The 10 most common (false) myths about Agents and Real Estate – by Arianna Sturla

The 9th of April 2018, on a cold and rainy day here in London, I began my career as a Real Estate Agent at Marylebone Properties International.

I gotta say from the very beginning I was amused by the property world all of us are so used to, but which is so foreign at the same time, that is the real estate industry.

Everybody (or most of us at least) have been in a point in our life where we needed to relocate -might it be for school, work or life choices. And we all had to search for a new place to call home.

Many of us decided to do so through a Real Estate agent to facilitate and speed up the process. But you would be surprised to know there is a very large number of people that still don’t trust agents.

Why? Because, as for many other jobs, the figure of the Estate Agent is surrounded by common believes, some -I’m afraid- true and some absolutely false.

In this first article of mine, I will make a list of the 10 most common myths about Agents and Real Estate I came across in my time working in London Let’s clarify for whoever has to approach the Real Estate world in London.

1) Real Estate Agents in London are always late for appointments

A pretty common belief is also that Real Estate Agents are always late for appointments because they need to show the clients that they have a lot of deals going on and since their time is precious.

This myth is as far from the truth as you can get, actually.

All respectable agents will try to be at the appointment at least 10-15 minutes early to make sure everything is alright and to make a good impression on their clients.

Would you wish to be late for a job interview? No, and neither do we, and I can assure you that, as much as it does in a job interview, punctuality and professionalism play an important role in any real estate negotiation.

If it ever happens that your agent is a few minutes late, she might simply be stuck in traffic because she just had another viewing on the other side of the City.

2) A Real Estate Agent will say and do anything to make a sale

Although you’ll find some dishonest agents who will lie to you, not all agents would be willing to do so in order to make a sale. Doing so would cost as our reputation after all!

A Top Agent doesn’t need to lie to get new clients and close the deals, and those Agent who -like me- do this job because they actually enjoy doing it honestly and truthfully are very careful to uphold a client’s trust: also, making a false statement is against the law, and Agents who fail to disclose important material facts are subject to legal prosecution.

3) Paying rent is like throwing your money away

Many people believe that owning your home is better than paying the rent because in the second case you spend money without actually owning anything, but what they often forget is that, in a city like London, renting properties often makes more sense: the rent for a room in a shared house in Zone 2 can be around £600-800 a month, while having your own house usually costs you in maintenance cost, bills and council tax.

4) The longer a home stays on the market, the more negotiable is the deal

It works the other way around, actually.

It’s like that the home everybody fancies has been on the market for a while now likely due to its just slightly negotiable asking price: the seller may be unrealistic about their asking price or want the market to pay more than it is willing to bear.

5) When making an offer on a home, you need to start with a low offer and then raise it

Just as sellers can make the mistake of overpricing their properties, buyers can mistakenly start with a really low offer.

Although there is nothing wrong with negotiating, if the property you are putting an offer on is priced within a certain range, an unrealistically low offer is only going to put the seller on the position of not taking you seriously, with the unpleasant result of blowing up the deal before the negotiation even starts.

6) “Location, Location, Location” and “Homes Under The Hammer” shows common people how the Real Estate industry works

Reality Shows about millionaire properties and super-rich agents don’t’ make the standard, day to day deal Real Estate Agents close in reality.

While these shows raised the interest of the public towards the real estate industry, they depict the real estate world in London wrongly. For every millionaire properties’ deal, there are thousands of small rents and commercial sales we have to go through first. Also in Marylebone.

7) New Agents don’t have the Know-How

How many times I’ve herd it, since working at Marylebone Properties International.

Some clients may look specifically for agents with at least one years of experience in the field because they are convinced that agents in training don’t have the proper know-how.

This decision could also turn out to be a bad idea after all.

Experience certainly know how to do their job efficiently. But being quite new in the industry mean that you give a better customer service. You are more of a go-getter since everything is so exciting and new. You work very hard to prove your worth to others and to yourself.

8) Selling a home “For Sale By Owner” saves lots of money

The main reason sellers choose to put their house privately is because they think that way they will save lots of money.

Many sellers who attempt to sell their home will end up losing money by not hiring a professional real estate agent. That could lead to a series of mistakes made by the house owner for not being practical with the real estate market.

Did the private landlord overprice their home and it didn’t sell for several months? Did he not know how to negotiate the best price and terms for his/her home?

9) The less commission you pay to sell, the more you make

Agent will claim they can make you save money because they charge less than the average market price.

The truth is agents who excel in this business do not discount their services. An agent that charges you 0,1% will give you much less consideration than one that charges you 2% or more.

10) All Real Estate Agents make too much money

An agent’s average annual salary is often less than $40,000 a year, and many of the Agents are actually freelancer who get paid on a contract basis.

Has anybody ever told you: “Every penny more you pay for that house makes the agent more money. Don’t trust them.”?

What a common misunderstanding. The difference between $400,000 and $410,000 is about $200 to an agent. Said Agent won’t pay much attention to the commission difference of a $10,000 spread.

So be wise, make your decisions carefully and thoughtfully, and when possible choose a professional.

We make everything easier and smoother for both sellers and buyers.

That’s all for now.

Follow my blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for more advices and interesting stories from the Real Estate world.

Your personal Alice in Wonderland,

Arianna Sturla

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Halifax has released their report to explore what’s happening to the property market throughout the UK.

The index has been based on data related to the mortgage approved by Halifax and shows that prices in the last three months to January were 2.2% higher than in the same three months a year earlier, although the annual change in January was lower than in December (2.7%).

House prices remained unchanged in the recent quarter (November-January) from the previous quarter (August-October) and the average price of £223,285 at the beginning of the year is 1.9% higher than in January 2017 (£219,217), however, the current price has edged down after recording £226,408 – highest on record – in November.

 

For the second month in a row,

Halifax is spotting a fall in prices, after having reached the record last November, but the amount of sales is still strong with 1.23 million sales in 2017. This is definitely an encouraging move as over the previous five years the number of sales was around 890,000 annually.

Halifax index has some flaws, as based on mortgage approvals that might not end in a sale completion, and avoid the many cash purchases that are actually in great numbers, especially in Central London. It’s still a good report that offers precious insights in regards to the market health.

Halifax also reported a reduction in mortgage approvals in December,

as the market wound down for Christmas, but despite 2017 was a tough market, the overall mortgage approval fell only by 2% when compared to the same period in 2916.

There is still a level of uncertainty within the market, with vendors willing to wait for a growth in prices before selling and buyers actually thinking in perspective and waiting for more tranquility as well. This results in a fall of the stock

We see a group of buyer that is actually growing steadily: first-time buyers.

It is estimated that the number of first-time buyers has reached 359,001 in 2017. So at 6% increase continuing a six-year upward trend.

First-time buyers now account for a whopping half of all house purchases with a mortgage.  Therefore up from 14% just ten years ago.

And this happened even before the abolition of stamp duties for the first-time buyer on properties below £300,000, which positive effects are still too immature to be properly analyzed.

What can we recap in regards to the market health?

January is never a bright month for properties. Besides the cheaper mortgage rates and the abolition of stamp duties.

So, therefore, buyers prefer to wait for spring and summer to actively look for properties to buy.

Price growth will also increase steadily, as a result of the higher demand. But the lack of larger stock can also result in leaving buyers with empty hands.

 

16 Places that will make you fall in love with London!

Check out places that you will certainly fall in love and never leave these places in London.

ISABELLA PLANTATION – RICHMOND PARK

Isabella Plantation_Richomd_Park_London

Isabella Plantation is a picturesque woodland garden that just popped out of a fairy tale! Watching south-west Londoners mistake chugging around Richmond Park in their 4x4s for a day in the country isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but the traffic-free Isabella Plantation is a real oasis. Established during the 1950s, the ornamental woodland garden consists of clearings, ponds, streams and is planted with ferns, exotic trees, shrubs. It’s particularly striking during April and May when the azaleas and rhododendrons put on their annual show.

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2

ST DUNSTAN-IN-THE-EAST -DUNSTAN

St Dunstan-in-the-East

St Dunstan-in-the-East was a Church of England parish church on St Dunstan’s Hill, halfway between London Bridge and the Tower of London in the City of London. The church suffered some damages during the Second World War and the infamous London Blitz. It is now one of London’s secret gardens. One of the last Blitz-damaged buildings left in the United Kingdom, overgrown with trees, ivy, and wall climbing flowers growing amongst the ruined arches, it’s a poignant living memorial to the horrors of the Blitz and a testament to the resilience of the City of London which survived it.

St Dunstan-in-the-East

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3

KENWOOD HOUSE – HAMPSTEAD

Kenwood House is nestled on top of the hill of Hampstead Heath, a beautiful ancient wood in North London.  A graceful former stately home, Kenwood offers a tranquil respite from the bustle of the capital in its landscaped gardens and grand interiors. Our range of stylish gifts – created exclusively for English Heritage – evokes this graceful ambiance, and includes beautifully packaged confectionary, elegant chinaware and fine leather goods inspired by Kenwood’s breath-taking architectural beauty.

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4

DAUNT BOOKS – MARYLEBONE

Calling the book lovers! Daunt Books in Marylebone will make Belle turn green with envy!

The Marylebone branch of the famous Daunt Books chain will make you step back in time and get lost through the wooden interior and floors of books.

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5

BARBICAN CONSERVATORY

Are we still in London?

Yes! Welcome to the Barbican Conservatory: the second largest conservatory in London. It’s the house more than 2,000 species of plants, trees, terrapins and koi carps. Your way out of the traffic of London to find your corner of tranquility.

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6

HIGHGATE CEMETERY – HIGHGATE

Wind your way up the snaking path through the looming trees to the Highgate Cemetery and see the immense gothic tombs and memorials. Highgate is one of the most famous monumental cemeteries of London and shows some of the most impressive masterpieces in the funeral industry. Here you will find the mortal coils of famous people, including Karl Marx, Malcolm McLaren and more.

It’s dead good.

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7

LITTLE VENICE

Cruise the canals as you were in Venice.

This tranquil area, just north of Paddington, is romantic as the Italian city we all love. You can enjoy a tour through the canals with a narrowboat that will lead you straight to Camden Locks, a spot of water-borne theatre on the Puppet Theatre Barge, or eat on one of the many fish restaurants, cafes and deli dotting the docks.

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8

LEIGHTON HOUSE MUSEUM – KENSINGTON

East and Wets meet each other in this opulent house in Kensington. The painter Frederic, Lord Leighton commissioned the architect and designer George Aitchison to build him a combined home and studio. The result is this stunning abode combining Oriental and aesthetic interiors. The House is today a museum, displaying works of art by various members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, including John Everett MillaisEdward Burne-Jones, and George Frederick Watts, as well as 81 oil paintings by Leighton himself.

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9

LEE VALLEY WHITE WATER CENTRE – WALTHAM CROSS

The Lee Valley’s White Centre is a white-water slalom center, that was constructed to host the canoe slalom events of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Today is the must go place for extreme sports lovers: from wacky white water rafting on the Legacy Loop to playful paddling on the lake, there’s plenty to keep both the little kids and big kids entertained all year round.

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10

RUISLIP LIDO – RUISLIP 

Who needs to go to the Caribbean when you have the seaside in London?

Ok, maybe you will not find the golden beaches and the tropical breezes, but you can still find your spot in the sun without leaving Zone 5. The lido is set on Ruislip Wood and boasts a 60-acre lake, sandy beaches, and even a miniature railway. On sunny days, this little secret lido will offer you breathtaking panoramas, sunbathes, picnics areas and much more. For your furry friends, there are also areas dedicated to dog walking.

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11

KYOTO GARDENS – HOLLAND PARK

Konnichiwa!

One of the most interesting things about London is the melting pot that this city can create. Influenced by so many cultures, it’s not surprising to find several spots dedicated to different countries in the world. Known for its colorful blossom trees, the Kyoto Garden is also home to a rock waterfall, a pond with some pretty koi carp, and of course, Holland Park’s famous peacocks.

The Kyoto Garden was donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto, in recognition of the Japan Festival held in London in 1992 — including the first international sumo wrestling competition at the nearby Royal Albert Hall.

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12

MUSEUM OF BRANDS, PACKAGING & ADVERTISING – NOTTING HILL

Tucked just off Portobello Road, the museum of brands, packaging & advertising stored over 12,000 objects we all are very familiar with. You will find wrappers, toys, posters and general collectibles arrange in date order to nicely guide you through a trip down memory lane.

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13

NEAL’S YARD – COVENT GARDEN

One of the most colorful street in London where buildings are sporting all of the colors.  This pedestrian square is in Covent Garden and is a favourite for residents for a pick-me-up or a lovely lunch.

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14

ROMAN BATHS – BILLINGSGATE & THE STRAND 

London was founded by the Romans and we can still find many traces of their remains, including these beautiful baths just next to the Strand.

Lower Thames Street is home to one of Roman London’s most fascinating remains. The Billingsgate Roman Bathhouse was discovered in 1848 and is now open for public inspection. It’s remarkable how the baths managed to survive despite bombings, wars, and developments. The foundations were also used to support a Victorian bath that was regularly frequented by Charles Dickens.

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15

BATHING PONDS – HAMPSTEAD HEATH

Hampstead Heath is definitely extraordinary and also hosts some ponds where you can swim.

There are 3 ponds in total: two for single sex and one for mixed bathing. These ponds are fed by the headwater springs of the River Fleet, and three of them are now large freshwater swimming ponds — two designated single sex, and one for mixed bathing. The swimming ponds are three out of some thirty ponds in total on Hampstead Heath. They were originally dug in the 17th and 18th centuries as reservoirs and now grants some fresh entertainment to Londoners during the hottest days.

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16

WILTON’S THEATRE – EAST END

Wiltons is the oldest surviving hall in the world still is still operating. Several performances, films and photo shooting are actually finding their stage in this decadent and sometimes melancholic theater every year. You can find the Wilton’s Music Hall in  London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

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Obsessed with fashion? You will fall in love with the beauty and opulence of the new Versace Tower.

London_Aykon_Dubai_Development

The AYKON London One is the new development rising in Nine Elms developed by Damac, the leading luxury Dubai developer, and internally designed by the Italian fashion brand Versace.

AYKON London One is valued at £590 million and is scheduled for completion in 2020 and around sixty percent of the apartments have been pre-sold. The tower is located in Vauxhall, ideally connected to Central London. It will consist of 450 apartments (from one to three bedrooms). Each flat is a eulogy to elegance and glamour and each of them will feature winter gardens, wooden floor, marble bathrooms and panoramic views over the city.

The developers also crafted are. as where the residents will have the possibility to meet and build a community. The building will contain just under 10,000 square feet of communal gardens, a”sky bridge”, gym ( fitted with Versace towels and punching bags), jacuzzi, pool, cinema, playground, and lounges,

London_Aykon_Dubai_Development

Interiors are designed by Versace, that will channel a Greek and Roman mythological theme across private and public spaces, using the iconic Medusa head logo ad gold and cream color scheme.

London_Aykon_Dubai_Development

The brand’s ‘V’ logo will be inlaid in marble at the entrance of every apartment.

To book your viewing and reserve yourself a piece of the Versace World in London, contact us today. Marylebone Properties International is proud to announce our collaboration with AYKON and Damac in offering to the London market these masterpieces of architecture in London.

London_Aykon_Dubai_Development

Game of Thrones

Hold yourself Game of Thrones is long over and, whilst we are still mourning the deaths of our favorite characters last seasons, we have to wait until 2019 to see the next and finale seasons of our favorite show.

Let’s our watch start and to kill the time you can think about decorating your own home with the colors of your favorite House. If you are feeling a little DIY, you can also do like Michele Clapton and use Ikea’s furry rag to create capes.

WINTERFELL

Courtesy of: Offgridquest

Especially when the temperature falls, you want to create a warm and cozy environment around you. Who can face better winter than our favorite House of the North? Follow the style of the Stark family and add extra fur in your room.

The contrast between warm colors and the iconic grey of the House will enlight an elegant allure to the house. And if you are lucky enough to have a fireplace in the house, just light it up to create a magic atmosphere.

 

KING’S LANDING

Cover your house in red and gold furniture and decoration and you will feel like being transported to the Red Keep. Kings’ Landing is now the home of the Lannister, then be bold and add rich crimson rugs, chandeliers, and rush for a lavish appeal.

HIGHGARDEN

London_Living_rom_conservatory

Though our journey through Westeros, here we are in Highgarden, the land of the Tyrells. In Highgarden the architecture and decor remember the nature and what better way to celebrate nature than bringing in plants and opt for natural elements such wood and straw? Make your conservatory the envy of the seven kingdoms, and be inspired by the decoration above!

DRAGON STONE

A living room for a Queen. Daenerys would give double thumbs up for a living room like this in the Targaryen’s castle of Dragonstone. Neutral colors and elegance are the styles you want to go for in this charming living room. Check if the furniture is fireproof, in case you wish to have a pet dragon…

Interior design: Ida Christofi

Marylebone Properties Idea 

 

The  5 scariest  places in  Central London

Carve the pumpkin, dress up the house for Halloween, embrace your inner child and wrap yourself in scary outfits (for inspiration, give a shout to Heidi Klum, the celebrity that means serious business when it comes to her spine-chilling fancy dress costumes).

London has the reputation of being the most hunted capital in the world for scariest palces. Since the Romans founded the first settlement, the city had passed through centuries of demolitions, tragic events (such as the brutal political’s murders of the Tower of London) and frighting moments for its citizens (think about the tragic victims of the world’s most infamous serial killer, Jack the Ripper).

The various stories that happened into the maze of London streets have created an intricated net of legends and through the years thousands of residents have witnessed spooky apparitions and phantoms floating in London streets.

Basically, in London, you are always 5 minutes away from a Costa or a ghost.

We will guide you today thought the 5 top scariest properties in London.

1 – THE GIRL OF KINGS CROSS STATION

 

London Tube is famous for its ghosts stories and almost every station and line is hunted by phantom trains or the spirits of those who perished there.

One of the spookiest stories is set in Kings Cross Station. Since 1988 the ghost of a young woman with long brown hair and modern clothing is spotted walking through the corridors of the station.

The lady is said to scream loudly with arms outstretched and when commuters try to approach to comfort her, she disappears into thin air. More creepily, people have heard her sobs when the platforms are empty, and others have smelled smoke curling out from underneath the escalators.

She is believed to be one of the victims of the infamous Kings Cross fire of 1987, the day when someone carelessly dropped a match on an escalator lighting a fire that killed 31 people. Today, the terrible memories of the fire still linger on in the form of the crying girl.

2 – THE GHOST OF THE HOTEL

 

Stephen King wrote:

“Hotel rooms are just naturally creepy places. … I mean, how many people have slept in that bed before you? How many of them were sick? So how many were losing their minds? Therefore, how many were perhaps thinking about reading a few final verses from the Bible in the drawer of the nightstand beside them and then hanging themselves in the closet beside the TV?”

He was right.

Hotels are impregnated with the stories of thousands of visitors every year and hold their secrets. Not surprisingly, hotels are also some of the most hunted places. For your spooky and lavish Halloween in London, we suggest the Langham Hotel and to book room number 333… if the reception will no dissuade you.

The Langham Hotel is located in Marylebone facing towards Regent’s Park.

Its patrons included Napoleon III, Mark Twain Oscar Wile, Antonin Dvorák and Arturo Toscanini. The architecture is inspired by the Florentine style and we highly recommend to dine at the fine restaurant, lavishly decorated with marble and flowers. The hotel also boasts the spirits of:

  • A German prince who jumped out of a fourth-floor window (described by BBC announcer, the late Ray Moore, as “beefy, with cropped hair, sporting a military-style jacket that buttoned up to the neck.” Frequently observed in the early morning hours walking through doors. Rated most active ghost at the Langham, with a particular penchant for Room 333.)
  • The spirit of a doctor who murdered his wife then killed himself while on their honeymoon. (Manifests as a silver-haired Victorian gentleman with cloak and cravat and, like all ghosts, has blank, staring eyes. Spotted in 1973 by BBC announcer James Alexander Gordon while he slumbered in Room 333. Only makes appearances in October.)
  • A man with a gaping wound on his face. (Tends to stick to the hallways.)
  • Emperor Napoleon III, who lived at the Langham during his last days in exile. (Now prefers the basement.)
  • A ghost who has a thing for tipping guests out of bed while they’re sleeping. (Once shook the bed in Room 333 with such enthusiasm that the occupant fled the hotel in the middle of the night.)
  • A butler saw wandering the corridors in his holey socks.
  • A footman in pale blue livery and powdered wig. (Spotted by, you guessed it, BBC staff. Presence often accompanied by a sudden drop in temperature.)

Room 333 seems to be the most active room, a favorite spot for the doctor and the prince who perished there.

3 – 50 BERKELEY SQUARE

Nestled in Mayfair, these gorgeous building is now headquarters of Maggs Bros. bookseller.

The attic of the building has a famous occupier: the spirit of a young lady who committed suicide, throwing herself from the top floor windows after being abused by her uncle. Her spirit is not at rest and it’s reported that she fancies taking the form of a brown mist to frighten people to death.

According to the legend, three people faced the fatal moment whilst staying in the attic and died because of the tormented spirit:

  • In 1872, Lord Lyttleton spend one night in the attic. The silence of the night was broken when he fired his shotgun to something. The next morning he was found dead but his cartridges disappeared.
  • In 1897 a maid stayed overnight in the attic, became mad and died in an insane asylum the next day.
  • In 1887, sailors from the HMS Penelope stayed overnight but one of them was found dead in the morning. Apparently, he lost his balance whilst running away from a mysterious presence.

4 – THE GHOST IN THE MUSEUM

The Handel House Museum is based in Mayfair, in 25 Brook Street, and is dedicated to the works of George Frederic Handel, the German-born baroque composer who lived here from 1723 until his death in 1759.

The staff has reported the presence of the ghost of a lady, leaving behind her a strong line of perfume. She is believed to be one of the only two women known to have visited the housein all palces. While Handel lived there were two fiery sopranos, Faustina Bordoni or Francesca Cuzzoni.  Who viewed to perform in his operas.

The late rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix once said he thought he saw a ghost in the house next door, where he lived in the late 1960s.

The Handel House Trust has contacted a Roman Catholic priest who carried out the ritual in the bedroom where the composer died and the ghost has been seen, to avoid visitors to be frightened.

5 – THE RESIDENTS OF THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL

The Royal Albert Hall’s scary line might have started with its creation. It stands on the site of Gore House the former home of Marguerite. Instead of  Countess of Blessington (1789-1849).  Whose extravagant lifestyle led to her bankruptcy causing her to abandon England for Paris. Therefore where she died in poverty.

After having been transformed into a disastrous flamboyant restaurant. In the Royal Commissioners for the Great Exhibition purchased the property. So demolished the house and built the Albert Hall, in commemoration of Prince Albert on the site.

The Hall has a good group of ghosts in places not leaving the theatre during night and day…

The first is Henry Willis ‘Father Willis’ who designed the 150-ton organ. That with an impressive 9,000 pipes was the largest ever when built. His ghost, dressed in Victorian clothing has been seen wandering around the Hall at night.

The other specters are more controversial and are based upon a local tradition. So that Gore House was temporarily used as a brothel prior to its demolition.  Each November, two “Ladies of the night,” dressed in Victorian costume. Which are said to roam along the upper gallery level and are seen walking into one of the toilets?

Their arms are linked and they remain oblivious to any comment made by those who encounter them. Indeed, as one employee at the Hall put it, “it is as though they are walking in their time, not ours.”

 

The Government wants to make cheaper and faster the process of buying property in England and wants to hear from you!

 

The Government has launched a new hearing to understand better the relationship between the buyers and vendors, to make quick, cheaper and stress-free the process of buying and selling properties.

Until the 17th of December, the Government is calling for evidence to dig into the matter, asking consumers and industry experts to fill up a questionnaire where to explain their views in regards to the various aspects of buying and selling.

The includes the problem of gazumping, the practice where the seller accepts a higher offer after having accepted a first one from another buyer. It’s a controversial habit that causes the loss of £270M each year due to failed transactions.

It results that 16% of the buyers are actually concerned that, although they place an offer, the vendor can keep market the property and accept higher offers from a different buyer (gazumping), leaving the first one with nothing. Not surprisingly, it emerges the lack of trust between buyer and vendor.

The survey also enlights how lethargic the buying process in England and Wales is.

In these parts of the U.K.

The Law Society’s Conveyancing Protocol lays out 70 steps and procedures. So to bring a sale to its conclusion. But it only takes a single issue to hold up the entire transaction in England. And Wales or cause it to fall through completely.

A Government survey carried out on 2,000 buyers and sellers people reveals the 62% of buyers and 69% of the sellers have experienced delays in closing a transaction, missing deadlines agreed with the other party and generating useless stress and worry.

It can take up to several months to complete a sale in the England and Wales, yet just 5 days in Scotland. Something must be changed.

The solution can come from technology.

Technology helped already the property search and now buyers can look for properties. So through a smartphone, browsing social media and can receive immediate updates. Therefore in relating new instructions, signing for newsletters.

Technology did not impact the conveyancing side yet and the Government aims. Instead to introduce innovative digital solutions, bringing also the Land Registry into the new digital world.

E-conveyancing will become available. With the capability to have data promptly accessible online. So such as property leases, restrictions, covenants, giving the possibility to speed- up the buying process.

The Government is also willing to introduce lock-in agreement,

proposing a financial penalty if either party backs out. The stronger commitment to complete the purchase could also limit the risk of gazumping.

If you want to be part of the Government’ survey, just click here.

Ever been a “victim” of gazumping of ever experienced a delay with the purchasing process? Let us know your experience writing a comment below.

Or let us know what you think the Government could do to seed the process up.

 

 

Everything you need to know about renting a commercial property.

 

When you are renting a commercial property, most of the time, you will have to consider to acquire the lease from an existing tenant. Transferring a lease can be a long process requires three parties to be involved (you, vendor and landlord) and it’s important to grips with what is required at an early stage, to learn the legal terminology, the documents you will be asked and how to prepare a landlord’s pack, to pitch your project and describe yourself.

As an existing tenant, the seller is selling you the right to occupy the premises for the Term (which is the remaining length of time agreed on the original lease) and the landlord will have to approve you as a new tenant as well.

The Landlord will ask for references

in order to scrutinize your capability to honor the terms of the lease. The agent collects the references and will assist you organizing them carefully.

The references include passport, details f the company, bank account references, business plan, and details of the director of the limited company that will act as guarantor. Once the Landlord’s receive approval, she will also provide the vendor with a Licence to Assign signed by the buyer, landlord, and seller.

As you can see, this involves different parties: buyer, seller and Landlord and their own solicitor. It’s therefore crucial that the communication is smooth among the parties to avoid any delays, resolve queries and satisfactorily resolve conferences.

THE COSTS TO REASSIGN A LEASE

When you buy an existing lease. Than you will more likely have to pay a Premium. So which will buy you the fixtures, fittings, and goodwill in transferring the lease.

The parties will also have to appoint a solicitor. We always advise our clients in asking for a fixed price for their lease fees, in order to have a certain degree in controlling to legal costs involved and avoid a massive bill.

There are also some further costs you have to consider, which includes:

  • Rent Deposit – It’s a further security for the Landlord and is equivalent to 3/6 months of rent.
  • Land Registry and other searches fees – the amount is usually between £500 and £3,000.
  • Fee for Notice of Assignment – this document confirmed to the Landlord the date the legal transfer took place and costs around £50.
  • Landlord’s Legal Fee – the costs for the Landlord’s solicitor due to be part of the negotiation are due to be paid by the buyer, which can split the costs with the seller as part of the negotiation. The money will be wired upfront as the Landlord will require an undertaking the funds are held on account and that their costs will be paid before they instruct their solicitor to undertake any work on the matter.

HOW DOES THE TRANSFER WILL HAPPEN?

As soon as we instruct the buyer and seller’s solicitor. Therefore they will work on the due diligence to ascertain the health of the business. And they will draft the Sale Purchase Agreement. Industry standard forms as CPSEs (Commercial Property Standard Enquiries) are for this purpose.

Other required documents are The Licence to Assign. The Deed of Assignment (for unregistered leases) or Transfer (for registered leases). The Rent Deposit Deed and Authorised Guarantee Agreement (they might be also incorporated into the Licence to Assign).

Once the buyer has received responses to all

of the enquiries in regards to the business and premises and any other resolving queries . So the drafts and legal documents are in place.Therefore the parties can exchange contracts and at the point. And they are legally obliged to conclude the deal.

Exchange and completion can happen the same day. But usually, completion takes place a few days after to complete some. So other formalities including the payment of Stamp Duty Tax and registration at the Land Registry.

 

Do you have other questions in regards to how to transfer a lease? Leave a comment below and our team will come back to you with the answers you need.

The Help To Buy Scheme: the Government solution to help you buy your house.

The Help to Buy Scheme opens the door to buy your house in England.

It has been crafted to assist hard workers in jumping on the property ladder and includes the Help to Buy: Shared Ownership and Help to Buy: Equity Loan. In this guide, we’ll investigate the various aspects of the Equity Loan.

Please note, this guide will cover the various aspects of the Help to Buy in England only. Some aspects might differ in Scotland and Wales and it’s not available in Northern Ireland.

The Help to Buy Scheme: Equity Loan will be available in England until 2021.

WHAT’S THE HELP TO BUY SCHEME: EQUITY LOAN?

The Help to Buy: Equity Loan is a Government scheme tailored to help first-time buyers and homeowner to buy a new-build house up to a maximum value of £600,000. 

Successful applicants are able to receive an Equity Loan from the Government up to 20% of the full price of the house, and up to 40% if the house is in London.

A minimum deposit of 5% is required and you will be able to secure a mortgage for the remaining 75% or 55% if you are buying in London. Furthermore, Equity Loans are interest-free for the first 5 years.

WHAT PROPERTY CAN I BUY THROUGH THE SCHEME?

The Scheme is applicable to new-build homes from specific builders participating in the scheme. The value of the property must be £600,000 or less.

AM I ELIGIBLE?

You are eligible if you are buying a house in England which value os £600,000 or less and you can afford to pay a deposit of at least 5% of the total value.

Homeowners and first-time buyers can participate in the Scheme, but the house must be your only residence and you must be eligible for a standard mortgage on the part of the property not founded by the depositor Equity Loan. The mortgage must be provided by Help to Buy Lenders.

WILL I BE THE OWNER OF THE PROPERTY?

The Government will own a stake in the property until you pay the loan in full or sell the house.

HOW MUCH CAN I BORROW FROM A LENDER?

The mortgage element of 4.5 times your household incomes will determinate how much you can borrow. The lender must also be informed about your monthly costs, such as mortgage repayments, service charges and fees that cannot account for more than 45% of the net disposable income.

The loan repayment must be a repayment mortgage of at least 25% of the purchase price.

The Scheme is nor allowing interest-only mortgages.

WHAT COSTS SHALL I TAKE IN ACCOUNT?

The Scheme will require you to pay management fees of £1 each month (paid through Direct Debit) and interest fees after 5 years. You should budget yourself according to mortgage repayments, services charges if you buy a flat, Council Tax, bills, building an insurance and life insurance.

WHEN DO I PAY THE LOAN BACK?

You can repay chunks of your loan at any point. Each payment must be at least 10% of the prevailing market value, so if the house value increases from £200,000 to £220,000 you will pay back at least £22,000.

If the value of the property changes, you will need to take this into consideration. You will have to pay back the same share of the property. So then if the loan of the Government is 20%. Than you will pay back 20% of the value of the property according to the prevailing value.

The good news is that if the market contracts and the value decreases, you will pay back a lower amount.

CAN I STILL SELL THE HOUSE?

If you use the scheme to buy in England. Therefore you will receive 80% of the prevailing property value covering the mortgage. And cash deposit and the remaining 20% will be paid back on the Equity Loan.

IS THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS?

The Scheme has been crafted for buyers willing to live in the property. You cannot let your property until you have repaid the loan in full.

HOW CAN I APPLY?

You can check the official website that will guide you through the different steps of the application. Please remember that the help to Buy is availabel only frmo house builders that offers the scheme.

 

 

 

 Are you thinking to sell your property? Check out our Ultimate Guide to selling it quickly and maximize the purchasing price.

1 – VALUATION

 

The first step in achieving a successful sale is to know exactly what the value of your property is. Get in touch with us today for a FREE and DETAILED valuation of your home. Our team will arrange an appointment at your suitable time to sit and understand your aspirations over timescales and what value you are trying to achieve.

Our local experts have extensive knowledge of the areas we are working on. When it comes down to evaluating your property, we put your interests as our priority.

Your property is your most valuable asset and our job is to preserve its value in the long term.

We use our knowledge and expertise to offer you an honest appraisal for sales and lettings, analyzing a wide array of aspects such as the market demand and supply, location and local amenities.

You are willing to have a savvy consultant sitting next to you to guide you through the property market with her expertise to prepare a strategy in regards to price and pitching your property to the right audience.

Marylebone Properties International offers a “no obligation and no pressure” valuation. Selling your home is one of the biggest financial decision you can make and we know you want to think about it carefully.

 

2 – PREPARING THE PROPERTY 

Once you have decided to offer your property to the market, we suggest to present it in the best possible way to attract more buyers. Some new furniture, tidying up the garden or a fresh lick of paint will make the magic in catching more attention.

Sometimes, you need more than some DIY or refreshing the walls. If you think that your home needs some refurbishment, get in touch today with our team that will offer a cost-effective and bespoke service to add more value to your property.

Even when the property is fresh and decorated you should aim to keep it on top of cleanliness, dusting and decluttering every day, tidying up the kids’ toys in case the of unexpected viewings. Dust and dirt can give the impression that further works are required and they can scare potential buyers.

Get rid of the things you don’t need anymore, such as that old piece of furniture left in the backyard to collect dust.

Decluttering your home can also speed up the selling process. Contact the Council to remove large items, sometimes it is for free, or think about offering some pieces to the local charity.

To improve the experience of the buyers that will visit your home, why don’t you light up some scented candles or open the windows for some fresh air? Some smalls tricks can let the buyer envision herself inside the house, making it hers.

You have also to decide what to include in the sale. Usually, fixtures and fittings are included, but in the case of moveable things, you can open room for negotiation.

Give your agent some useful documents and facts about your property which they can mention and show to any potential buyer:

  • Gas and electrical certificate checks.
  • Building regulations certificates.
  • Council tax, utility, buildings, and contents insurance bills – so potential buyers can estimate running costs.
  • Service charges and ground rent bills (for flats).

Some other documents that might be appealing to buyers and can speed up the conveyancing process are Environmental Searches (flood risk, radon level…) and a Home Condition Report (also if possible the buyer will still wish to have her own survey done).

 

3 – IT IS TIME TO MARKET THE PROPERTY

 

Ready for the first viewings?

When you have decided to sell your property, we will arrange a suitable time for you for the photo shooting.

Nowadays people’s attention is captured by the photos and their decision will be driven by the images first and then by the description of the property. It is a good tip to present the rooms at their best, decluttering and putting in the storage the things you don’t really need to be around.

We can also assist you in preparing some other documents that are vital for the marketing, such as EPC and floor plan.

Then we will prepare the description of your property, to attract the interest of any potential buyer.

Our description will never be like the ones you see with the other agencies. Storytelling helps us to truly understand the unique characteristics of your property and helps people in figuring themselves living there.

Once the marketing copies are ready, we will advertise your property on the major marketing portals: ZooplaPrime Location, major newspapers such as The Times, Telegraph, MailOnline and our phone will start ringing soon after the listings are live.

We will also call, email and text all of our buyers that are looking for a property like yours. All of our applicants are carefully scrutinized, in order to propose your property only to people that are keen on buying.

 

4 – VIEWING TIME

 

After a few days, your property is listed, we will book in for the first viewings. We will always call you before a viewing, even if the property is empty and you are not living there. And we will never go to the property without being not announced.  So we don’t want to surprise you getting out of the shower and we are sure you don’t want the same as well.

To arrange the viewings, you can also leave us the property’s keys to arrange viewings quicker. Of course, the keys will be kept secure and safe and we will never put the address of your house on the tag, just to add further precaution.

Please inform us if there is any pet in the property.

Just to let us know if we need to bring some bones to be friend with your dog.

We will also accompany our clients to viewings and for your and our own security, we will collect as many information as we can about them. After each viewing, we will follow the applicants to understand the outcome.

Sometimes we will receive a negative feedback and, even if frustrating, this information can be useful to understand what they did not like about the property and we can resolve objections to guarantee a better outcome next time.

Buying a property is definitely a big step and crucial financial decision. People interested in a property will usually schedule again for a second viewing. In these cases, it can also be useful for you to meet them to answer some of their questions about the quality of the life in the area. Your negotiator will advise you on what is best in these circumstances.

 

5 – RECEIVING THE OFFERS

 

If you are selling your property through an estate agent, then any interested parties must make an offer through them. If there is more than one interested party, your agent will keep you up to date with competing offers.

You don’t have to choose the highest bidder; you should consider your aims and how this relates to the buyer’s situation. If you want to move quickly, a chain free first-time buyer or someone who has already sold their property may be the best option.

 

6 – CONVEYANCING

 

Conveyancing can be a long and exhausting process and we strongly advise our clients to employ either a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to do it for you.

When you are choosing the conveyancer you are willing to work with, we advise to collect at least three conveyancer quotes. Ask your friends, your real estate agency or also your family if they can introduce you to a good solicitor.

When you are meeting them, ask all the questions that are running through your mind and inform them when you would like to exchange contracts and complete. Compare the quotes and also try to negotiate a no sale – no fee deal so that if the deal falls through, you will have to pay nothing.

Conveyancing is very time consuming and complex, so you will need to employ either a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to do it for you.

Once you have hired a conveyancer, you will need to provide some basic information, such as your mortgage roll number or your ID. The conveyancer will also ask you to fill a questionnaire about the property, covering points such as the boundaries, if you have had any dispute with the neighbors.

It is a legal requirement and all of the conveyancers will ask for these documents. Prepare them beforehand.

 

7 – EXCHANGE THE CONTRACTS

 

Exchanging the contracts is the final step of the legal process after which the buyer cannot pull out anymore.

The buyer and seller sign the contract by both parties and provided to the respective conveyances.

In this step, completion, the date of completion is usually set. Normally it’s two weeks after the exchange date, in order to let the seller arranging for the removal of her belongings. Once the agreed price is paid, your conveyancer will inform the agency, in order to give the keys to the new owner.

Even at this point, try to be careful and check if the conveyancer’s completion statement is reflecting the original quotation.

 

8 – TIME TO MOVE OUT

 

You are now ready to start a new chapter of your life in a new house. Organising your moving out in advance will reduce stress and make it easier.

Let’s make this as smooth as possible.

If you need a removal firm to transport your belongings to your new house,  your friends or neighbors can offer some recommendations. They might have been in this situation before you and can advise about the best removal companies in the area.

Organise yourself. When you are moving your belongings from a place to another, you will need to schedule days in advance to avoid the stress of the very last minute and to squeeze everything on the last day, without being surrounded by piles of boxes.

This can also be the time to clean the house, decorating or doing some works. And of course to plan what to do with the last things you are not in need to bring with you.

We suggest avoiding Mondays and Fridays.

These are the busiest days of the week for moving and the traffic will be massive.

Remember to take records of the meter readings on your moving-out day. You will need these to close your current accounts. You can also set up to redirect to a few weeks before your move out of the property with the Royal Mail. In order to do not lose your letters and also to safeguard yourself against identity theft.

The Internet is now an important element of our life. Then, plan in advance to start your contract with a provider and also an installation date, in order to avoid to be on the new property without any connection.

 

9 – CELEBRATE

 

Now it is the time to celebrate.

We sold the old house and now you are settling in the new house. Congratulations!

Write the chapter in your life. Noas the perfect time.

11 Steps to Buy Your House – The Complete Guide by Marylebone Properties

Thinking about buying a new house? If you are about to climb the property ladder, follow this guide to successfully have the keys to your next house.

1 – BUDGET

Before starting your Property Search, budget yourself. In this step, you have to consider not only the price to purchase the property but also Stamp Duties, solicitor and surveyor fees, ground rent and service charges if you are thinking about buying a flat.

If you need a mortgage, it’s also crucial finding the right product for you. Please, contact us at 020 77 23 23 24 or email to info@mpiestate.com, if you wish one of our mortgage consultants to get in touch with you.

It’s always better to start your property market journey with a mortgage agreed in principle, in order for you to know exactly how much money you can borrow.

2 – LET’S START THE JOURNEY.

Now the finance is in place, let’s start with looking for your next house. Give a look at our portfolio of properties or contact us. Our property consultants will assist you in screening our opportunities and shortlisting the properties matching your criteria.

Once we understand your requirements, we will propose you the property matching your criteria. If the property you are looking for is not with us yet, we will try to find exactly what you’re looking for and we can call you, email and text you everything some new properties are available.

Of course, we will do it only with your permission.

3 – VIEWING TIME

When it comes down to arrange a viewing you will see how flexible we are. The life in London is always busy and for this reason, we always try to work around your clock and to arrange viewings at your convenient time. Our office is open from Monday to Saturday and we arrange appointments (with the vendor’s consent) also after office hours.

The first impression is crucial but we also recommend a second viewing, preferably at a different time of the day, to have a better understanding of the characteristics of the property.

During the viewing, check also if the area if the one you are looking to live into. Transport links, local amenities, quality life, schools, the age of the property and also the type of neighbors are living there are important information and your property consultant will describe the area and answer your questions, in order to prepare all the details that might guide your decision.

4 – OFFER

You have found the property you wish to purchase and are ready to put down an offer. Our team will assist you in negotiating the terms and presenting it to the vendor. At this stage we might ask for some documents, such as proof of funds or a letter from the bank confirming your mortgage has been agreed.

Once the offer is accepted, it is time to start instructing the solicitor. Please note that both vendor and buyer are not legally obliged until the contracts are exchanged.

5 – THE OFFER’S BEEN ACCEPTED

Once the offer has been accepted, it will be the right time to instruct the solicitors. When you choose your solicitor, ask for referrals from your friends and ask for different quotes from solicitors.

We will prepare a memorandum of sale to be sent to all the parties to confirm the conditions of the offer. We will also ask the parties to confirm the documents and the solicitors will start exchanging crucial information, such as the details of the vendor and the buyer, details for the mortgage and of the property and the will do some local searches.

6 – SURVEY AND MORTGAGE OFFER

The mortgage lender will arrange for a surveyor to carry out a survey to understand the value of the property and check if there are any structural damages.

Once the mortgage valuation report is received. Than the lender will send a formal mortgage offer to your solicitor and you to sign it.

7 – EXCHANGE THE CONTRACTS

Exchanging the contracts is the final step of the legal process after which the buyer and vendor cannot pull out anymore.

The buyer and seller contracts must be signed by both parties and provided to the respective solicitors.

In this step, completion, the date of completion is usually set. Normally it’s two weeks after the exchange date, in order to let the seller arranging for the removal of her belongings. Once the agreed price is paid, the vendor will inform the agency, in order to give the keys to the new owner.

8 – TIME TO MOVE OUT

You are now ready to start a new chapter of your life in a new house. Organising your moving out in advance will reduce stress and make it easier.

Let’s make this as smooth as possible.
If you need a removal firm to transport your belongings to your new house. So  your friends or neighbors can offer some recommendations. They might have been in this situation before you. And can advise about the best removal companies in the area.
Organise yourself. When you will move your belongings from a place to another. Therefore you will need to schedule days in advance to avoid the stress of the very last minute and to squeeze everything on the last day.
This can also be the time to clean the house, decorating or doing some works. And of course to plan what to do with the last things you are not in need to bring with you.

We suggest avoiding Mondays and Fridays.

These are the busiest days of the week for moving. And the traffic will be massive. Remember to take records of the meter readings on your moving-out day.  You will need these to close your current accounts.
You can also set up to be redirected a few weeks before your move out of the property with the Royal Mail. In order to do not lose your letters and also to safeguard yourself against identity theft.
 The Internet is now an important element of our life. Then, plan in advance to start your contract with a provider. And also an installation date, in order to avoid to be on the new property without any connection.

9 – CELEBRATE

Now it is the time to celebrate.

The old house has been sold and you settled in the new one. Congratulations!

Write the new chapter in your life. Now is a perfect time.

11 Steps to Buy Your House – The Complete Guide by Marylebone Properties

Hey Students, are you thinking about renting a flat in London, whilst attending University? Check this ultimate guide to find your perfect house.

 

IT ALL STARTS WITH BUDGET

Renting in London can be expansive and it’s better for you to budget yourself very carefully. You have to consider the price of the rent and also the utilities: Council Tax, gas, electricity, water, gas, TV Licence (or Netflix) and the Internet. If you and all of your flatmates are students you won’t be in need to pay Council Tax and if you live with at least one person which is not a student you might be able to receive 25% discount on the bill.

CAREFUL IN CHOOSING YOU FLATMATES

You will have to spend a long time with your flatmates and it’s important to choose them carefully in order to leave peacefully and still be a focus on your studies. Different lifestyles are the main reason for conflicts within a house. It’s better to decide to live with people that are sharing common habits. If you are an early riser than maybe it’s better not to live with party animals.  So if you are methodic in cleaning, then it’s better not to live with messy people.

Then if you are moving in with people you knew before or your university colleagues, then it’s better to establish some rules from the beginning, in order to avoid clashes for incomprehension.

Once you have chosen the people you are willing to live with, it’s a good idea to put down a list of the things you are willing to have in the flats, deal-breaker such us the size of the room, parking spaces, breakdown of responsibilities, designating a guarantor for all of you, etc.

WHERE TO MOVE?

You might be willing to look for your new flat at the end of the first term of at the beginning of the second term, depending on your needs.

The main elements you have to consider when choosing the flat are proximity to your university and transport links, the presence of supermarkets, shops and especially the safety of the area.

Feel free to give a look to our selection of properties to find your dream house.

THE CONTRACT

Once you have found your flat and the landlord has accepted your offer, the agency will ask you for some documents, such as passport, proof of address and reference from your university in order to certify your identity. A reference check will also be complete in order to proceed with the preparation of the contract.

You might also be asked to have a guarantor, a person that will be liable to pay the rent if you fail to pay it on time. The guarantor is usually a member of the family or any adult that is at least 25 years old and owns a property.

The contract is a legally binding document and you have to read it carefully. If you have any doubts, the Student Unions can assist you in going through it.

The most common type of contract is the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) that will make all of the tenants jointly and severally liable. This means that all of you will be responsible for the total rent, not only a portion of it.

FEES

The agency will ask you to pay some fees in order to proceed with creating the contract.

Holding Fee: also called also Reservation Fee, the fee includes one week of rent and is due to secure the property and put it out of the market. This is not refundable unless the landlord decides not to proceed with the tenancy from reasons not related to you.

Admin Fee: the admin fee is due to be paid to the agency and covers the costs to prepare the tenancy agreement and run the reference check.

DEPOSIT

The deposit is usually equal to 4 or 6 weeks of rent and it’s refundable unless at the end tenancy some costs have to be deducted for damages occurred to the property or for rent arrears. The deposit will be also out into a Deposit Protection Scheme, according to the law, within 30 days since you’ve paid it.

CHECK IN – CHECK OUT REPORT

When the Tenancy starts and when it finishes, it’s important that you carefully read the Check in and check out the report, who will assure the conditions of the property when you move in and when you move out.

Check the property yourself and inform the agency if you see any damages not reported, otherwise you might be responsible for them at the end of the tenancy.

BILLS

You have to move the meter readings into your name. Inform the utility companies in regards to the change of residents and provide the meter readings and moving in date.

Always check if you can find any good discounts (all of the companies are providing them periodically) and provide the name of all of the tenant in order to share responsibility.

SAFETY

Your safety is important and according to the law, you must be provided with gas and electricity certificate. The property must also be provided with fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

MOVING OUT

Before moving out you have to be given two months notice to the agency which will eventually require your intention when the term is approaching. We will guide you through the necessary steps for your check out.

Before moving out, remember to clean properly the property (hiring a professional cleaner is usually recommended). And remember to call the utility companies to close your accounts.

Do you have any questions in regards to how to rent a property in London as a student? Get in touch with us or write a comment below. A member of our team will soon get in touch with you!

 

The clock is ticking and General Election will happen very soon. Marylebone Properties International has pooled the main parties manifestos to understand their orientations in regards to housing.

CONSERVATIVES

The Conservatives want to increase the supply of houses in the UK, remarking that not enough houses have been built in the last decades, making rental expensive and buying unaffordable for many British citizens. According to their manifesto, this is what they are planning:

 

  • Deliver one million homes by the end of 2020, further 500,000 by the end of 2022, achieving the commitment made in 2015.
  • Free more lands for new homes.
  • Allow Councils intervene when developers fail to act on planning permissions.
  • Collaborate on pre-development projects to build more social housing.
  • Arrange a new fixed-term social house, to see the property automatically to tenants, after 10 or 15 years under the Right To Buy scheme.

 

The Conservatives are also aiming to focus their effort on high-quality and high-density housing, such a mews, block mansions and terraced houses in order to increase the supply of houses.

The party is also favoring the aging population and the considerable property assets the elders have built up, proposing the value of family homes will be taken into account, whatever is a nursing care home or domiciliary provided by the Council. Older people will also retain at least £100,000 of their savings and assets and deferred payments for residential care. This means that nobody will have to sell their house to pay for care.

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

As proposed also in the Autumn Statement, Liberal Democrats are willing to ban tenant fees charged by letting agents and cup upfront deposit which can be more than 6 weeks.

They are also proposing the Rent to Own scheme, allowing private renters to gain increasing stake in the property through the rent payments and own it outright after 30 years.

In their manifesto, Liberal Democrats are also addressing the problem of shortage of housing, pleading to build 300,000 new houses, 1o new garden cities in England.

They are also proposing to:

 

  • Offer zero-carbon Homes.
  • Charge up to 200% council tax on second homes and the so-called buy-to-leave-empty investment bought by overseas investors.
  • Supporting local authority in investing in social and council housing, increasing the borrowing capacity and increasing the borrowing cap.
  • Penalise excessive land-banking, when builder failed to construct approved projects after 3 years.
  • Allow local authority to enforce housebuilding in public sector lands that are not in use for other purposes.

 

LABOUR

Labour is also concerned about the housing crisis. S0 willing to create a new Department of Housing in order to target and solve the issue.  The party is proposing to extend the Help to Buy Scheme until 2027. Therefore to give local resident first dibs on new homes built in their area. Than to reserve low-c homes for first-time buyers.

Labour are also conceding get rental markets. And proposing to make three-year tenancies the norm. And then place an inflation-linked cap on rent rises.  They are also following the guidelines of the conservative state of last Autun, proposing to ban tenants fees.

Their manifesto also claims they will build 100,000 council and housing association homes every year and scrap the controversial bedroom tax that applies to social housing.

Labour is considering the environment, proposing zero-carbon homes and a consultation on new rules for minimum space requirements.

The General Election will take place on the 8th of June.

What do you think about these proposals? Is it something realistic or just political rhetoric?

It’s General Election Time! – Post created by Marylebone Properties Internacional

CONVENIENCE STORES :

The convenience store has changed drastically in the last years as it’s n more the resilient sector people thought it was.

New researchers show the once called “Corner Shop” is actually one of the businesses impacting the local area the most, second only to Post Offices, which you often find also within them.

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) reported in their latest Local Shop Report that the total value of sales in the convenience sector exceeded £37bn for the 12 months to April 2016.

In the UK

there are over than 50,000 convenience shops, 70 %. Which independently owned and the remaining part is owned by corporate multiple operators.

The demand of convenience store is highly increasing. The demand is usually driven by potential sales and profits but other criteria are location, tenure, rent, accommodations above and lack of competition.

If you thinking about buying

a convenience store, you should also consider other criteria and not only the amount of the weekly sales. Consider also the profit and potential of the store.

In order to ascertain a purchase price, corporate retailers would assess the current sales. So they require rebranding the business in their future projections and what investment is.

Comparatively, the independent retailer would usually consider the current status of the business more than the future potential. In recent years, the convenience store leg of many supermarket chains has seen the biggest growth. Therefore in their overall business and therefore an appetite for more stores remains high throughout the UK.

Whether corporate or independent, the market remains strong for convenience stores of all different types. It just so happens to be stronger for ‘high sales’ resulting in a ‘higher sale price’.

If you are thinking about selling, just get in touch with us today for a free valuation.

Santorini will conquer your heart even before reaching the multicolored cliffs soaring over 300m from a sea-drown caldera. Soaring from the indigo Aegean Sea, Santorini is the gem of the Greece islands and a must-go destination for your holidays.

Santorini has the funny shape of a croissant. Centuries ago, it was called Strongili (the Rounded One) and was just another volcanic island in the Greek Sea. One day, the island was devastated by one of the most violent eruptions in human history, causing the island to collapse in the now-empty caldera and the sea rushed into it, leaving the current confirmation of the island.

Even today, the most popular tourist areas of Santorini are on the caldera-edge clifftops on the West side of the island, with the villages castells with the white-washed houses running up to the cliffsides and offering gasp-inducing views from land to sea.

The capital of Santorini is Fira, the vibrant capital where to find several clubs, bars, and restaurant. Fira is connected to Firostefani and Imerovigli, two charming villages that you can easily reach by walk.

The path running through the villages is lined with upmarket hotels, restaurant terraces, and endless overlooks where to shoot marvelous photos of Santorini. 11 km away from Fira, you will find Oia (pronounced Ia), the most famous city of Santorini, for its quiet life, impressive views over the cliffs, sea and the volcano of Palia.

It’s a traditional village where tourism and fishing are the most relevant activities (don’t forget to try delicious fresh fish at the local restaurant!). Oia is for the plethora of art galleries and the beautiful churches with white facades and light blue roofs.

WHEN TO GO?

Santorini_Greece_Villa_Holidays

 

The Cyclades, the group of the islands where Santorini is. Which are most enjoyable during late-spring to cherish the green landscaped. And summer certainly when the sea is warmer.  Autumn is a popular season for Santorini. So as the sea warm and the departure of the hordes. Therefore the tourists leave more time to enjoy the island quietly.

WHAT TO DO

Out the trainers on and walk to explore each corner of Santorini. Walking to the caldera edge is a fantastic opportunity to admire the views. Also to take your time to reach by footFira, Oia, and the other villages. Then to breathe the quintessence of this island. Indulge in yourself and reach the cliffs during sunset or sunrise. There to enjoy how the sun will brush Santorini with breath-taking colors.

Santorini is famous also for the production of dry white and amber-color wines, such as the dessert wine Vinsanto. The local vineyard can offer wine tasting offer some food altogether. Santowines, the Santorinicooperativee of small producers can offer you this experience. If you are a foodie, you can always try the many master chef classes around the area, where to learn how to cook the tasty Greek cuisine.

Santorini breathes history, being such an ancient island. Give a look to the Fira’s Museum of Prehistoric Thera. The Museum houses a very large number of ancient artifacts from various excavations on Santorini, such as at Akrotiri (southwest part of the island, located on a peninsula), and at the nearby Potamos site. Try also the Art Space, an art gallery hosted within the pumice rock – carved chambers of an old winery.

WHERE TO STAY

Thinking about going to Santorini for your holidays? Break Free from the Grey London Sky and escape to Santorini with our Promotion. Today we offer 2 amazing villas in Oia with a 10% discount. The offer is valid until the end of April for the stays. And for the Summer Season 2017 (April 2017 – November 17).

Book Villa Calliope, offering infinity views to the deep blue waters of Caldera, with a beautifully decorated terrace, where you can enjoy your breakfast or your dinner, relax at the sunbeds all over the day and enjoy this unique scenery of Santorini that is unfolded in front of your eyes!

TAKE ME TO VILLA CALLIOPE

Otherwise, pamper yourself in the romantic Ivory Suite:

TAKE ME TO THE IVORY SUITE

Explore our exclusive selection of Holidays accommodations, clicking here.

 

 

The unexpected decision of Theresa May. That to go to the polls in June has pushed forward another variable into the property market. But experts are optimistic…

As real estate agents ourselves, we wondered how this will influence the property market in the short term and a new research published by Zoopla shows that the election could actually give the market a boost and concerns in regards to a significant negative impact are without grounds.

Theresa May is going to the poll. Therefor the reason that the Brexit negotiation must be carried out by a strong parliamentary consent. And opposition parties and the House of Lords have indicated they might oppose the Government already.

The election will allow the Government

to have a bigger majority to make quicker and definitive decision during the negotiation with EU. The Prime Minister will also in need to set out a clear vision for Brexit as part of her electoral campaign and this could dissipate the current uncertainty surrounding UK’s future outside EU.

Understanding the role of UK in the future world scenario will generate a stronger economy where decision maker will be safer and more determined to invest, also in the property market.

According to the new research,

57% of sellers said they would go ahead with their decision, with only 18% willing to wait until the election to sell properties. Also, buyers are looking to the future positively, with 59% of them not putting their plans on hold.

Jeremy Leaf, former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said: “…if the result is decisive either way, that will give the Government a greater mandate for its existing policies and is likely to result in a surge in activity in the housing market at least for the honeymoon period afterwards.”

How do you think the General Election will affect the Property Market? Let us know by posting a comment in the section below…

5 Things you want to replace before renting your house

The other day I had a chat with one of our clients who recently bought a property in Marylebone as an investment and was willing to rent it out. The property is a marvelous 2 bedroom flat in Bell Street, very close to Marylebone Station.

He did not have any problems with renting it quickly, as the Marylebone market is strong and we received the offer after a coupla of days we put the property on the market.

Before starting to market the property,

our landlord asked us if we thought he needed to do some works in the property. Definitely, he did not need any cosmetic work, as the property was immaculate, but we offered some advice in regards to what you can do when it’s time to rent a property and we came out with this small guide for you.

Some fixes are not needed definitely. You have spent a consistent amount of money to buy the property and you don’t need to invest extra capital unless you have already had cash flow.

For some other fixes, maybe it’s better not to be too reluctant and to act shortly, in order to give you a piece of mind whilst sleeping.

Here is our top list of the 5 things you have to consider replacing or upgrading, before putting the property on the market for rental.

 

1 – TOILET

The toilet can be the largest money drain for your property and the first thing you want to take care of.

You will surprise in discovering how much a water bill can raise when even a small water leaking is undetected for a long time: more than 10 times the normal usage. Not kidding.

The reasons are that a leaking toilet runs water 24 hours a day non-stop. The potential damage can be massive, especially as you will be in charge of the water bill until you find a tenant.

We don’t advise to completely change the toilet, but replacing the toilet system inside can be handy.

The job is easy. We are talking about a couple of hours of work and less than £50 to buy a flapper, fill valve, bolts and other things, and voila! The toilet will not be a problem anymore. Google can also help you here and give you advice in regard to fixing the toilet quickly.

 

2 – LOCKS

The locks can be fully functional but maybe you still want to change them.

You don’t know how many people lived in the property before and if they still keep a copy of the keys.

For safety, it is always better to change them and to give you a piece of mind.

Maybe you have more properties in your portfolio, so can you can simply save money with a simple trick: recycle lock from different properties time to time, when you have new tenants moving in and out.

 

3 –  LIGHT BULBS

Electricity bills can be high. When you add long lasting and energy saving light bulbs, you see that the bills will be lighter and new bulbs will avoid being called shortly with a “please change the light bulbs as soon as possible”.

 

4 -FIRE EXTINGUISHER, MONOXIDE DETECTOR, FIRE ALARMS.

Safety is the king.

Install a whole new set of smoke alarms, fire extinguisher, and monoxide detector and you will not have to worry about them for years (as long as the tenants don’t have fun with tampering them).

If you use battery alarms,  change the batteries time to time. When you go to inspect the property or your property manager does it, it’s a good idea to check the batteries all the time.

AOne of our favorite smoke alarm detector is the dual sensor (usually with both ionization and photoelectric sensors) that can detect slow smothering fires and fast spreading fires effectively.

 

5 – FURNITURE

If you are renting a property furnished, you want to make sure the furniture is in good conditions and not broken.

The tenants are in need to live peacefully in the flat and are in need of good quality furniture.

If the furniture is your flat is old and not in good conditions, you might consider investing in some pieces of furniture, going to Argo’s or Ikea to buy some quality and cheap products.

 

LET’S WRAP IT UP

We have offered the best tips when you are willing to let a property you’ve just bought.

Let us know if we missed something.

The intention of this guide is to offer some advice to learn better how to maximize the property, making happier you tenants and removing some headaches.

Something new, something blue, something borrowed… such a mortgage?

A new research by Zoopla reveals that 40 percent of people in the UK now believe having a mortgage is a bigger commitment than actually getting married. The average couple would wait 3 years, 3 months and 12 days before committing themselves to a mortgage and buy a property together.

And what is the behavior during the property hunting?

Women are more likely to lead the property search, whilst men appear to be happier to stay in the background. Two third of interviewed men admitted they trust their partner to arrange.

So, therefore, to attend viewings even in their absence and 34 percent admitted they would also let the partner put an offer without having seen the property (only 19 percent of women would do the same).

When it comes down to go over budget, men are more likely to add an average of £10,385 on top. The portion is around 22 percent of men, against 7 percent of women.

Over a third of men ensured the property

has enough bedroom for future children (against 3o percent of women). And  23 percent considers the performance of local schools. So a fifth would consider if a property can be extended.

Buying a property together is a crucial milestone in a couple life. And this will bind them together for many years coming.  The property search can also be existing, but it is always better to be on the same page and compromising on some points, deciding if to go for refurbishment, how to plan the house for the future etc. Once the key details are agreed, the property hunting will be a funny and enjoyable experience.

Improve the appearance of your street when selling or buying.Potential Buyers

They say to do not judge a book by its cover… but we all do it.

When you are selling a house, the street appeal is one of the first things you want to take care. The first impression matters and your house must look great and well presented. Generate a WOW effect from the entrance.

FRESH IT UP

You can start with coloring the outside of the house with a modern color. If the painting is peeling off or the color is outdated, you can imagine that many people might turn the nose up.

 

Pick modern and natural colors and you will notice how you can appeal a bigger audience of potential buyers and the house will pop out from the other ones in the neighborhood. Picking a bold color is definitely more exciting it will fall out of fashion in a short time or attract attention for the wrong reasons.

WHAT ABOUT THE FENCE?

A broken, old, chipped fence is not a nice invitation to your house. Fix it and give it a fresh coat of paint. Try also to match the fence’s style with the house, to boost the character and style of the property.

 

A GARDEN WHERE TO ENVISION YOURSELF

Taking garden of the garden is the easiest task you can complete. Unless you want to offer an adventure to potential buyers coming to visit your house, I reckon it’s better not to make it look like it is a jungle.

Overgrown branches and bushes can obscure the house, making it look like less inviting. Start trimming back anything that is overgrown and clearing out the weed from the garden.

Planting some colorful flowers is a cost-effective and easy trick to create a great impact and nice atmosphere.

The lawn must also be clean and tidy. Spruce the garden and use some fertilizer to make it look like healthier.

DECLUTTERING

 

Nothing turns potential buyers off more than a garden and yard just covered with useless things. It doesn’t help them in envisioning in the house and gives the idea the house hasn’t been cleaned properly. It’s better to throw away old stuff or to offer them to a local charity. Move some of them into a storage. You will see that a clean garden will give the idea the area is larger and will accompany better the buyers in their journey into your house.

Landlord taxes are changing!

From the 6th of April 2017, some changes will take place in regard to how buy-to-let owners are taxed for the income gained on their properties. This will affect the tax reliefs that landlords of residential properties get for finance costs that will be restricted to the basic rate of Income Tax.

Currently, landlords can deduct allowable expenses (maintenance and repayment costs, insurance, water rates etc.) and their mortgage income from the taxable rental income.

From April there will be restrictions on how much of their mortgage payments they can deduct on the total amount and the new reductions will be applied gradually and phased out by 2020/2021.

A tax reduction equal to the basic rate of tax (currently 20%) will be then available and will lower of:

  • Finance Costs: all the costs not deducted from rental income in the tax year plus any finance costs brought forward;
  • Property Profits: after using any brought forward losses;
  • Adjustment of the total income that exceeds the personal allowance after losses and reliefs, excluding savings, pensions, and dividend.

You can not use  tax reduction to create a tax refund.

Will these changes affect me?

The changes will affect landlords with a mortgage falling into these categories:

  • Any UK resident letting residential properties in the UK or overseas.
  • Any non-UK resident letting properties in the UK and then taxable.
  • Landlords letting residential properties in partnership with others.
  • Trustees of a trust directly holding UK residential properties.

If you are a landlord offering furnished holidays accommodations or commercial properties.  Then these changes don’t affect you.

CAN YOU GIVE AN EXAMPLE?

Of course! We’re here to help.

Let’s present you have a rental income of £2,000 per month and your mortgage interest payments are £1,500 per month. Currently, you will have to pay taxes on the £500 difference.

When these changes implement. Than you will pay taxes on the full rental income of £2,000 minus allowable expense you can claim as a tax reduction at a maximum of 20%.

If you work, then your salary will be added to the rental income and the amount of taxes you pay might increase, pushing landlords to a higher tax bracket.

 

WHEN IS THIS HAPPENING?

The changes will be fully implemented in 2020 and the mortgage interest payment deductible from rental income will slowly change as follows:

  • Tax year 2017-2018: 75%
  • The tax year 2018-2019: 50%
  • Tax year 2020-20121: 0%
  • The tax year 2019-2020: 25%

If you any questions or you’re seeking further information. Please contact your financial advisor who will update you in regards to the upcoming tax changes for landlords.