January 29, 2016

Stamp duty increase will tighten the UK property market

Following the announcement of the change to stamp duty for those who owned second homes a rush to finalise all deals before the 1st April 2016 was expected. For those who completed before 25th November 2015, they will not have to pay the higher rate of stamp duty even if the property is not ready by 1st April 2016. For those who completed after 25th November 2016, they will have to pay the surcharge of 3% if the homes are not ready by 1st April 2016.

UK property market

The introduction of the additional stamp duty surcharge will mean that the UK property market will take another hit as interest in the property is likely to reduce from 1st April 2016.

Demand from second home owners has already been affected by the stamp duty increase throughout England and Wales but during November there was an increase in property prices of 3.7% which made up part of the annual 13.4% increase. However, November is a notoriously quiet month which means that a 3.7% increase is considerable.  The figures during December will be interesting as some of the pressure on the market could have been eased as a result of the 25th November cut-off date. A kind of “False Market” has been created following the introduction of the new stamp duty surcharge and there will be demand during the early months of 2016 but this could end quickly once the stamp duty is brought in.

Currently, first time buyers are thin on the ground but for those who are in a position to purchase will face competition from those who are looking to invest in buy-to-let properties. This is all happening at a time when the UK base rates are heavily scrutinised following the increase in the rates in the US. A number of experts have already made it clear that they believe there will be an increase in UK base rates before the end of 2016 and the belief is that it will occur sooner than many think. This will have an impact on the UK mortgage market which is why a number of first time buyers are working hard to finalise deals as quickly as possible.

From the end of March, the demand from buy-to-let investors is expected to reduce and this could lead to a situation where mortgage rates will increase gradually in readiness for the increase in the base rate. This will lead to investors trying to complete their deals in the early months of 2016.

The UK property market is moving relatively freely at the moment but this surely cannot continue as 2016 gets underway. The UK economy is working well at the moment and so is the property market but there are problems occurring overseas that can have a knock-on effect in the UK.  The economy in Europe has hinted that the future of the Euro could be stable but there is still a lot of focus on it but the UK EU referendum is only around the corner.

There is a belief that 2016 could be a difficult year for the UK property market but which way it will go is a mystery.

For more information about
property investment in the UK, please contact Hopwood House.

January 28, 2016

How to Buy a Flat and Not Lose Sleep

Buying a flat is one of the biggest investment you’ll ever make. That’s why it’s important as a homebuyer to run several checks on the property you’re considering to ensure that it’s a worthwhile investment. Owning a home is a dream and it comes with many rewards, but the entire process can quickly become stressful if you don’t do your part to ensure that you’re making a sound investment. 

Some of the biggest pitfalls that buyers face include:

How to Buy a Flat and Not Lose Sleep

·         Unclear property titles. With an ownership registry or land acquisition policy in place, it can be difficult to determine who actually owns the home.
·         Multiple agencies need to approve the project before it can be completed.
Buyers need to be diligent to ensure that the property has no encumbrances. Here are some tips to help you get through the process without losing sleep at night.

Get the Agreement in Writing

It is crucial that you enter into a written agreement with the developer. This agreement should clearly state the terms and conditions, such as time of delivery and the payment plan, as well as the specifications of the flat.
If you’re purchasing an already-existing flat, it’s important to check the occupation certificate, property tax receipts, and inspect water, electrical and fire safety mechanisms.
Remember, India does not currently have a real estate regulator or guidelines for this sector. The occupancy certificate is especially important because it states that the flat is complete and suitable for living.
Purchasing freehold property will also help you avoid the possibility of buying from someone who doesn’t truly own the property.

Secure a Bank Loan

Securing a bank loan is the best course of action to take when buying a flat. When the bank extends a loan, they accept the flat as collateral. Therefore, they carry out all of the necessary checks, including the builder’s credentials in the case of a new construction. This can give you peace of mind in knowing that your flat will continue to hold its value in the future.
Even if you are able to purchase the flat outright, you may consider taking out a small loan to gain this extra layer of protection.

Check the Developer’s Background

When buying property, you can never be too cautious. If it is a new construction, be sure to check the developer’s background to assess the quality and timeliness of the work. A reputable developer will have a clear record that you can use as a reference point. Consider the time it took to complete the project and the number of projects the developer has taken on. Be cautious of developers who have been involved in legal squabbles.

Ensure That You Have the Right Documentation

If you’re purchasing a flat from the urban development authorities, the chances of the property having an unclear title or improper documentation are far less. If you’re purchasing from a private developer, however, you may consider seeking legal assistance to ensure that all of the necessary documents are correct.
Buying a flat doesn’t have to be a stressful process. It’s up to you, the buyer, to be diligent and perform thorough checks to ensure that the property can be purchased legally and will be a good fit for you and your family.

Ways to Increase Safety at Your Home

When it comes to home security, you can never be too careful. No matter how much effort you have already put into making it safer, you should never stop looking for some new tricks. You should not only try to protect you and your family from burglars but from accidents as well. Keep in mind that 33% of all the accidents occur at home. So make sure you do whatever you can in order to increase safety at your house. Here are 5 things you should consider doing.

Ways to Increase Safety at Your Home

Install alarm systems

Installing an alarm system is one of the first things that cross your mind when you are talking about home security. Houses without one are 3 times more likely to become a target for burglars and get broken into. If you cannot afford this, just putting up a sign that says there is an alarm system installed might scare burglars away. Just as well, you should install a smoke alarm. Once you do this, try it out and make sure that it is working. It would be a good idea to the same with security alarm as well.

Make some landscape

Burglars are always more likely to target a house with a backyard full of trees and bushes. These allow burglars to hide from you and your neighbors. So if think there is enough greenery in your backyard to allow a person to hide, make sure you trim it in such a way every spot is visible. It is also a good idea to increase lighting in your backyard so you would be able to spot any intruders. Think about installing LED lights if you do not want to make your energy bills too high.

Protect yourself from injuries

Go around your house and try spotting every place where an accident may occur. Check out if there are any loose rugs and sharp edges which may cause an injury. Poorly lit stairs are one of the major home accident causes. So if you have stairs, make sure there is all the necessary lighting. All of this is an absolute must if you children. You can also think about baby proofing the entire place. Make sure there are outlet covers and anti-slip mats for your children.

Protect the home from flood

Out of nowhere, a pipe may start leaking and if there is no one at home at that point your whole home can get flooded. Not only will fixing the damage cost too much but some of your sentimental items might get ruined as well. But there are some things you can do in order to be prepared to fight against flood. First of all you should make sure that all of your electrical sockets are at least 1.5 meters above the floor level. Having free-standing kitchen units that can be moved can also be of great help in the case of flood.

Get a gun

Even if you do have an alarm system you can never be fully protected from burglars. That is why there should always be a gun in your home as a last resort to fight away criminals. Even though your first reaction should be to call the police, having a gun with yourself will not do any damage. Just make sure you store it properly, especially if you have children. Make sure you take a look at gun safes and get one for yourself. There you will be able to lay your gun and get it easily if you are supposed to. Also, get proper firearm training if you are thinking about having one at home.
Even if you do all of these stuff, be sure to keep looking for new ways to make your home safer. There are simply no limitations when it comes to protecting you and your family from burglars and accidents.

January 27, 2016

Top Considerations for the First-Time Home Buyers

Buying a home of our own is always a dream come true. We often keep planning to invest on a home of our choice throughout the major part of our lives. And this planning involves not just saving money but also considering several other factors. Friends and family play a significant role in influencing our home buying decision too. So, while there is a lot of speculation on the subject, it is not to be denied that a first-time buyer should actually consider a number of factors and aspects before making the final investment. Let’s take a closer look.

A Stand-Alone House or a Flat

Top Considerations for the First-Time Home BuyersThe first question that arises in a home buyer’s mind is whether to go for a house or a flat. While some buyers are sure about what they want, many remain in doubt. Now, the choice of a house or a flat depends on two things. First, your earlier experience of living in either of the two, which explains your natural inclination and second is your living style and work life. People who have lived in houses usually prefer looking for those on sale. On the other hand, those who prefer to live in a more compact surrounding and derive the advantages of living in a building complex, go for flats. Generally speaking, stand-alone houses are difficult to manage and maintain especially if you have a busy work life. Also, with flats, it is likely that you get like-minded people and a ready neighbourhood near your building. Both have advantages and disadvantages so it is better to go by your personal choice and preference.


Buying a house is one of the biggest investments of your life. So, it is always advisable that you plan your finances well before time. Getting a home loan is not much of a big deal today, thanks to the increase in the number of banks and other private money lending institutions. Decide carefully about how much you are going to pay as the down payment amount. Keep your budget a little flexible because the value of real estate appreciates and depreciates rather frequently. Also, as you go ahead in the process, there are certain additional costs that will arise, which are necessary and unavoidable too.

The Real Estate Agent Factor

Once you have decided on what you are going to buy and how much you are ready to pay, it is now time to find a reputed real estate agent or company. Make sure checking the portfolio of the company to be assured that you get enough options. For the dream home that you are going to step into must have all the qualities to cater to your specific requirements. Negotiating with the real estate agent is the next and the most important step in the process. Show them your buying capabilities while also keeping them on their toes to get you the best available option.

Author-Bio: Jennifer Rogers is a freelance blogger on the web and he writes extensively about real estate. He is a keen observer and researcher of this sector and his articles portray the various tips and tricks of buying properties in Kolkata.

January 22, 2016

What to Consider when Expanding Your House

It is natural that you want to expand your house as your family grows. People always need more space so everyone could equally enjoy and have some privacy. However, before giving into this project you need to consider a few important things.

Legal Issues and Neighbours

There are certain laws that regulate the required and allowed space for every type of building, and mostly, expansions are illegal according to these laws. If you break some of these, someone could file a complaint and housing authorities will act on it. To avoid these complications, you should inform your neighbours that you plan on expanding your household and make sure that does not have a negative effect on them. Also, you should try staying out of your neighbours “personal space” and limit the expansions on a safe distance, so the noise and smell would not disturb them.

How big is Your Budget?

After making a detailed plan of how you want to expand your home, you need to calculate how much money you can spend and compare it to your plan. This comparison can help you realize which things need renovation and expending, and you can rule out those less necessary. It is important not to go over your budget. Invest more time and money in fixing and improving your house instead of just making it look good. Be realistic and disciplined. 

Size and Appeal

The bigger the extension the higher the costs. Your budget can very much help you determine the size of you project, and the purpose of the additional space can determine the materials you need for building it. Additionally, be careful not to make your expansion look like a misplaced ornament. To avoid this, follow the patterns and styles of your house and blend it in nicely so it would look like it has always been there. However, if you find it difficult to obtain items and materials for matching the style, you can always simply match the colour and add some simple details to your extension so it would not look dull. Changing all the windows and doors, if you have enough money, is nice refreshment which can improve the whole exterior of your home, but try not to overdo it.

What to Consider when Expanding Your House

Expand to Your Yar

Useless empty space in your yard should finally get its purpose and help you maximize your living space. The cheapest and easiest extension you can do is to build an outdoor room. Almost any object from the interior can be applied and set up outside. Build a small gazebo and equip it with blankets, cushions, chairs and tables and have a perfect place for enjoying hot summer days with a nice book and a cocktail. You can also cover it with colourful drapes and rugs to make it cosier and to make a perfect shade. Install some lighting features for making a nice romantic atmosphere. This will make use of your yard and you will have an additional room for some privacy.

Hiring Contractors

Think twice if you plan on doing all this work alone. You may miscalculate expanses and end up broke; also, at one point you may just give up and leave your home unfinished. Hiring contractors is a great idea if you want the job to be done on time, to be quality and on budget. You have to be careful when picking the contractors and choose only trusted extension builders who can provide you with quality services of renovating, designs and ground floor extensions. Always choose contractors based on their previous work or you can depend on your friends’ recommendations.
Planning and organizing could be tough, but once you are done you will be proud of your new house. Extensions are always welcome and useful, just be careful not to break any laws or lose all the money.

Lana Hawkins is a student of architecture and a crafty girl from Sydney, Australia. She loves writing about architecture and home décor. In her free time she love to cook for her family and friends.

Why Invest in Dubai? Here Are 8 Reasons

Making the impossible possible is the trend in Dubai. That is what is believed to be enticing people from across the globe not only to move to this city, but also to pick up investment opportunities. On top of that, there are other reasons why it’s great to invest in Dubai, and eight such reasons are provided below.

Why Invest in Dubai? Here Are 8 Reasons

1. If you’re interested in real estate, you will find that really nice properties in the

city are still much cheaper than anywhere else in the world. Compared to London, Tokyo, Seoul, New York, and Paris, you can get a much nicer selection of fancy homes and even commercial spaces that suit your budget.

2. Property values are projected to increase in the next several years; therefore, if you would purchase now, you can expect a much higher value for the property you buy now in say, five years. With ongoing developments in the city (as well as the excitement over EXPO 20/20), certain locations would prove to be incredibly ideal, and the great demand for them will impact lease fees and even resale value.

3. Properties are always assets. If you’re not afraid to try new things, there will always be ways for you to generate income from your property investment. You can develop the property for business, resell it, rent it out, et cetera.

4. Dubai is a tax-free city so investments truly are more affordable and easier to
make here.

5. With whatever investment you make, you can capitalise on the fact that Dubai is
a top tourist destination, and you can use this to your advantage if you’re creative and bold enough.

6. If you intend to start a business here, there certainly are fewer risks because of
the local culture, and the very low crime rate. Security for businesses here is top-
notch; that’s why wealthy families and famous individuals feel quite safe in Dubai. The same security can be provided to your business.

7. Weather in the city is very predictable, which is why prices of commodities here
are more stable than anywhere else. Changing weather or climate is often the
cause of uncertainties for businesses, especially in procuring supplies and assigning prices for all types of products.

8. If you’re a foreigner set on buying Dubai properties, you’ll be glad to know that
there are no special requirements for making a purchase. Dubai real estate is
open to all investors – it doesn’t matter if you’re a local or expat.

About the author: Oliver Finney is an enthusiast of the real estate industry who loves to
continuously learn and share knowledge as well about the vast and comprehensive
world of the real estate business, off and online. Indeed, he is an avid real estate
enthusiast and has recently made the final step to earning his real estate license. He visits sites like damacproperties

January 12, 2016

What is the driving force behind the Spanish property resurgence?

It is well known that the Spanish property market has struggled over the past 7 years, post the 2008 worldwide financial crisis. The effects of this financial breakdown were felt strongly in Spain and it has taken until recently to start to feel the seeds of recovery being sown. Although the market has not recovered at the same pace or to the same extent as other countries, for example the United Kingdom or the United States of America, there are now signs that the economy and the property market are picking up.

So, after 7 years of economic darkness and a stalling property market, what is the force behind the recovery that is being seen in the Spanish housing sector? Being economics, there are obviously a large number of reasons, some highly technical and almost unexplainable, however in this article we will take a look at four tangible reasons as to why there are more people buying property in Spain.

Weak Euro

Over the past two years the struggle in Europe has been focused on Greece and their economic volatility. With the European Central Bank having to step in and other European nations helping with Greece’s debts, there has been a certain amount of debt over Greece’s ability to remain in the single currency and to a much lesser extent, the future of the Euro currency itself. This has led to the Euro performing badly against Sterling and the US Dollar, with near record low exchange rates being seen. This means that foreign investors gain hugely from a good exchange rate and sees them save a considerable amount of money than one or two years ago. For aa foreign led market having a weak Euro has helped draw these investors back into Spain.

Increase in Tourism

Tourism is a huge part of the Spanish economy, representing 12% of Spain’s GDP. In 2014 there was just shy of 65 million tourists visiting Spain, according to the Ministry of Tourism, which represented an increase of over 7% from 2013. These visitor numbers equate to almost the entire population of the United Kingdom and places Spain 3rd in the most visited countries in the world, behind France and the United States of America.

With so many visitors there is a large market for property lets in the peak tourist season, allowing the foreign investors in the property market rent their houses for considerable profits. This is particularly popular in Southern Spain with places such as Marbella receiving record numbers of tourists.

Low Mortgage Rates and High Yields

For those purchasing a property in Spain, there are still good value interest rates to be found due to fierce competition between banks. You can generally find rates between 2and 3% for most types of mortgage. Combine this with the relatively high yields that are available through rental of a purchased property, it is easy to see why a property purchase makes sense. The yields you can expect from rental are generally greater than those found via bank investments, although they do not offer as much flexibility. In the medium to long term housing in Spain can offer a far greater return than any other form of standard investment.

Foreign Buyers

As touched on previously, it is foreign buyers that are really driving the housing market forward. They are taking advantage of all of the above, as well as much more stable economic conditions in their own country to enable them to purchase a second home abroad. The biggest foreign purchasers of Spanish property come from the United Kingdom, as has been the case for the past ten years or so and 2014 saw the number of purchasers from the United Kingdom grow by more than 27%.

There are many reasons why the housing market is growing again in Spain and the above is merely a scratch into what is a much broader topic.

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the property and travel industries, working alongside a selection of companies including Marbella’s largest and longest-running real estate agent Panorama.es, who were consulted over the information contained in this piece.

January 9, 2016

Adding a Conservatory to Your House

Summer seems to be lasting longer and longer every year, and it is still only natural that we would want to make the summer heat last as long as possible. You might be considering having a conservatory added to your house to create a space that catches the sun and keeps summer stretching out into September, October and maybe even further. If you’re thinking about adding a conservatory to your home, what are the important things to bear in mind?

Permissions, Permissions!

You must always make sure that you have planning permission from your local government – and from neighbouring properties if you are tampering with a party wall – before starting any building works. The local council will want to have an idea of what you plan to build and how long it will take. If you start building without planning permission and they decide that what you are building is not permitted, you will have to tear it down and you may also have to pay a fine. 
Unfortunately the decision largely rests with the council as to whether or not you will be allowed your conservatory, but they have to take into account the potential ramifications of a conservatory in your local area as well as items of concern such as visual pollution, encroachment on neighbour boundaries etc. If your conservatory is not ridiculously large or a strangely shape structure, you shouldn’t have much trouble in getting planning permission. 

Are you able to have a conservatory built?

Once you have planning permission from your local council, you need to make sure your property is structurally sound and will be able to support the extra room. Find a building surveyor who will come and check out your home to ensure it will be safe to add the conservatory. They might also be able to offer advice which you can pass onto the builder, and they will know about similar projects in the area so might be able to offer extra suggestions.

When you’re choosing a builder to carry out the building work, make sure that you go for an insurance approved builder to protect you and your property in the unlikely event that something goes wrong. Ask neighbours with conservatories who carried out the work, and ask if you can come take a look at it to see if it is up to your standards. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions to make sure the builder is the right one for you.

Keeping the style simple and similar

Take a look at the style of your existing property and try to go for a style that will blend in well with the design scheme. If you are in a period property, a white plastic conservatory structure will look strange and could actually bring down the value of the property, so spend some time researching the types of conservatory available to get the most appropriate style for you and your home. The better it fits in, the easier it will be to sell your house in the future, as buyers will see it as an asset.

Another aspect to remember is that neighbours can and most likely will complain if the conservatory seems to be visually unappealing or otherwise intrusive on the neighbourhood. It is important to make sure that it is in keeping with the style of the surrounding houses, otherwise you may find it harder to sell on, or even harder for the building to receive planning permission in the first place. 

Conservatories can get extremely hot in the summer, so consider how the room will be ventilated. This might be through large windows to create a through breeze or the installation of some shutters to keep out the sun in the hottest part of the day. Likewise, in winter it can get very cold, so think about how you will insulate it. Make sure windows and doors are properly sealed and consider extending your home central heating system into the conservatory to keep you snug in the colder months.

Window shutters are great for preventing the conservatory from getting too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter, and while large radiators are great, they can cause a lot of condensation so you need to be aware that your new conservatory might need regular cleaning. A conservatory is a beautiful addition to any home, but you have to be willing to put the effort in to keep it in good condition. If you live in a humid area, you will need to take extra measures to prevent against mould in your conservatory, so take this into account. 

At the end of the day, a conservatory makes a fantastic addition to any home and is currently still a very big selling point when it comes to moving on. A conservatory can be representative of wealth and riches and can be used as a dining room, a second living room or just as an open spaced room for entertaining guests. Best used in the summer, why not get ahead of next year by seeing whether or not your property would benefit from a new conservatory? 

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the property industry – working alongside a selection of companies including Surrey-based property insurance claim professionals Apex Building Solutions, who were consulted over the information in this piece.

January 7, 2016

Fixer Uppers - 5 Ways to Increase the Value of your Home

When selling your property, obviously there are certain things you will want to do to make your home more attractive to potential buyers, but there are ways to even increase the value of your property before selling it in order to help maximise your profit on the property itself. If you have the money for it, maximising the selling potential of your old property is always recommended, particularly if you are looking at moving up on the property ladder, as any extra money is always appreciated. Take a look at five ways you can increase the value of your property, without having to do too much work yourself.

Increase the Value of your Home

1.    Deep Clean your Carpets
Tired and worn out carpets, looking a little sad? Performing a deep clean on all your carpets will help revitalise them in time for visitors and potential buyers. While not a massive selling point, tired looking carpets may put off some buyers, particularly if they are looking for a property they can easily move into. There are a number of deep cleaning companies who perform professional deep cleans on carpets, so it is highly recommended before you put your property on the market.

2.    Renovate a Room
Whether it is the bathroom, the kitchen, the master bedroom or even the lounge; renovating a major room in the house has a guaranteed 100% success rate of improving the value of any property. Kitchens and bathrooms are considered to be the best rooms to renovate as they do require a lot of work, but can be extremely attractive when refurbished. Potential buyers looking at a property with a modern kitchen or bathroom will consider it an attractive investment and may put in several offers for your trouble.

3.    Consider a Conservatory
While a considerably expensive extension, conservatories do very well in bumping up the value of a property, It is widely considered to be a worthwhile investment and creates a beautiful new space for any family to enjoy. Conservatories come in a wide range of sizes and designs to suit each home individually, so it brings a new bit of life into an otherwise old property. Plus, if you’re not much of a gardener it helps to detract attention from the garden by including an attractive feature that everyone can enjoy.

4.    Painting
A new lick of paint never did any harm! By repainting any old or tired looking rooms in your properties, you give them a new lease of life and also help to minimise any flaws found in old wallpaper or dreary old paint styles. Plus, if you choose a bright or light colour, it also helps to open up the room and provide any potential buyers with a good idea of what that room in particular may be capable of. A whitewashed room can give way to far more opportunities than a shock pink room, even if it does have the wow factor. In some instances, more muted colours are better for potential buyers.

5.    Insulation and Cutting Energy Costs
There are a number of schemes available online for applicable homeowners that will provide loft insulation and installation free of charge, so it is important that you do your research in order to make sure that you are not missing out. Loft insulation goes a long way to reducing the costs of heating the property during the winter, so it is always a worthwhile investment. Plus, if you can get something for free, then what are you waiting for in all honesty?

With so many properties available on the market nowadays, it is often beneficial for your success to make sure that you have done everything within your power to increase your earning potential. Properties are high in demand in many areas across the UK and with the economy slowly recovering after its last small crash, people are starting to reach bravely into the property market in the hopes of finding themselves a first home. It is a good idea to maximise this opportunity in order to get the best price out of the property you plan to sell, as well as giving first time buyers the opportunity to purchase a first class, renovated property.

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the property industry – working alongside a selection of companies including South East England boiler and central heating specialist BSW BS, who were consulted over the information contained in this piece.

Easy Bathroom Makeovers on the Budget

Redesigning your bathroom can be expensive if you are not careful with what you want and what your budget allows you to get. Make sure that you first sit down and put together a list of changes you need, so that you can budget out exactly how much money you need. However, try to leave room for additional costs which could spring up to avoid getting an unpleasant surprise.
Rehash Your Old Mirrors
You do not have to undergo complicated projects to spruce up your bathroom, because sometimes all it will take is a bit of ingenuity. Repurposing old mirrors is a great way to introduce something new without having to spend a lot of money. Your only concern will be how to go about breathing new life into your old mirrors, and thankfully you have a plethora of design tips to choose from. Then again, you will have an easier time adjusting those mirrors, as you already have the measurements done.

Make Enough Space in the Shower
Bring an end to your suffering in the shower once and for all, simply by installing a corner shelf. Be cautious when drilling in the bathroom, because you might hit a pipe or even a live wire. Go through the bathroom plans to see where the problematic areas are. Once you install it, be sure to test it out, to make sure that you can pack all your shower necessities without putting too much weight on it.
Give Your Bathroom a New Colour
In many cases, repainting can be enough to liven up your bathroom and to make it look new. However, you should choose your paint carefully, because some could be bad for a very humid environment, and it could take your paint forever to dry. Make sure to look up easy methods to find a decent bucket of paint and to get it onto the walls, without making too much of a mess. Choose a colour that will not stand out too much and which will go nicely with your overall bathroom’s design.
Make Your Cabinets Appear Like New
Often the cabinets can be a key focal point in a bathroom, and unless they look well taken care of, it will seem like your bathroom is in dire need of reworking. To freshen up your cabinets, you will mostly have to repaint them and apply a new coating of protective varnish. While you are at it, be sure to tighten any loose bolts and hinges, and in the end your bathroom will look nicer without having to spend a fortune.
Install New Plumbing Fixtures
No matter how much you clean your bathroom fixtures, they will eventually succumb to wear and tear, and you will have to change them. However, you should be cautious, because if you are not handy with plumbing, you might break something. Instead it is better to leavebathroom renovators do their job and quickly install fixtures your bathroom needs. You need to draw the line when you will have to spend a little more on getting the job done right, otherwise you will have to redo it from scratch.
Giving your bathroom a much needed makeover does not have to be costly, and in most cases will require a bit of handiwork. Nonetheless, you should avoid doing most of the work if you are unsure how it has to be done, because you could damage your bathroom and will have to call in a repair crew. Bear in mind that simple and cheap changes might just be sufficient for making your bathroom appear new and shiny. 

January 5, 2016

Student Property as a Buy-to-Let Substitute

The government has announced a comprehensive set of measures, due to roll out over the next few years and be fully in force by 2020, that could seriously impact the viability of buy-to-let for many current and would-be investors. Many are therefore seeking an alternative, and purpose-built student housing could be a way to invest profitably in property while avoiding some – though not all – of the governments changes in legislation.
At first look, this niche property sector certainly seems an attractive prospect. The returns can be very strong, and quite frequently grab headlines for significantly outperforming other property assets, and when buying from the developer as part of a new project there is often a guarantee of good returns for a period of several years – all from an investment class that is almost always fully-managed.
Purchase prices can also be attractive, and student rooms are often far lower than the cost of buying a home or regular residential flat. This allows for smaller levels of investment, and could prove important as a way to minimise the impact of upcoming tax changes. One of the key changes which could drain the profitability of mainstream buy-to-let is the loss of tax relief on mortgage repayments. Lower-priced student rooms may avert the need for credit of any kind, or allow for a lower-value deal with lower repayments for the same capital outlay.
Student property also looks like an attractive market to invest in. As well as outperforming mainstream properties for some time now, indications are that good-quality purpose-built student property is likely to keep doing well for some time. Demand for student beds in a great many of the UK's key markets is significantly greater than supply. Student numbers are rising yearly and show no sign of abating, which is making it hard for this supply-demand gap to close. International students in the UK are on the rise, and these represent a key market for purpose-built student apartments, and the popularity of dedicated student housing is also continuing to grow with the domestic crowd.
This is not to say there are no pitfalls to be wary of, however, and as with any investment it is important to consider the risks involved as well. Even with low supply, student developments of poor quality or in weak locations don't necessarily get filled to capacity. One of the key attractions is the kind of guaranteed return deal that is common in this sector and this is indeed a big draw, but it is important to choose a reliable developer with an established track record to ensure they will be able to follow through on their promise.
While student property is more popular as an income investment than a source of capital growth, it is important to consider the risk to the money tied up in the property, though the extremely positive forecasts surrounding student property are reassuring for a well-chosen investment. Furthermore, while new units are proving very popular with investors, there is still a very limited resale market so this could make exiting and regaining access to your capital more difficult.
Lastly, while it could potentially be a way to soften or bypass certain aspects of the new government measures, key considerations such as the rise in stamp duty and cuts to income tax relief will still apply to student property landlords.

For more information about student property investments, please contact Hopwood House.