Creating the finishing touches to your property with style!

Living room space

Whether you are setting up your first home, modernising or designing a home from scratch, when your project gets to the point of choosing the look of your rooms, it always brings a new energy to the build!!

It doesn’t matter if your property is for yourself or an investment to sell on, today the internet has taken out a lot of the leg-work of finding the look you want to achieve, you can now create your own mood boards from the comfort of your settee!  Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, you can purchase everything off the internet or if you want to get a feel of the textures and quality of furnishings you can wander around stores and suppliers for inspiration.

When it comes to kitchens, there are so many to choose from on the market, whether you have a company design one for you or you create your own, the choice of cabinets, work-tops, taps, tiles, flooring etc is endless, catering for all tastes whether minimalistic, sleek lines, colourful, or cosy!

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The furnishings, lighting and colours for bedrooms can be anything from neutral shades, cool tones, to striking colours with bold statement pieces.  The displays online or in department stores showcase complete rooms with items complimenting each other and all available to buy in one place.

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Living rooms used to be the hub of the home but as times and lifestyles change and we use kitchens as more of a social meeting place and the kids spend more time in their own spaces, this room has become more of a chill out area, this can either be very chic or cosy depending on your style.  The choice of furnishings, lighting and media are endless!!!

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With our fast pace lives, bathrooms have increasingly become sleek, functional and ultra modern – wet rooms have become very popular, with standalone baths becoming focal pieces …

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Whether on a budget, limited to space or time, with technology and the creativity of furnishings today, the design, choice and co-ordination of rooms is endless and fun!

History of Buy-To-Let

Street scene of different houses

The Buy-to-let industry which has sprung up over the past 30 or so years has traditionally involved financing property with the hope that there will be some form of capital increase in the value of the property along with a modest incremental income from the rent that the property then attracts. The rental income that is earned on the property needs to cover the mortgage costs and any remedial maintenance that might have to be performed, along with the legally required undertakings such as gas and electrical inspections and certifications.

Back before the mid-eighties the buy-to-let market was predominantly populated by wealthy self-financed professional landlords and commercial companies. Private individuals found it very hard to gain access to the resources required to search-out, analyse and purchase properties for the sole purpose of renting out and providing equity in later life. In fact, as a concept, this didn’t really enter into the minds of the general population until the late eighties. The introduction of the Housing Act in 1988 gave rise to a whole new set of products from the banks that afforded new opportunities for the private landlord. Assured Shorthold Tenancies were the catalyst that gave the banks and new landlords security in knowing how long tenants were going to be in their properties so landlords could formulate budgets and plan for the future.

Many products were bought to the market by the financial institutions starting in the mid to late nineties and early noughties and this increased with time as the appetite grew for buying houses as an investment. Subsequently, many landlords found themselves in negative equity when the downturn happened in 2007. The financial institutions suffered from widespread depreciation in their stock price and a large depletion of their reserves due to the burden of the sub-prime market collapse. This meant that previously easily accessible products were now either withdrawn or changed so that the rules of entry were strengthened to an extent that excluded a large percentage of potential buy to let players. Current products now usually require 25% deposits with the range of products increasing and the interest rates becoming more reasonable when the deposit amount gets to 40%. Buy-to-let mortgages have interest rates which are usually slightly above private mortgages and bank loan offerings include interest only and tracker options.

The housing market has shown steady growth in house prices ever since ownership of private dwellings became popular in the late 1950’s. There have been times when prices have risen more rapidly creating bubbles that ultimately have to burst but the general change in house prices is that of an upward trend at a greater pace than the rate of inflation. The financial crisis of 2007-2009 was no exception – although most regions of the UK saw a flattening off or downturn in house prices they have recovered subsequently back to modest growth.

In the late 1980’s bank deposit rates reached heights of 15%. Ever since then deposit rates have declined to ultra-low level rates in 2016. Pensions schemes have somewhat tracked deposit rates when it comes to return on investment percentage decline. It is this fall in return on bank deposited savings and monies invested in pension schemes that has fuelled the buy to let market with private individuals re-investing pension funds in bricks and mortar hoping to outperform pension fund and bank saving rate performance.

There has been widely acclaimed correlation of the increase in buy-to-let property ownership in the UK and the rise in house prices and rental costs. In an attempt to combat rising house prices, the government has bought in regulations to limit tax relief on buy-to-let mortgages. Although some think the increased cost for landlords will drive them to hike rental values in a bid to keep margins in check.

Overall property has proved to be a reliable and consistent investment vehicle for many private individuals over the past 3 decades and is set to remain a popular way for some to supplement or completely replace their pension portfolio.

 

Considerations for a Profitable Renovation

A Profitable Renovation

So the wait is finally over, you’ve bought a property at auction as an investment and now the fun beings as you make the property into a profitable renovation.

With programmes like “Homes Under the Hammer” and “Property Ladder” inspiring millions to buy and renovate properties it can be a common (and expensive) trap to fall into if you are new to making a profitable renovation.  BEFORE you make your investment be sure you do your research and calculate the maths before signing on the dotted line.

Top 5 Tips for a Profitable Renovation

  1. Call in the professionals

If you’re not a DIY expert, call in the professionals. Employ registered tradesmen and builders to plan and complete the job. Ensure you get quotes from at least THREE tradesmen and references prior to committing to one. Property renovations can be no easy task and it can be much more cost and time efficient to hire a professional.

It can be easy to get carried away with moderations and supplies during the process too. Ensure you have a clearly defined budget and timeline. Draw up a written agreement with each tradesman so you have in writing how long the project will take and the cost.  Agree up front how payments will be made.

  1. Onwards and upwards

Property guru from Location Location Location, Phil Spencer advises “the easiest way to get an extra bedroom or bathroom is to build a loft. It’s not particularly disruptive, either, as most of the work can be done from outside.”

Remember though, easy access is essential along with standing height across the conversion. A steep step ladder to get to the conversion won’t do the trick.

  1. It’s not for you

If you’re looking to make a profitable renovation you need to take yourself out of the equation when it comes to home interiors. When it comes to colour schemes, opt for neutral tones and avoid controversial colours where possible. When prospective buyers view the property you want to make it as easy as possible for them to see it as a blank canvas – allowing them to make their own mark. Bright purple walls may be on trend but might not be to everyone’s tastes. Check out this great blog on how simplifying your colour scheme can have a huge impact perception of space too. Come on … off to B&Q for some magnolia, you know you want to ….

  1. Plan for planning permission

You don’t have to go the whole nine yards when it comes to renovating a home for reselling. Indeed just having the planning permission for a basement conversion or extension can add value to the property and can be a lot more attractive to buyers who potentially could be looking to add an extension but don’t want to go through the hassle of the application process. It’s less hassle (and cost) for you too as you don’t need to go through the entire process of managing the project from start to finish.

  1. Park for free

Depending on where your property is and what on-road parking is available, a parking space could potentially add anything from £5,000 to £50,000 onto the value of your house.

You’ll need planning permission from your local council and as always, remember to calculate the cost of doing so against the added value it could bring to the house – but if you have a front garden that can be converted, and limited or no parking spaces currently available this could be a lucrative way to make a profitable renovation.

Looking for more top tips?

  • Check out Waterstones too, they have an extensive collection of Home Renovation and Extension books