Emma. At The Grangeway development, Emma was able to purchase a 35% share of the two bedroom apartment, at £126,000 and maintain her similar monthly outgoings of around £1,000, which include service charge and mortgage repayments. Emma comments on the reasoning behind her purchase; “I registered with L&Q as my friends had bought through them and were very happy with their service. They were also building quite a lot of developments in the areas that I wanted to live in. I soon realised that I was going to get a lot more ‘bang for my shared ownership buck’ than on the open market. It made it possible to live in the exact area that I wanted for a price that I could afford.” Quickly becoming an internationally recognised area for street art and crafts, Walthamstow also boasts a cosmopolitan community with a range of great restaurants and bars. These offerings were a large selling point for Emma; “This part of Walthamstow is full of artists and crafts people and I  recently found a Saturday class close by to help me build my very own bookcase from scratch! There is great mix of cultures too and you can get food from all over the world…I love the market which caters for everyone from everywhere”. Not forgetting the access to open spaces and influence of cultures; “The Lea Nature Reserve is close by, as is Epping [...]

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5 Decorating Tips Every New Homeowner Should Know


Starting afresh at a new home is something that most adults remember fondly. Finally acquiring a place that is truly yours, a place where you can potter, mosey and decorate to your heart’s desire, free from the dictums of landlords, is a wonderfully liberating moment. Unfortunately though, with the deposit and mortgage payments looming, many first-timers may find that their coffers are rather empty, meaning putting one’s stamp on a home can be a rather difficult task. To help, we’ve assembled five tips that will help hugely – enjoy! Buy Online Although the idea of purchasing your home wares and furnishings from local retailers might seem easy, prices on the high street are often far higher than they would be if one was to buy those very same products from an online store. Whether you’re looking for a headboard or mattress, sites such as Bedstar feature all of the large, first-hand purchases you’ll likely require, at a drastically low price! Buy Second-Hand For the newfound homeowner, second hand furniture stores and charity shops are a godsend when it comes to finding cheap, quality furniture. You might be thinking that such furnishings would be of lower quality or style than new stock, but some true finds can be sought at second hand stores, finds that you’ll truly pat yourself on the back for finding. Paint Not Paper Forget costly wallpaper, paint is the way forward for first timers. Even quality paint pots can be picked up for low prices, and when you come to the point of re-decoration years or months down the line, you won’t have to spend an eternity prizing wallpaper off of the walls! Accent Walls If you want to give a room an extra splash of colour in order to boost the aesthetics of a space, think about painting one wall [...]

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What to look for in a Property Investment with our handy Due Diligence Checklist


Before anybody puts money down on a new property investment there are a number of factors to take into account to ensure that the investment will be a profitable one. Without due diligence (or put simply, doing your research!) there is an increased risk involved with property investment and there’s a chance you’ll get your fingers burnt! Here is our property investment due diligence checklist that we encourage all clients of CXGInvest to carry out before entering into a property deal: Check Past Prices: Checking the value of properties that have been sold in the area over the past few months and years will help you to identify the market value trends. You can also check the average rental value for property in the area to give you a clearer view of what sort of returns to inspect on your investment. You can check recent sale prices and average rental values here. Check the potential for growth: This is another important area to check before investing in any property, if there is very little potential for growth in the market then the investment may not seem as appealing as previously. On the flip side though, if the market growth is on the rise then it may be an ideal time to invest. Amenities in the local area: Another important aspect to identify is the number of local amenities in relation to the property, including location and quality of schools in the area. If there are an abundance of local amenities then this could well make the property more desirable and thus in term boost potential rental income and/or resale value. Transport Infrastructure: It is important to investigate what the transport links are like for the area in which you are thinking of investing as these can have an impact on the [...]

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