Reasons Why Properties Fail to Sell

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If you’re preparing to put your beloved property up for sale, it’s important to remember that you’re now looking to appeal to the masses and not just yourself. While this could just mean a few straightforward adjustments to interior design specifications, it could also mean searching around tirelessly for the aspects of your home that are likely to put a potential buyer off. When it comes to unintentionally deterring a buyer, it can be really frustrating not knowing exactly what it is that’s causing your home to struggle in the market. We’re not necessarily referring to your questionable choice of decor either! In fact, it’s usually things that are hidden away or at least very difficult to notice for someone who has lived there for a long time. Here are five things you should look out for if you’re noticing a growing and consistent trend with potential buyers turning your property down at the last minute… Unclean Bathrooms Potential buyers are always eager to explore bathrooms as these are a highly cherished area of any property as far as homeowners are concerned. It may even be possible to sell a property based entirely on the opinion of the bathroom, or bathrooms if you’re lucky enough to have more than one. Unfortunately, bathrooms are also susceptible to mildew and dirt, so it’s vital that you check it over more than once just to be sure of its cleanliness. Spend plenty of time cleaning your bathroom if necessary, replacing used towels, toiletries and perhaps a new rug. Keep the air circulating and fresh by opening a window before potential buyers arrive. Not Enough Light If you have spent loads of time making everything as tidy as possible, don’t waste all that effort by forgetting to incorporate lighting into your home. It’s quite [...]

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Alternative assets emerge as top choice for investors

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The latest report from the International Property Federation (IPF) has revealed that investors are now more open to alternative forms of property investment as a way of diversifying their portfolio. The report entitled What Constitutes Real Estate for Investment Purposes? A Review of Alternative Assets, observes the rapid growth in non-traditional types of real estate market to 11% and suggests that alternatives are now considered as mainstream opportunities. The research shows that sub sectors such as residential and student property are now viewed as viable options for real estate investment, as a method to diversify a property portfolio. Rob Martin, director of research, Legal & General Property and chair of the IPF’s steering group that managed the report, commented: “We see the increasing allocation of institutional capital to real estate sectors currently considered alternative as a structural trend.” Diversifying portfolios In the past, larger portfolios were geared towards the commercial market and consisted of assets such as office units, retail spaces and industrial property. However, more investors and portfolio managers are taking steps towards more alternative assets such as buy-to-let property and student accommodation. The findings of the IPF report highlight the popularity of alternative assets. It shows that since 2003, investment in ‘other’ asset classes has increased from 4.2% to 11.3%. The report states that this rise was inevitable due to the potential scale of alternative asset classes: ‘The growth of alternative real estate areas is not surprising given the potential scale: the private residential sector in the UK alone has a value five times larger than the conventional commercial real estate market.’ Portfolio diversification is considered as an increasingly important for success, which has also helped to drive non-traditional asset classes into the mainstream. The report suggests diversification has become increasingly important no matter what the ‘main’ investment [...]

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UK asking prices boosted by buy-to-let investment

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Rightmove’s latest House Price Index has shown that investors purchasing property in the private rented sector has helped keep property prices strong in the UK. The report – which covers the largest monthly sample of residential property prices – revealed that the average asking price in the UK increased by 1% (£2,740) in March, when compared to February. Despite the rise, prices increased at a slightly slower rate than the 2.1% rise recorded between January and February.  On average, UK asking prices are only £30 lower for new listings than they were at their record high recorded in the summer of 2014. Rightmove suggests that the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s upcoming general election has caused a temporary slowdown in the real estate market, but added that the pension reform has meant that there are now more buy-to-let landlords looking to purchase property. “The distraction and uncertainty of an election typically force sellers to price more keenly, though this is often short-lived,” Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst commented. “Agents report a high level of interest from new landlords, or ‘granlords’, who are typically first time, retirement age, buy-to-let investors. With the highest returns for the lowest investment being at the lower end of the market, the first-time buyer property sector will be the greatest recipient of any increase in demand from investors with substantial pension pots. Unfortunately flats and terraced houses with two bedrooms or fewer are coming to the market in smaller numbers than the middle and upper tier sectors, so are the least prepared for an up-surge in demand,” Shipside added. Agents have reported a rise in enquiries ahead of new pension rules, which may drive a rise in prices at the lower end of the property market. When compared to the previous month, Rightmove’s latest [...]

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MyHomeGroup: first online ads

propertydivision.co.uk

When we sat down to look at creating our first online ads at the MyHomeGroup we really wanted to spotlight what we do well, providing a simple and easy-to-use service to sell or rent your home. When you think about it, it’s no more complicated that. We could have gone the usual route, spinning a fantasy about our special know-how, how our sales force has the edge over our competition or even employing a washed-out celebrity to wax lyrical about how amazing we are at what we do; but we know we don’t need to do this and it would be totally counter to our ethos of straight-up simplicity. So, we took things back to basics to communicate exactly what we deliver as a business: selling or renting your home with our easy-to-use online service saves you money and time. At SellMyHome and RentMyHome, we believe estate agents can offer a simple and transparent service that benefits buyer and seller, landlord and tenant. In the rental market, this means a one off fixed fee to find landlords a tenant. So instead of the tenant paying £1,000 a month and the landlord receiving £850, after the estate agents 15%, with a flat finding fee of £99 + VAT, the tenant pays £1,000 and the landlord receives £1,000. And that’s without the hundreds of pounds traditional estate agents charge on top for tenancy agreements and referencing and application fees.The landlord still gets their property listed on all major online sites, as well as a dedicated account manager with no distraction of having to hunt for commission or new business. The tenant, as well as paying no administration fees, can be sure that their rent is paying for the property they are living in and not an estate agent’s marketing budget. For us [...]

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Steps to take if your property survey is wrong

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What happens if your surveyor makes a mistake? When buying a residential property, many people rely on a surveyor’s report regarding the condition of the property. Find out what happens if the report that you receive is wrong and the steps that you can take if your surveyor has failed to recognise a problem with the property. What if you instructed the surveyor? If you instructed the surveyor and they missed something they should have spotted, this can result in all kinds of problems. You may have to fund unexpected work to the property, it may not be worth as much or (in extreme cases) it may be worthless and/or unmortgageable. You may be able to make a claim against the surveyor: If the surveyor has failed to act to the required standard, as this may mean that the surveyor is in breach of contract. The surveyor also would have owed you a duty of care under the common law. Their work had to be completed to the standard expected of a reasonably competent surveyor exercising reasonable care and skill. If the service provided did not reach this level, then the surveyor may be negligent. Surveyors can offer different reports at different costs, ranging from basic reports – which only highlight significant defects – to full structural surveys. Therefore, there may be defects that a full structural survey would highlight that a basic report would not. If something is missed by your surveyor, they may not necessarily be negligent or in breach of contract if it was not within the scope of your chosen survey to highlight the issue. What if you did not instruct the surveyor? If you didn’t instruct a surveyor but you did obtain a mortgage, it is likely that your mortgage lender obtained a survey. If [...]

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How Can Mortgage Brokers Offer A No-Broker-Fee Service?

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In recent years, we’ve seen the property market struggle following the boom of the early 2000’s, however things are finally starting to get back on track. Just last month, we saw a mortgage rates drop to an all time low, with it now possible to secure a fixed-rate mortgage for as low as 1.19%. This, to many, was unforeseen and the questions asked are how long will deals as good as this last. Of course, with the housing market getting itself back on track, the number of mortgage applications is soaring, with many choosing to arrange their mortgage through an independent broker, as opposed to dealing directly with the lenders. The reasoning? Not only does using a broker generally reduce the stress and hassle associated with applying for a mortgage but it’s generally the case that the advice given is invaluable. Most consumers have absolutely no idea as to the difference between tracker, fixed rate and the other mortgage options and, as such, using the services of a broker guarantees not only a great deal but also the right deal. Completely FREE Mortgage Advice It’s generally a case, within the financial industries at least, that advice is costly, however that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case with mortgage advice. The past few years has seen many mortgage brokers starting to offer a completely free service, offering you the same, expert advice, just without any attached cost. Of course, as a nation, we’re brought up to understand that nothing worth having is free and that if something is too good to be true, then it usually is. What, then, is the catch here, we hear you asking? You’ll be pleased to know, when it comes to free mortgage advice, that there’s absolutely no cost, however it’s important that you understand [...]

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Why First Time Buyers Should Use A Mortgage Broker

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Buying your first home is often a difficult time; you’ve got a relatively large deposit to save up, a suitable house to find and a mortgage to arrange and that’s all before you even put in an offer on a property. From then, you’ve got to arrange a survey, a solicitor and work through an often lengthy process before you get the keys to your new home. For many, it’s hard to get to grips with exactly what needs to be done when and that’s why, in recent years, it’s become increasingly popular to use the services of a mortgage broker to at least relieve some of the associated stress and hassle. Many, however, seem hesitant to use the services of a mortgage broker, claiming they’re happy to approach lenders directly and use the numerous comparison sites out there, however this generally doesn’t reduce the stress and only adds to it, given that borrowers rarely know which type of mortgage is best suited, in the long run, for them. As such, we recently spoke with Andrew from Mortgageforce Worcester to discuss the justification behind first time buyers using a mortgage broker, with our top three summary points being seen below: 1. It’s Often FREE Despite what many assume, it’s usually absolutely free to use the services of a mortgage broker and the invaluable, professional advice often won’t cost you a penny. Why is this, we hear you asking? Many mortgage brokers receive a referral fee from lenders, meaning they’re able to earn a living on this fee alone, being in a position to offer no-cost advice to borrowers, ensuring their fees aren’t eating into funds saved up for a deposit. This, of course, makes it a no-brainer to use an independent mortgage advisor. 2. You’ll Often Get A Better Deal It’s often [...]

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Achieve good return from real estate investment

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How can you define a good real estate investment? This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on the person and what they wanted to achieve with the investment. The usual definition is the achievement of profit in relation to the purchase of a property. This can be clarified as property being high risk and the return made on this property being higher than had you invested the capital elsewhere. Your net worth should increase proportionally to the amount of risk involved. It is worth noting that the investment amount should include all costs; purchase, fees, ongoing maintenance and closing costs. Equally the return is not just the selling price but the rent and any other income received from the property over the period of ownership. Obviously there are many elements which can either not be foreseen or cannot be controlled. These make it very difficult to be certain that your investment will be a good one . There are different methods to work out the expected returns depending on whether it is an investment property or a personal residence: Investment properties It should be very easy to work out your monthly income from a property and your normal expenses. The income should be greater than the expenses! If you were then to multiply this figure to establish the yearly profit you would be able to work this out as a percentage of the purchase price. For example; you purchase a property for $30,000. Your monthly profit is $150 which makes your annual profit $1,800. Divide the annual profit ($1,800) by the purchase price ($30,000) and your cash return is 6%. In real estate, this would be considered good. This is a simple calculation but provides an excellent guide as to whether a property will be viable or not. Of course, the property should be increasing in value.  [...]

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Money-Saving Upgrades Around Your Home

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Whether you own or rent, chances are you’ve got a mile-long list of upgrades and repairs around the house that are waiting to be completed. Things like fresh caulk and paint can work wonders for making your humble abode look refreshed, but the upgrades that might be more worthy of first considerations are the ones that save you money in some way. Within that spectrum, there are more aggressive money-saving upgrades that might right an investment for long-term payout, then there are the ones that are more kind to your wallet while slowly chipping away at your utility expenses. Large and small, here are some money-saving updates you can do around your home. Seal Your Home What should likely be the first and most important upgrade or update in your home is to make sure that your home is completely, totally sealed. Any sort of draft in your home can mean heating or air conditioning running at a higher rate than you should actually need, which in turn means higher energy costs. Depending on things like the age of your home and the type of materials used, this can be as simple as replacing weatherstripping around windows and doors or it could mean more expensive upgrades like replacing doors and windows altogether. Via Mark Group If your home has attic or basement space, consider making sure these areas are sealed from the outside world by adding insulation, or if you home is was insulated many years ago consider replacing the insulation with something newer and more efficient. Finally, check for more obscure areas where there could be air leaks such as outlets and light switches. The less invasive of these tasks can be relatively inexpensive and take very little time, but things like replacing windows or installing insulation can require a contractor [...]

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What to consider if you are a mortgage misfit

Ipswich Building Society

Changes to mortgage regulation in April last year introduced new affordability rules. The Mortgage Market Review came into force on 26 April 2014. It was created to help reduce irresponsible lending and ensure all residential mortgage lending was affordable. All mortgage lenders have to follow the new affordability rules. The new affordability rules introduced tougher criteria for the borrower to ‘afford’ the mortgage. These mortgage misfits are existing homeowners, who have held mortgages for many years. They are now discovering they cannot meet the new affordability checks. Often older borrowers, the self employed and those on incomes lower than the national average are struggling to find a new mortgage, despite successfully paying their mortgage for many years! See infographic below. Sometimes, this results in the borrower becoming a ‘ mortgage prisoners’ , they are left stranded on their lender’s standard variable rate, often at a higher rate than they had paid before. The borrower will have failed affordability and the lender has not offered them a new mortgage deal. Sometimes this is because the lender uses an automated approach to lending and they struggle to review each case individually and on its own merits. Sadly some lenders have chosen to not use something called ‘transitional arrangements’. These are included in the Mortgage Market Review regulations to allow those who have held a mortgage since before 26 April 2014 to bypass the official affordability rules. Instead the lender can use transitional arrangements and their own separate test of affordability. As long as the borrower is not increasing their mortgage and has paid their mortgage regularly, the lender can use their discretion to agree the loan under transitional arrangements. Sadly, not all lenders are doing this and as a result some borrowers are finding themselves left on a standard variable rate. Larger lenders often [...]

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