Tag Archives: Conveyancing

Why Should You Register Your Land?

Why Should You Register Your Land?

There are two land systems In England and Wales – registered land and unregistered land. If a piece of land and ownership of it is recorded on the Land Register it’s registered land. When a property gets registered, the title is “guaranteed” by the Land Registry. The Register is open to the public and can be accessed by anyone.

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The Winter Season – A Great Time to Sell Your Property!

Not too many people know that January and February can be two of the best months for putting your property on the market! The fact is that most sellers wait for better weather in Spring and frequently there really isn’t enough stock to meet demand during the winter months. As a seller you can use that to your advantage. You can potentially attract a large number of buyers with a good presentation and a fair guide price.

 

Clean Inside and Out!

Cleanliness is next to godliness, as they say! Make sure that your property is clean both inside and outside! If you own a house you need to make sure front gardens, paths and doorways are all spruced up – they’re the first things your potential buyers will see before entering the property. In case you’re selling a flat, you’ll need to make sure to sweep the stairs and banisters!

 

Make it cosy!

A blazing fire in your fireplace can make your property feel really cosy during the cold winter season. Psychologists also suggest that it creates a feeling of warmth and being reminded of childhood and feeling comfortable, safe and loved. Combine that with some soft music playing in the background and a warm cup of tea or fresh coffee.

 

Check Your Light Bulbs!

Make sure that all the lights inside your home are working so your home is well lit throughout! If you have any outside lights and security lights, remember to check if those are working as well, in case potential buyers are interested!  In order to ensure a better score in the Energy Efficiency section of the Home Report replace traditional light bulbs with LED ones, if you haven’t done so yet!

 

Have Your Boiler Maintained!

Have the boiler maintained prior to putting your home on the market! Many buyers will check when the boiler was last inspected and a sticker or magnet marking the date of the last inspection can add peace of mind for potential buyers.

 

Update the Photos!

Don’t use old pictures of your property as clients might think it’s been on the market for a while. Don’t take any photos if you’ve already decorated your home for Christmas – do it after you’ve taken your decorations down as they can make the rooms look cluttered!

Thinking of selling your home? Call our Conveyancing specialist Luke Hunt on 01202 877 400 today!

The Winter Season – A Great Time to Sell Your Property!
Top 10 Energy Saving Tips

Top 10 Energy Saving Tips

With the temperatures dropping rapidly in winter everywhere homeowners across the UK will see their electric bills rise to accommodate for their increased energy usage. Here are some helpful tips on how you can save some money by saving energy during the coldest season.

Keep Curtains Closed


Closing the curtains prevents the cold air from seeping through the windows, thus making heating your home more efficiently.

Bundle up with warm accessories


Instead of turning the heating up, put on a cosy jumper and a pair of warm socks. Keep throw blankets on your couch, and add an area rug to insulate the floor.

Remember to turn off the lights


Making sure that you switch on the lights only when necessary will drastically decrease your energy bills.

Adjust the thermostat at night


Consider turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees while sleeping at night and use warm blankets and heaters to keep yourself warm.

Only heat the rooms you use


Close and seal off the vents in rooms you rarely use in order to be more energy efficient and direct the flow of air to the rooms you use most.

Keep your furnace clean and unblocked


Keeping your boiler and vents properly maintained will reduce energy consumption and help you save. Check your boiler filter monthly, and replace it when it gets dirty.

Get a humidifier to add moisture to the air


Moist air feels warmer and holds heat better, so a humidifier can help you feel comfortable when your thermostat is set at a lower temperature.

Invest in insulation


Some inexpensive insulation from your local home improvement store can save you a lot of money long-term.

Decorate with LED lights for the holidays


LED holiday lights use 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than older, incandescent lighting. Not only do they waste less energy, but the also emit less heat and are more resistant to breakage, making them a safer alternative.

Only use exhaust fans when necessary

Exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom pull the hot air that rises to the ceiling out of your apartment. Limit the use of your exhaust fans and make sure you shut them off when you are done with them.

 

Brexit and House Prices

The key comments coming out of initial post-Brexit news regarding housing were that we could expect to see a flatlining of prices and in some areas, a decrease. A year onwards and this is only partially true. Prices in the London market have come down, especially in those central areas where the market was already at extortionate heights. In the City of London, average house prices from June 2016 to June 2017 have fallen by more than 20% to £723,576.

However, stats for the UK as a whole show that from June 2016 to June 2017, average house prices rose by £10,000 to £223,257 according to the Office for National Statistics, with similar statistics being reported by Halifax. After Brexit, many reported about the potential opportunities for first-time buyers to get onto the market due to the forecasted flatlining prices; including Moody’s Vice President and Senior Analyst Gaby Trinkaus. Currently what is being reported by Paul Smith of Haart estate agents, is that first-time buyer enquires are down 20% in the last year, however, Haart are a mostly based London estate agency, therefore, this may not be representative of nationwide enquiries.

Despite the uncertainty in Brexit negotiations and what a post-EU UK economy will look like, the housing market has pushed onwards and upwards even through a drop off in affordability; due to inflation outstripping wage growth and squeezing real incomes, has occurred. The housing market has been kept underpinned by a large amount of undersupply, low unemployment and low mortgage rates. In the short-term, I fully expect this to continue despite the Brexit uncertainty.

The Bank of England may implement a modest increase in base rates towards the end of 2017 to try and bring down inflation, but the current rhetoric implies this will not likely happen until early 2018 at the soonest. Of course, this will take the “heat” out of the economy; mortgage rates will rise and unemployment may be affected, but inflation will fall, helping the affordability factor. Furthermore, rising base rates can often be seen as a move to restore economic confidence and give signals to lenders as well as home owners that the worst has passed, therefore, leading to more mortgages and potentially more houses on the market. However, it is simply too early to tell what direction we are heading in and how these signals will be interpreted.

In summary:

  • Housing prices have, on average, grown by £10,000 in the year since the Brexit vote
  • London house prices have been coming down slowly
  • First-time buyers are still struggling to enter the market
  • Undersupply, low mortgage rates and low unemployment are underpinning house prices and this looks set to continue
  • Base rate decisions by the Bank of England will play a large role in the future direction of the housing market

Brexit and House Prices
Newnham & Jordan Solicitors at Tough Mudder

Newnham & Jordan Solicitors at Tough Mudder

Last Sunday our brave Conveyancing Executive Luke Hunt took part in the Tough Mudder obstacle race (also known as the “Toughest Event On the Planet”) in London. Fearlessly running through mud pits and swimming through murky waters he finally crossed the finishing line after 5 hours and 30 minutes, raising over £300 for McMillan Cancer Support Charity.

Who says that solicitors never get their hands dirty?


You can follow Luke on his journey through the treacherous obstacles in the video below.

Help-to-Buy Right-to-Buy

The Basics:

  • Right to Buy allows most tenants in council housing to buy their home at a discount
  • You can benefit from a discount of up to £77,900 (or £103,900 in London areas) on the market value of the property
  • This size of discount depends on;
    • how long you have been a tenant with a public sector landlord
    • Type of property (flat or house)
    • The value of your property
  • The right-to-buy can be made in a joint application with someone who shares your tenancy and/or with up to three family who have lived with you for the past twelve months (even if they do not share tenancy)

Eligibility:

  • Buyer must have lived in the property for at least three years as a public sector tenant
  • The house or flat you wish to buy must be self-contained and your only principal home
  • If you were previously a tenant of a local authority which have now transferred ownership the property to another authority you may have a preserved right to buy, but you must have been living in the property when it was transferred

Pros

  • Gives the opportunity for long term council house tenants to buy their home with significant discounts on the purchase price
  • An excellent opportunity to move out of rent onto the property ladder where owners can benefit from rising house prices
  • Even if you have previously lived in and moved back into a public sector tenancy you can benefit from right to buy
  • Right-to-Buy discounts can be used more than once by one buyer on different properties

Cons

  • If you sell the property within five years you must pay back an amount of the given discount back (after five years, no repayment is required)
  • When selling, the previous landlord gets first refusal to purchase the property if you decide to sell in the first ten years
  • If the landlord has spent money on improving or maintaining the property in anyway the discount will be reduced
  • Purchasers will have to pay service charges in some properties which are put toward maintenance of communal areas etc
  • Buyers (unless cash buyers) will still need a mortgage which come with all the normal costs and may not be able to obtain a loan for the full amount you require
  • Buyers will also be liable for additional costs of owning a home such as; water and electricity bills which may or may not have already been a part of the tenancy agreement

Conclusion: This scheme is a fantastic opportunity for public sector tenants to get onto the property ladder and potentially reduce the long term costs of housing as well as purchasing a potentially appreciating asset. If you do not plan to live in the property in the short term (less than five years) it may not be worth your while with having to pay back the discount as well as having to pay the costs relating to the purchase of the property. Purchasers must also be aware of their own personal financial situation and whether they can afford the costs that come with home ownership, such as; mortgages and utility bills. As a final remark this is a very general overview of the Right-to-Buy scheme meant to give anyone interested the key facts, the government has an extensive document relating to all the aspects of this scheme in detail and can be found at: https://righttobuy.gov.uk

Help-to-Buy Right-to-Buy