Tag Archives: property

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!

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!

Dying Without a Will: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Dying without a Will makes life even harder for those left behind following a bereavement and can be the cause of all kinds of disputes and family rifts. The law decides who gets what and how much when you don’t leave a will when you die – it doesn’t matter what your relationship with those people was like when you were still alive.

With the modern family things get even more complicated. Without a Will, your spouse or civil partner may not  inherit ALL of your estate automatically and common-law partners may not receive anything at all even to the extent of being forced out of their home.   Add to that, not having a Will can cause lengthy delays for your state dictated beneficiaries.

A good example of the possible issues that can arise from not having a Will is the case with Jimi Hendrix. The American rock star did not leave a Will after he died in 1970.  As a result of that his father Al Hendrix inherited his son’s £51 estate and left it to his step-daughter, which prompted a lawsuit by Jimi’s biological son.

Dying without a valid will is called intestacy or dying intestate.

The law about exactly who gets what is different in England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but there are some common problems wherever you live.

Potential problems in case you don’t have a Will:

 

  • Your partner is not legally entitled to anything when you die if you’re not married and not in a civil partnership.
  • If you’re married, your spouse might inherit most or even all of your estate and your children might not get anything (except in Scotland). This is the case even if you are separated but not if you’re divorced.
  • If you have children under the age of 18, you need to appoint Guardians within a Will otherwise in the even of the death of both natural parents they children will become Wards of the Court who will decide where they live and how they are educated and this will not necessarily be with the people or family that you would have chosen for yourself.
  • If you have children or grandchildren, how much they inherit will depend on where you live in the UK – but if you make a Will you can decide this yourself.
  • Any Inheritance Tax that your estate has to pay might be higher than it would be if you had made a Will.
  • If you die with no living close relatives, your whole estate will belong to the Crown or in other words – to the government. This law is called bona vacantia.

 

Any assets that you own jointly with someone will pass by survivorship to the surviving joint owner and not under the intestacy rules. It’s important that you understand whether you own an asset as “joint tenants” or as “tenants in common” in order to establish who will inherit the asset or your share of the asset.

It is also important to ensure that you obtain professional advice when preparing your Will and that it is correctly drafted in accordance with your wishes, making the best use of the various IHT saving incentives available.   You should also ensure that your Will is drafted by a qualified and regulated professional (not an unregulated Will-Writer) and be wary about using “free Will Writing Services” as you are unlikely to be given proper professional advice upon the draft and sadly by the time a problem becomes apparent you may well have past and are unable to make any rectification to the problem but have left a problem for your beneficiaries.

It’s safe to say that everyone who has any type of asset which he/she would wish friends, relatives or charities to benefit from should have a Will. For any questions and queries regarding Wills, Probate and LPA contact Angie Newnham today on 01202877400 – Option Private Client/Wills & Probate.

This article is intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.
Dying Without a Will: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
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