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INTEREST RATE FORECAST

Published: 13/03/2017

At Pink Street our property experts forecast that the Bank of England will increase interest rates by 0.25% in May. In addition, we estimate interest rates will rise up to 1% by the end of 2019.

The Bank of England will increase rates gradually for a number of reasons, one of which being to protect the housing market, mainly because a lot of people have bought properties over the last 4 years during the country’s low interest rates and this will be the first time they’ll have to properly deal with continued interest rate increases.

That means mortgage payments will increase unless you’ve got a fixed rate.
Obviously, we can provide a quote for fixed rate mortgages and give advice on how to make sure you don’t suffer. Give us a call on 02392 864555 or email hello@pinkstreet.co.uk
. . .

5 Tips for Buy-to-Let

Thinking about investing in a buy-to-let property? Here’s Pink Street’s top five tips on how to do so…
 

1. Choose a promising area to invest in property

Promising does not mean most expensive or cheapest. Promising means a place where people would like to live, and this can be for a variety of reasons.
Where in your town has a special appeal? If you are in a commuter belt, where has good transport? Where are the good schools for young families? Where do the students want to live?
You need to match the kind of property you can afford and want to buy with locations that people who would want to live in those homes would choose.
These questions might sound overly simplistic, but they are probably the most important aspect of a successful buy-to-let investment
In most cases people tend to invest in property close to where they live. On the plus side, they are likely to know this market better than anywhere else and can spot the kind of property and location that will do well. They also have a much better chance of keeping tabs on the property.
Yet it is also worth bearing in mind that if you are a homeowner then you are already exposed to property where you live - and looking for a different type of home in a different area might be a good move. 

2. Do the maths on buy-to-let

Before you think about looking around properties sit down with a pen and paper and write down the cost of houses you are looking at and the rent you are likely to get.
Buy-to-let lenders typically want rent to cover 125 per cent of the mortgage repayments - often now 150 per cent - and most now demand 25 per cent deposits, or even larger, for rates considerably above residential mortgage deals.
The best rate buy-to-let mortgages also come with large arrangement fees.
Once you have the mortgage rate and likely rent sorted then you must be clinical in deciding whether your investment work out?
Don't forget to factor in maintenance costs.
What will happen if the property sits empty for a month or two?
These are all things to consider. Make sure you know how much the mortgage repayments will be and if it is a tracker allow for rates to rise.

3. Shop around and get the best buy-to-let mortgage

Do not just walk into your bank and building society and ask for a mortgage. It sounds obvious, but people who do this when they need a financial product are one of the reasons why banks make billions in profit.
It pays to speak to a good independent broker when looking for a buy-to-let mortgage. They can not only talk you through what deals are available, but they can also help you weigh up which one is right for you and whether to fix or track.
You should still do your own research though, so that you can go into the conversation armed with the knowledge of what sort of mortgages you should be offered.

4. Think about your target tenant

Instead of imagining whether you would like to live in your investment property, put yourself in the shoes of your target tenant.
Who are they and what do they want? If they are students, it needs to be easy to clean and comfortable but not luxurious.
If they are young professionals, it should be modern and stylish but not overbearing.
If it is a family, they will have plenty of their own belongings and need a blank canvas.
Remember that allowing tenants to make their mark on a property, such as by decorating, or adding pictures, or you taking out unwanted furniture makes it feel more like home.
These tenants will stay for longer, which is great news for a landlord.
It is also possible to take out an insurance policy against your tenant failing to pay the rent, usually known as rent guarantee insurance.

5. Don't be greedy, go for rental yield and remember costs

We have all read the stories about buy-to-let millionaires and their huge portfolios.
But while you may expect long-term house price rises, experts say invest for income not short-term capital growth.
To compare different property's values, use their yield: that is annual rent received as a percentage of the purchase price.
For example, a property delivering £10,000 worth of rent that costs £200,000 has a 5% yield.
Rent should be the key return for buy-to-let.


How to work out the return on your buy-to-let investment

Remember, if you are buying with a mortgage, rent-to-property price yield will not be the return you get.
To work out your annual return on investment subtract your annual mortgage cost from your annual rent and then work this sum out as a percentage of the deposit you put down.
For a £100,000 property that could rent for £500 per month, you would need a £25k deposit and roughly £2,000 in buying costs.
£75k mortgage at 5% interest rate = £312.50
£500 rental income x 12 = £6,000
Difference = £2,250
Deposit + buying costs = £27k
Annual return = 8.3%

Don't forget tax, maintenance costs and other landlord expenses will eat into that return.
Most buy-to-let mortgages are done on an interest-only basis, so the amount borrowed will not be paid off over time.
This is tax efficient, as you can offset mortgage payments against your tax bill.

However, whereas once you could offset your entire mortgage cost against tax that is now being eaten into and by 2020 you will get a maximum 20 per cent tax credit on your mortgage payments.

If you can get a rental return substantially over the mortgage payments, then once you have built up a good emergency fund, you can start saving or investing any extra cash.

Remember though, people rarely buy a home outright and they come with running costs, so mortgage costs, maintenance and agent’s fees must be worked out and they will eat into your return
.
Once mortgage, costs and tax are considered, you will want the rent to build up over time and then potentially be able to use it as a deposit for further investments, or to pay off the mortgage at the end of its term.

This means you will have benefited from the income from rent, paid off the mortgage and hold the property's full capital value. 
. . .

BIDDING WAR NETS £162,000

A three-bedroom house in Southsea went under the hammer for £162,000 in a bidding war.

The receivership property at 41 Talbot Road, pictured, among 138 lots being sold by Clive Emson, Britain’s largest independent regional land and property auctioneer, went for £12,000 more than the guide price.
Mike Marchant, auction valuer, said: ‘We were instructed by receivers to the sell the freehold property and there was keen bidding interest, with the final bid coming in at £12,000 above the guide price. ‘The partially refurbished house offers accommodation across three floors and is considered very worthy of the works required to complete the improvements. ‘It is considered that the property would make an ideal addition to a lettings portfolio or for resale into the local market, once the necessary works have been completed.’

Land with planning permission for a two-storey house, a three-story rear extension and double garage with hardstanding went for £55,000, which was £20,000 above the freehold guide price. It is adjacent 81 Leominster Road, Portsmouth.

St Peter’s Farm, on a 1.65-acre freehold plot at Church Lane, Hambledon, fetched £200,000. Re-available: Waterlooville Social Club at 16 Aston Road, Waterlooville. The freehold guide price was £320-340,000.
Also on the market is a freehold former rectory arranged as eight flats. Stokehurst, at 35 Anglesey Road, Alverstoke, Gosport, is currently let at £29,700 per annum. The guide price was £500,000.
Clive Emson, which works with 850 estate agents across southern England, holds the next auction at 11am at the same venue, the Ageas Bowl, on Monday, September 11th 

Source Portsmouth News - Property News

. . .

BUYER OR SELLER - WHO HAS THE POWER?

This week Tom considers where power currently lies in the market. Is it a buyer’s or a seller’s market?

With mixed reviews in the news, London sellers are faced with offering huge discounts on their valuation and asking prices, while conversely Portsmouth has seen an excellent 7.1% growth in the market.
Fortunately, London is its own world. Or its own, autonomous, parallel property universe, which has no link with the rest of the country! Think of it like the Vatican City, it's geographically in Italy but not legislatively in Italy...

Right now it’s neither a buyer’s market nor a seller’s market.  There is an average number of properties on the market and they are selling at an average pace so there’s not a saturation of properties for sale. A seller’s market refers to when there’s limited choice for buyers, whereas a buyer’s market is characterised by too much choice for a smaller number of buyers.
In 2016, we saw a seller’s market. In 2017 it was somewhere in between. Are we going to see a buyer’s market in 2018?  I think we just might.
. . .

First-Time Buyer Guide

If you’re a first-time buyer and you’re not sure what you need to buy a house or flat, then have a read through Pink Street’s first-time buyer guide. The guide takes you through the process of buying your first home, including saving your deposit and applying for a mortgage.

How much deposit do I need to buy a house?


A person is generally classified as a first-time-buyer if they’re purchasing their only or main residence and have never owned a freehold or have a leasehold interest in a residential property in the UK or abroad.

Before looking at properties, you need to save for a deposit.

Generally, you need to try to save at least 5% to 20% of the cost of the home you would like.

For example, if you want to buy a home costing £200,000, you’ll need to save at least £10,000 (5%).

Saving more than 5% will give you access to a wider range of cheaper mortgages available on the market.


Budget for the other costs of buying a home


Use our Stamp Duty Calculator to work out how much you’ll pay when buying your property.

Apart from your monthly mortgage payments, there are others costs when buying a home.

These include:

  • Survey costs
  • Solicitor’s fee
  • Removal costs
  • Buildings insurance
  • Initial furnishing and decorating costs
  • Mortgage arrangement and valuation fees; and
  • Stamp Duty (Land and buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland, or Land Transaction Tax in Wales).

First-time-buyers will pay no Stamp Duty on the first £300,000 for properties worth up to £500,000.


Make sure you can afford your monthly repayments


As a first-time home buyer, the most important thing to bear in mind is whether you can really afford to take this step.

It’s wise to put together a budget before you start looking for a property.

There are now strict checks when you apply for a mortgage.

Lenders will check you can afford the mortgage and also ‘stress test’ your ability to make your payments if interest rates were to rise or if your circumstances changed, such as a planned retirement date or if you started a family.

As part of the mortgage application process you’ll need to show the lender evidence of any outgoings you have and prove your income.


Affordable home-buyer schemes to get you on to the property ladder


Several government-backed schemes aim to give home buyers a helping hand onto the property ladder.

If you can use one of these schemes, lenders will still want to ensure you can afford to pay your mortgage.

  • Affordable housing schemes.
  • Help to Buy scheme: everything you need to know.
  • Shared ownership schemes.

Finding a mortgage


There are many different mortgage deals to pick from, so choosing the right one for you can be tricky.

It can depend on several things, so it’s a good idea to do some research and talk to experts such as mortgage brokers.

Pink Street offer free independent mortgage advice here

Freehold or leasehold


If you want to buy a house, it’s likely you’ll buy the freehold, meaning you own the property and land it sits on.

If you’re buying a flat, you’ll be buying leasehold, or buying into a share of the freehold.


The mortgage application process


Whichever mortgage you apply for, your lender will want to know you can continue to make your repayments.

Even if interest rates rise, or as a result of any planned events affecting your financial circumstances.

You’ll need to provide evidence of your income, and provide information of your outgoings, including:

  • Debts
  • Household bills, and
  • Other costs, such as clothing, childcare and travel

To prove your income, you might have to produce payslips and bank statements.

If you’re self-employed, you could be asked for tax returns and business accounts prepared by an accountant going back two tax years.


Someone else can guarantee your mortgage


If you’re struggling to get a mortgage to buy your first home, you might want to consider a guarantor mortgage.

This means a parent, guardian or close relative agrees to be responsible for paying the mortgage if you can’t.

Guarantor mortgages shouldn’t be entered into lightly. They’re legally binding arrangements.

Your guarantor needs to be able to afford to pay your mortgage if you get into difficulty.

You’ll need to talk to a mortgage broker to find out more about which lenders offer guarantor mortgages.

. . .

he Great South Run, takes place over a 10 mile (16 kilometer) course through the streets of Portsmouth, passing landmarks such as HMS Victory and the Spinnaker Tower.

The course is almost flat, with minimal slopes around the course, helping make fast times achievable.

The Great South Run will be held in Portsmouth on Sunday 22nd October 2017 and the 5K race will be held on Saturday 21st October 2017.

Entry for both events is now open, follow this link, to register for the Great South Run 2017 use this link. Around 25,000 runners will take part in this highly popular run, raising £ millions for a wide range of charities.

The first event, the elite womens race starts at 10:15, the whole city will be very busy, therefore the race organisers advise you should plan to arrive by 08:30 to ensure you are able to access the start area at the correct time.

The 10 mile course is fairly flat and offers a wide range of views and historic sites along the way, such as HMS Warrior, HMS Victory and the Spinnaker Tower.
Along with the thousands of fun runners, club athletes and charity teams, will be a mix of celebrities and elite athletes from around the world.
Every year thousands of fun runners, joggers, locals, celebrities and charity runners take part in the race, raising £millions for their chosen good causes. It is estimated that more than £30 million has been raised for charities by runners in the Great South Run, since it's start in 1990. 
Source - Welcome to Portsmouth

. . .

HONEST ADVICE FOR EMPTY NESTERS!

This week Tom’s Take will look at Empty Nesters! With 70% of over 55's looking to relocate now their children have left home, Tom has some advice for both sellers and buyers in this particular market segment.

Buyers
Being honest with you, downsizing is hard! You’ll look at loads of smaller houses and flats but you’ll find it hard to get used to the size, location, shape, facilities and features. That is because you feel as though you are sacrificing something.  Well, it doesn’t have to be a sacrifice, you can get everything you want! My advice is listing all the things you love, and hate, about your home right now.  Try to be objective and ruthless!  Then, list all the things you want, and don’t want, from a new property and why. You’ll end up with a clear idea of your must haves, as well as things you are willing to compromise on. Now all you need is a location and you have a much easier property search to begin. Oh, and don’t book viewings at properties that are the same as yours, you are just wasting your time. Most decent agents will provide floor plans so check room sizes ahead of viewings to keep your search focused on real options. One last thing, don’t forget your motivation for moving, maybe you want to bump up your pension fund or maybe it is time to live in that idyllic location you have always dreamt of!

Sellers
The hardest thing for sellers is that you’ll have loads of memories and sentiment in your home. So when you sell, try to remember that your buyers are going to start their own memories.  They’ll probably redecorate and they might even rebuild parts of your home.  That could be hard to accept if you’ve raised your family in that home but try to remember when you bought the house and started your story.  Your buyers will do the same! They’ll raise their families and build their own stories in your home.  They’re probably upsizing to grow their family. Remember that feedback from viewings can be really hard to take on board. Try to keep in mind that people might not like your décor or layout.  That’s up to them and it’s nothing personal. Lastly, do your research on finding your next property.  It will take a lot to get used to and you should follow the advice for buyers (see above) before you commit to selling your current home.
. . .

HOUSING ASSOCIATION CALLS ON MPS FOR FUTURE FUNDING OF SUPPORTED HOUSING

A HOUSING association is highlighting the contribution supported housing makes to Portsmouth as part of Starts at Home day.

The Church of England Soldiers’, Sailors’ & Airmen’s Housing Association (CESSA) is highlighting the campaignrun by the National Housing Federation.

Housing associations provide a range of services including sheltered accommodation, refuges for domestic violence victims, homelessness shelters and housing for those with disabilities.
CESSA has said uncertainty surrounds the future funding of supported housing.

The National Housing Federation and its members are campaigning to persuade the government to commit to ensuring that every person who needs extra support has a home that meets their needs.
Representatives from CESSA met with Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan, asking him to champion the cause in Parliament.

Patrick Keefe, chief executive at CESSA, said: ‘We call on the government and MPs to note the Easter report by the cross-party Parliamentary Work and Pensions Committee inquiry on supported housing. They agreed the local housing allowance is inappropriate to use as a cap on benefits and urged government to consider a new supported housing allowance, with a system of bandings for different types of provision and a cap within each band. ‘We need to ensure supported housing can continue to be provided where it is needed.’

Source - Portsmouth News

. . .

How To Choose The Best Estate Agent

Deciding which estate agent to work with is an important factor when it comes to selling your home. Here's Pink Street’s guide on how to do it...


One of the starting points when selling your home is understanding what it might be worth. This helps clarify where and what you might be able to buy next. Choosing the right agent is key to this process.

But where do you start? We’ve broken it down into three easy steps.


1. Do your homework


Before you troop into the offices of any of your local estate agents, We would advise looking on online first to get an idea of:

  • what your home could be worth – use our online valuation tool to get an idea 
  • which agents are selling homes in your area
  • what sort of properties they are selling 
  • how many homes similar to yours are for sale - and for roughly how much.

2. Draw up a shortlist of estate agents


Armed with these facts, go and speak with local estate agents that you think deal with your type of home within the price bracket for your property.


There’s no point talking to a very high-end estate agent about your humble studio flat, for instance. I would recommend you talk to at least three agents. Here are my tips on what to look out for.


  • Do they have a clean and orderly office?
  • Do they have enough staff to do the job? Why not pop into the office and meet a few of them?
  • Are they friendly, helpful and enthusiastic?
  • Will they give your property the widest possible exposure and advertise it on all the property websites, such as Rightmove,Zoopla and PrimeLocation?
  • Do they know your local area well and have experience in selling homes like yours?
  • Will they be honest when dealing with you and the buyers?
  • Will they be flexible and remain open in the evenings and on weekends to show buyers around your home?
  • Can you trust them and build up a good, honest rapport with them? Are they a good match for you?


Top tips!

  • Ask friends and family for recommendations.
  • Pose as a buyer to get a better feel for how effective particular estate agents are.
  • Look around your neighbourhood to see which estate agents are marketing similar homes to yours.


3. Seek valuations

Ask your favourite agents to value your home and explain how they intend to market it to get the best possible price.

It’s a common misconception that you should simply choose the agent that comes up with the highest price for the property. Although it’s flattering to be told your home is worth more than you imagined, there’s a lot more to selling a place than slapping a high price tag on it.


Good luck!

. . .

How to make your home more valuable and sell faster

Preparing your home for viewings, or “staging”, is important. It will help your property sell faster and can potentially add thousands of pounds to its value.

Declutter your home

Get rid of all the excess stuff that has accumulated in every nook and cranny. Put it in storage or give it to a friend
People need to be able to envisage what the property would look like if they were living there. People often find this difficult, so make it easy for them
Don’t make it look like a hotel; leave some personality. Apart from anything else it gives buyers suggestions as to what they might do
People are often buying into a lifestyle as much as a property. Show them the attractive side of your lifestyle
Consider removing any bulky furniture that makes the room feel small and replacing it with smaller furniture

A fresh lick of paint

Giving your walls a fresh lick of neutral paint will make your home seem lighter and bigger
It will help the viewers to more easily imagine how they would adapt the rooms to their needs
It will be easier for the buyers to move in and use the rooms immediately than if the walls were still bright purple or lime green
Create a good first impression – give the front door a new coat of brightly coloured paint

Fix and clean

Make any minor repairs necessary – holes in walls, broken door knobs, cracked tiles, torn or threadbare carpets. Many buyers want to move in without making changes
Clean everything until it sparkles. Get rid of limescale, clean and repair tile grout, wax wooden floors, get rid of all odours, hang up fresh towels. This will make the place more appealing and allow viewers to imagine living there
Tidy up the garden: cut bushes back, clean the patio and furniture and cut the grass. While this doesn’t add much value to your home it makes it more likely to sell as people visualise themselves using the garden

Update the kitchen

The kitchen is the most valuable room in a house. It is worth the most per square foot and can make the difference when buyers are unsure
Consider refacing your kitchen cabinetry. This is much cheaper than installing new cabinetry and often as effective
Upgrading kitchen counter tops is expensive, but can add serious value
Declutter the surfaces and just leave a bowl of fruit out. Take out any bulky appliances
Consider upgrading the plumbing fixtures and white goods, but keep in mind that while that could make your property sell faster, you will be unlikely to recoup their full value

Light and airy

Wall mirrors make a room look much bigger and lighter. Consider putting some up, especially in smaller rooms or hallways
Clean windows inside and out and replace any broken light bulbs. Making the place feel light and airy makes rooms feel bigger and the property more attractive
Ensure that you have lamps on in any dark corners
Putting a soft lamp in the bathroom can create a warm glow

Make it look pretty

Make sure the windows are properly dressed with blinds or curtains as naked windows make a place feel impersonal and run down. Buy some cheap ones if necessary
Plants and flowers bring colour, life and light to a room and also smell wonderful. So does that fruit bowl on your kitchen counter

Get the right smells

Bad smells are the single biggest turn off for prospective buyers. Don’t just cover them up, fix the source of the smell. Clear drains, wash bins, open windows, air the kitchen from old cooking smells, get rid of furniture that is embedded with cigarette smoke, and wash any grimy bed sheets
If you are a smoker, place bowls of vinegar around the house and leave out for three days. Though the vinegar will smell when you open the windows it will disappear quickly taking a most of the stale cigarette smell out with it
Conversely, good smells can make a property feel like an alluring home. While it might be impractical to bake fresh bread, cakes or brownies for every viewer that visits your home, you could perhaps brew some fresh coffee

Showing the property

You’ll have chosen a good estate agent….Pink Street *Coughs* so let them show the property
It’s their job to know what things to say, what to highlight and what to downplay
They are also effective at answering those tricky questions about the noisy neighbours

Obvious conversions

If there are any obvious conversions – adapting the garage into extra rooms or going up into the loft – and you have some spare cash, why not take advantage of this cash cow rather than letting the new owners make easy money out of improvements. You should usually recoup your money
If you don’t have enough spare cash to make the conversion, consider getting planning permission anyway
. . .

IS THE HOUSING MARKET STAGNANT?

Recent news reports have highlighted that over 75% of Britain’s housing equity now belongs to the over 50s. With an ever-growing and aging population, are less people selling their properties and as a result reducing mobility in the market?

A study by Lloyds Bank, reported by Estate Agent Today, found that 63% of ‘Empty Nesters’ are enjoying their home now they aren’t sharing it with their children, however 14% felt their home is too empty.
At the other end of the spectrum, under 35s account for just 4% of the housing wealth in the UK, with the ‘Generation Rent’ is rising, as the average first time buyer is now 30 years old. Partially due to the increasing eligibility criteria first –time buyers are up against.

However, despite the many contributing factors that influence the housing market, I would still hesitate to call the market stagnant.  Despite a slow start to the year, not helped by the severe weather, we are encouraged by the activity we have seen in the Portsmouth housing market.

A recent RICS study, reported that people are still on the move. And a moving market is the key to a healthy market! So is there reduced mobility in the market? I don’t think so, however this is more red tape to get first-time buyers in and more Empty Nesters enjoying their homes again.

Just remember, the market will always fluctuate and I truly believe that the right time to sell is unique to every vendor, and you should do so when it best suits you and your family. 

. . .

MORTGAGE DEPOSIT ESTIMATES ARE FAR TOO HIGH

More than 75 per cent of people in the Portsmouth area asked to estimate the deposit needed to buy a £250,000 new home massively overestimated how much was needed. Using the government’s Help to Buy scheme, buyers need just £12,500 for the deposit but a survey by housebuilder Barratt Homes reveals that more than 75 per cent questioned believed they would have to save at least £15,000. More than 30 per cent believed they would need to save between £25,000 and £30,000, more than double the real amount.

Adam Champion from mortgage company The New Homes Group said the figures are in line with buyers’ expectations. ‘Most people think you need at least a 10 per cent deposit on a new home when we start talking to them and are pleasantly surprised by the true figure of just five per cent,’ he said. Barratt Homes sales director Michelle Storer said the figures should be welcomed by anyone considering buying a new home.“Historically-low interest rates, together with Help to Buy and a wealth of mortgage options available at the moment, make now an excellent time to buy,” she said.

“Despite some uncertainty over Brexit the new homes market is extremely busy and the more people know about the low deposits the more people can move into their dream home.”
The survey also highlighted awareness of low deposits in the different age groups. Although everyone asked overestimated the amount needed, the amount estimated rose with age.
Those between 18-24 years old believed they would need to save an average of £19,000 for a deposit while the over-55s guessed a deposit would cost in excess of £23,000.

“Schemes such as Help to Buy are available to all ages but it is mainly first time buyers who have benefitted from the help so it is good to see the younger people are closer to the right figure,” said Michelle.

Source - Portsmouth News

. . .

Pink Street’s guide to the checkout process

If you’re a tenant getting ready to move out of your rented home, then it’s more than likely that you’ve already started to think about whether you are going to get all of your deposit back. Checkouts are important, and a successful checkout can reduce the chance of any deposit disputes. For landlords, it gives a clear record of the state of the property, and for tenants, it provides the opportunity to state a case for any damage caused during the tenancy.
Pink Street gives you a guide to the checkout process, so you know what to expect and have the best chance of getting your full deposit back.

Before checkout

Your landlord will give you the opportunity to be present at the checkout stage of your tenancy, and we strongly recommend that you do attend. As part of this, they should let you know about your exact responsibilities two weeks in advance (unless otherwise stated in your tenancy agreement).
Your landlord should let you know what they’re expecting from you and what you’ll have to do before you depart the property. If you’re unsure about your responsibilities as a tenant, then you can also check your tenancy agreement, where these will be listed clearly.
You should have been given a copy of your inventory by your landlord when you moved into the property. If you still have this available, then it’s a great tool to use when moving out. If not, ask your landlord for another copy. This way, you can check the inventory for an accurate description of the property from when you moved in, so you can compare it to its current state and undertake any work necessary to restore it to its previous state.
Additionally, as well as cleaning the property, there’s a couple of other things you should do:
  • Ensure all items are where they were when you first moved in and are as described in the inventory.
  • Make sure that all light bulbs are working.
  • If you have a garden, cut the grass, de-weed and ensure that it’s left tidy.
  • Defrost the freezer.
  • Remove all remaining food containers from freezers, fridges and cupboards.
  • Ensure that all utility bills (including council tax) are paid in full. Your landlord should then check the meter readings upon checkout. To settle any final bills, they may ask you for a forwarding address.
  • If you have a telephone line, then inform your service provider that you’re moving.
  • Ask for all your post to be re-directed. You can arrange this at the post office.
  • If you have any furniture or white goods that you’re not planning to take with you, ensure that they’re disposed of safely, and don’t leave them in the property. If you’re unsure how, contact the Environmental Service Department.

At checkout

After completing any repair work and ensuring that the property is in the same state as it was when you first moved in, your checkout process should run relatively smoothly.
During checkout, your landlord will be inspecting the property for any damage, its overall condition, and its cleanliness. They’ll cross-reference this against the inventory to see whether the condition of the property has changed. If there are any changes to the condition of the property, or any dilapidations, then they’ll note these against the inventory.
In doing this, they’ll also take into account what’s known as ‘fair wear and tear’; especially if you’ve been a tenant for a long time. As such, they’ll expect items to change over time based on their age and usage. This is different to damage such as chips, rips or burns.
As soon as they’ve completed the checkout, they’ll complete a checkout report, comparing the property with the inventory. If your property is clean, and in the same state as when you first occupied it, then there should be no deductions from your deposit, meaning that you can both sign and date the form there and then, confirming as such.
If your landlord does wish to make any deductions, then this is the point that they will tell you. They should tell you what they are deducting and their reason for deducting this amount. At this point, you can either accept their conclusions, reject it and appeal, or come to a mutual agreement. If you either accept or come to an agreement, then this can be noted on the signed and dated form. If you do dispute the return of your deposit, then your tenancy deposit protection scheme will offer a free dispute resolution service, but both you and your landlord will have to agree to it. You’ll then both be asked to offer evidence, and the decision they make about your deposit is final.
. . .

PORTSMOUTH RESIDENTS INVITED TO HAVE SAY ON CITY’S NEXT BIG PROJECTS

PEOPLE in Portsmouth are being asked for their views on major investments for the city including new flood defences, secondary school places and road layouts.
Portsmouth City Council wants people to have their say before it announces its next overall budget for the 2018/19 financial year.
The focus is on big, one-off schemes and the council wants to know how important people think they are.
Last year the council allocated £16.5 million to these projects.
People are also being consulted on spending on day-to-day services, including rubbish collections, libraries and care for children and older people.
Councillor Donna Jones, council leader, said: ‘Getting feedback from local people through the annual budget consultation is really important, and we want to hear from as many residents and businesses as possible.
‘We want to know where they think the council should be spending, and where it should be saving.
‘We need to make sure we’re investing in Portsmouth’s future, whether that’s by making sure homes and businesses are protected from flooding, or by providing enough school places for our children.’
To have your say search ‘budget consultation’ at portsmouth.gov.uk and complete an online survey.
You can also get a paper copy from the main reception at the civic offices, a library or housing office, by calling 02392 688073.
Go to the council’s website to find out more about upcoming neighbourhood forums.

Source - Portsmouth News

. . .

TOM'S TAKE: CARILLION COLLAPSE

With the likely collapse of construction giant Carillion, we asked Tom Soane, MD of Pink Street for his view in this week’s Tom’s Take.

The construction industry will suffer which could mean less new property developments in the near future and existing developments could be delayed.  Large house-builders will have to cover the cost of completing Carillion’s unfinished work.  Then there’s the smaller companies and sub-contractors that will be left without work.
 
This will mean property development projects either won’t be completed or will take a lot longer to complete.  It all depends on whether these firms get the money owed to them by Carillion fast enough but I doubt it will be a quick process unless the government step in… which they won’t. I don’t think it’s a long-term issue but it certainly will be some short-term suffering for a lot of innocent companies and contractors who have just been getting on with their jobs.

I would also like to spare a thought for people who may be affected by the pensions. It’s not funny at all when people pay into a pension scheme throughout their working life only to have it threatened by inept management.
. . .

TOM’S TAKE: THREE PREDICTIONS FOR THE HOUSING MARKET IN 2018

This week’s Tom looks into his crystal ball at the likely scenarios for the housing market in 2018.

1. I think the average purchase price for first time buyers is going to go up by 10-15% because of the removal of stamp duty for first timers, the support from the government such as the help to buy, and the mortgage lenders are lending again.  This has a knock-on effect as there will be more demand for more properties which always drives prices up.

2. I think landlords with larger portfolios will sell off some properties, so they have less properties with less mortgage after the reduction in tax relief on mortgage payments.  Landlords with smaller portfolios will push the rental prices up as a result to try and recover the lost tax relief.

3. I think we’ll see a lot of small independent high street estate agents either closing down or being bought.  With agency fees being driven down further and further by companies like Yopa and Pink Street, the high street agents are forced to compete.  The smaller agents will struggle on two fronts…  One, they won’t be able to bring on as many new properties because the public will not pay the higher fees anymore and will elect to go with other agents.  Two, if they try to compete on price they won’t be able to generate the revenue without completely changing their entire business model, overheads, premises and staff.  I think that will push a lot of them into trouble.    
. . .

TOP 4 ABSOLUTE DON'TS WHEN SELLING YOUR HOUSE

This week for Tom's Take we explore the rather less inspiring ways that home owners choose to display their largest asset for sale.

1. Leave washing up everywhere – Literally dishes, plates, cups all piling up in the sink, around the worktops, in the lounge, in the dining room.  Even in the bedroom!  I would say half the time people leave it in the sink when you go round to take photos.  If it’s in a bowl, I’ll take it out and put it all on the floor.  If it’s not, I leave it in the photos and show them after.

2. Leave food and mess all over the kitchen worktops – It’s like they don’t even notice!  All sorts of food just left out.  Sometimes it’s leftovers, sometimes it’s like the worktops act as storage for their tins, veggies, fruits, crisps and all that.  When you walk into a house where there’s last night’s dinner laying around, it stinks and it’s vile.  I’d say this laziness loses people £3-5k on their property! Maybe more.

3. Leave dirty washing all over the bedroom – Sometimes, as their agent, you feel like you’ve got to clear it away when you’re taking photos.  There has been occasions where I’ve left it in the photos and shown them afterwards…  Sometimes they’re not bothered, sometimes they say “oh, should I move all those clothes??”  If the washing has been there a while it absolutely stinks too!!  In some instances, the owner has cleared up for photos but when people come around to view they don’t bother.  Other times they have it tidy and clean for the first couple of viewings and then they can’t be bothered.  But they still expect the top money for their house even though they can’t be arsed to present it in its best condition.  We hear excuses like “well viewers want it to look ‘lived in’” or “oh I haven’t been able to clear up from dinner last night” and so on… It amazes me that people want top dollar for the most expensive thing they’ll ever buy, own and sell but they will take more care in selling their car on auto-trader or a jumper on eBay!

4. Let their dogs jump up at viewers – they expect the buyers to love their dogs like they do.  They say “don’t worry, he won’t bite” …  We don’t want your stupid dog jumping all over us!!  You get hairs all over you, it stinks, it slobbers!!  Most dogs are lovely and friendly but it’s a house viewing not a dog show.  Take your dog out, put it in the garden… Whatever!
. . .

UK HOUSE PRICE GROWTH SLOWS IN MAY

Recent news reports have suggested that UK house price growth has been slower than expected, so we asked our MD Tom Soane for his take.
 
 “Property prices should start to come down a bit over the next couple of years because people can’t borrow as much, bad news for owners. 
Generally speaking, normal property prices are dictated by first time buyers. If mortgage rates go up, first-time buyers can’t borrow as much.  That means the second-time mover won’t get as much for their property and subsequently they can’t offer as much on their next property and so on and so on.  
Don’t worry though, it’s all relative and we’re not talking massive differences around the Portsmouth area. 
Add economic uncertainly into all this and you’ll start to see less buyers and more people trying to sell.  If you follow the simple supply and demand rule, prices will come down.”
. . .

I am often asked should we go for the largest property we can get a mortgage for? Tom’s Take today will consider if there are any benefits to this strategy.

From a financial perspective, there will always be a limit on the value of your property. For example, you might spend £20,000 on an extension or a loft conversion but only increase your house value by £10,000. However, if you look at it from a life and living perspective, what does it matter? If you’re going to live in that property for the next 10 years, expand it to meet your needs. Work out how much the expansion would cost you over a 10-year period, would you rent that additional space in your house for £1000 per year? Personally, I believe you should do whatever you can to make your home comfortable and functional for your family. I will however caveat that last point, as it all has to be affordable. If you chose to use your mortgage to fund an extension, you may be able to cover the payments for now. But what if interest rates were to rise? If you read my recent Tom’s Take, market insight suggests that interest rises are a likely scenario in the current economic climate. Act with caution by calculating the worst-case scenario and budgeting for that. You should follow the same principle when buying a larger home. Work out what you want from a property and calculate the worst-case scenario. If you can afford that spectacular five bedroom detached house on Portsdown Hill if the interest rates rocketed, then in the words of Richard Branson “Screw it, let’s do it!”

. . .

YOU’RE HAVING A LAUGH! PORTSMOUTH GUILDHALL TO HOST NEW TWO-DAY BIG MOUTH COMEDY FESTIVAL

THERE are big laughs in store for comedy fans as Portsmouth gets a new two-day comedy festival.
The Big Mouth Comedy Festival will take over Portsmouth Guildhall on March 10 and 11 next year.

And the first names announced are guaranteed to have you rolling in the aisles as they include Russell Kane, Andy Parsons, Seann Walsh and Paul Zerdin.
As well as top-class headliners, the weekend promises to feature cabaret-style events, open-mic sessions, ‘best of the Fringe’ preview acts and the crème de la crème of rising, local talent.
Headlining the Saturday night is multi-award-winning comedian, presenter, actor, author and scriptwriter, Russell Kane. He’s best known as the host of BBC3’s Live at the Electric and his appearances on BBC1’s Live at the Apollo, BBC3’s Unzipped, ITV2’s Celebrity Juice and I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here.

Supporting Russell will be Zoe Lyons with her trademark high-energy, brilliantly observed routines. Zoe has won both the Comedian’s Comedy Award and Chortle Best Club Comic.
Sunday night sees a mixed bill of Mock The Week stalwart Andy Parsons, ‘the Lie-In King’ Seann Walsh and America’s Got Talent winner, ventriloquist, Paul Zerdin.
With doors open from midday, Dead Ringers star Jan Ravens, and comedy legends Barry Cryer and Colin Sell are the first daytime acts to be announced.

Tickets go on sale at 10am today with a range of day, evening, all-day and weekend tickets available costing from £19 to £70. More names are set to be announced over the coming months.

Source - Portsmouth News

. . .

INTEREST RATE FORECAST

Published: 13/03/2017

At Pink Street our property experts forecast that the Bank of England will increase interest rates by 0.25% in May. In addition, we estimate interest rates will rise up to 1% by the end of 2019.

The Bank of England will increase rates gradually for a number of reasons, one of which being to protect the housing market, mainly because a lot of people have bought properties over the last 4 years during the country’s low interest rates and this will be the first time they’ll have to properly deal with continued interest rate increases.

That means mortgage payments will increase unless you’ve got a fixed rate.
Obviously, we can provide a quote for fixed rate mortgages and give advice on how to make sure you don’t suffer. Give us a call on 02392 864555 or email hello@pinkstreet.co.uk
. . .

5 Tips for Buy-to-Let

Thinking about investing in a buy-to-let property? Here’s Pink Street’s top five tips on how to do so…
 

1. Choose a promising area to invest in property

Promising does not mean most expensive or cheapest. Promising means a place where people would like to live, and this can be for a variety of reasons.
Where in your town has a special appeal? If you are in a commuter belt, where has good transport? Where are the good schools for young families? Where do the students want to live?
You need to match the kind of property you can afford and want to buy with locations that people who would want to live in those homes would choose.
These questions might sound overly simplistic, but they are probably the most important aspect of a successful buy-to-let investment
In most cases people tend to invest in property close to where they live. On the plus side, they are likely to know this market better than anywhere else and can spot the kind of property and location that will do well. They also have a much better chance of keeping tabs on the property.
Yet it is also worth bearing in mind that if you are a homeowner then you are already exposed to property where you live - and looking for a different type of home in a different area might be a good move. 

2. Do the maths on buy-to-let

Before you think about looking around properties sit down with a pen and paper and write down the cost of houses you are looking at and the rent you are likely to get.
Buy-to-let lenders typically want rent to cover 125 per cent of the mortgage repayments - often now 150 per cent - and most now demand 25 per cent deposits, or even larger, for rates considerably above residential mortgage deals.
The best rate buy-to-let mortgages also come with large arrangement fees.
Once you have the mortgage rate and likely rent sorted then you must be clinical in deciding whether your investment work out?
Don't forget to factor in maintenance costs.
What will happen if the property sits empty for a month or two?
These are all things to consider. Make sure you know how much the mortgage repayments will be and if it is a tracker allow for rates to rise.

3. Shop around and get the best buy-to-let mortgage

Do not just walk into your bank and building society and ask for a mortgage. It sounds obvious, but people who do this when they need a financial product are one of the reasons why banks make billions in profit.
It pays to speak to a good independent broker when looking for a buy-to-let mortgage. They can not only talk you through what deals are available, but they can also help you weigh up which one is right for you and whether to fix or track.
You should still do your own research though, so that you can go into the conversation armed with the knowledge of what sort of mortgages you should be offered.

4. Think about your target tenant

Instead of imagining whether you would like to live in your investment property, put yourself in the shoes of your target tenant.
Who are they and what do they want? If they are students, it needs to be easy to clean and comfortable but not luxurious.
If they are young professionals, it should be modern and stylish but not overbearing.
If it is a family, they will have plenty of their own belongings and need a blank canvas.
Remember that allowing tenants to make their mark on a property, such as by decorating, or adding pictures, or you taking out unwanted furniture makes it feel more like home.
These tenants will stay for longer, which is great news for a landlord.
It is also possible to take out an insurance policy against your tenant failing to pay the rent, usually known as rent guarantee insurance.

5. Don't be greedy, go for rental yield and remember costs

We have all read the stories about buy-to-let millionaires and their huge portfolios.
But while you may expect long-term house price rises, experts say invest for income not short-term capital growth.
To compare different property's values, use their yield: that is annual rent received as a percentage of the purchase price.
For example, a property delivering £10,000 worth of rent that costs £200,000 has a 5% yield.
Rent should be the key return for buy-to-let.


How to work out the return on your buy-to-let investment

Remember, if you are buying with a mortgage, rent-to-property price yield will not be the return you get.
To work out your annual return on investment subtract your annual mortgage cost from your annual rent and then work this sum out as a percentage of the deposit you put down.
For a £100,000 property that could rent for £500 per month, you would need a £25k deposit and roughly £2,000 in buying costs.
£75k mortgage at 5% interest rate = £312.50
£500 rental income x 12 = £6,000
Difference = £2,250
Deposit + buying costs = £27k
Annual return = 8.3%

Don't forget tax, maintenance costs and other landlord expenses will eat into that return.
Most buy-to-let mortgages are done on an interest-only basis, so the amount borrowed will not be paid off over time.
This is tax efficient, as you can offset mortgage payments against your tax bill.

However, whereas once you could offset your entire mortgage cost against tax that is now being eaten into and by 2020 you will get a maximum 20 per cent tax credit on your mortgage payments.

If you can get a rental return substantially over the mortgage payments, then once you have built up a good emergency fund, you can start saving or investing any extra cash.

Remember though, people rarely buy a home outright and they come with running costs, so mortgage costs, maintenance and agent’s fees must be worked out and they will eat into your return
.
Once mortgage, costs and tax are considered, you will want the rent to build up over time and then potentially be able to use it as a deposit for further investments, or to pay off the mortgage at the end of its term.

This means you will have benefited from the income from rent, paid off the mortgage and hold the property's full capital value. 
. . .

BIDDING WAR NETS £162,000

A three-bedroom house in Southsea went under the hammer for £162,000 in a bidding war.

The receivership property at 41 Talbot Road, pictured, among 138 lots being sold by Clive Emson, Britain’s largest independent regional land and property auctioneer, went for £12,000 more than the guide price.
Mike Marchant, auction valuer, said: ‘We were instructed by receivers to the sell the freehold property and there was keen bidding interest, with the final bid coming in at £12,000 above the guide price. ‘The partially refurbished house offers accommodation across three floors and is considered very worthy of the works required to complete the improvements. ‘It is considered that the property would make an ideal addition to a lettings portfolio or for resale into the local market, once the necessary works have been completed.’

Land with planning permission for a two-storey house, a three-story rear extension and double garage with hardstanding went for £55,000, which was £20,000 above the freehold guide price. It is adjacent 81 Leominster Road, Portsmouth.

St Peter’s Farm, on a 1.65-acre freehold plot at Church Lane, Hambledon, fetched £200,000. Re-available: Waterlooville Social Club at 16 Aston Road, Waterlooville. The freehold guide price was £320-340,000.
Also on the market is a freehold former rectory arranged as eight flats. Stokehurst, at 35 Anglesey Road, Alverstoke, Gosport, is currently let at £29,700 per annum. The guide price was £500,000.
Clive Emson, which works with 850 estate agents across southern England, holds the next auction at 11am at the same venue, the Ageas Bowl, on Monday, September 11th 

Source Portsmouth News - Property News

. . .

BUYER OR SELLER - WHO HAS THE POWER?

This week Tom considers where power currently lies in the market. Is it a buyer’s or a seller’s market?

With mixed reviews in the news, London sellers are faced with offering huge discounts on their valuation and asking prices, while conversely Portsmouth has seen an excellent 7.1% growth in the market.
Fortunately, London is its own world. Or its own, autonomous, parallel property universe, which has no link with the rest of the country! Think of it like the Vatican City, it's geographically in Italy but not legislatively in Italy...

Right now it’s neither a buyer’s market nor a seller’s market.  There is an average number of properties on the market and they are selling at an average pace so there’s not a saturation of properties for sale. A seller’s market refers to when there’s limited choice for buyers, whereas a buyer’s market is characterised by too much choice for a smaller number of buyers.
In 2016, we saw a seller’s market. In 2017 it was somewhere in between. Are we going to see a buyer’s market in 2018?  I think we just might.
. . .

First-Time Buyer Guide

If you’re a first-time buyer and you’re not sure what you need to buy a house or flat, then have a read through Pink Street’s first-time buyer guide. The guide takes you through the process of buying your first home, including saving your deposit and applying for a mortgage.

How much deposit do I need to buy a house?


A person is generally classified as a first-time-buyer if they’re purchasing their only or main residence and have never owned a freehold or have a leasehold interest in a residential property in the UK or abroad.

Before looking at properties, you need to save for a deposit.

Generally, you need to try to save at least 5% to 20% of the cost of the home you would like.

For example, if you want to buy a home costing £200,000, you’ll need to save at least £10,000 (5%).

Saving more than 5% will give you access to a wider range of cheaper mortgages available on the market.


Budget for the other costs of buying a home


Use our Stamp Duty Calculator to work out how much you’ll pay when buying your property.

Apart from your monthly mortgage payments, there are others costs when buying a home.

These include:

  • Survey costs
  • Solicitor’s fee
  • Removal costs
  • Buildings insurance
  • Initial furnishing and decorating costs
  • Mortgage arrangement and valuation fees; and
  • Stamp Duty (Land and buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland, or Land Transaction Tax in Wales).

First-time-buyers will pay no Stamp Duty on the first £300,000 for properties worth up to £500,000.


Make sure you can afford your monthly repayments


As a first-time home buyer, the most important thing to bear in mind is whether you can really afford to take this step.

It’s wise to put together a budget before you start looking for a property.

There are now strict checks when you apply for a mortgage.

Lenders will check you can afford the mortgage and also ‘stress test’ your ability to make your payments if interest rates were to rise or if your circumstances changed, such as a planned retirement date or if you started a family.

As part of the mortgage application process you’ll need to show the lender evidence of any outgoings you have and prove your income.


Affordable home-buyer schemes to get you on to the property ladder


Several government-backed schemes aim to give home buyers a helping hand onto the property ladder.

If you can use one of these schemes, lenders will still want to ensure you can afford to pay your mortgage.

  • Affordable housing schemes.
  • Help to Buy scheme: everything you need to know.
  • Shared ownership schemes.

Finding a mortgage


There are many different mortgage deals to pick from, so choosing the right one for you can be tricky.

It can depend on several things, so it’s a good idea to do some research and talk to experts such as mortgage brokers.

Pink Street offer free independent mortgage advice here

Freehold or leasehold


If you want to buy a house, it’s likely you’ll buy the freehold, meaning you own the property and land it sits on.

If you’re buying a flat, you’ll be buying leasehold, or buying into a share of the freehold.


The mortgage application process


Whichever mortgage you apply for, your lender will want to know you can continue to make your repayments.

Even if interest rates rise, or as a result of any planned events affecting your financial circumstances.

You’ll need to provide evidence of your income, and provide information of your outgoings, including:

  • Debts
  • Household bills, and
  • Other costs, such as clothing, childcare and travel

To prove your income, you might have to produce payslips and bank statements.

If you’re self-employed, you could be asked for tax returns and business accounts prepared by an accountant going back two tax years.


Someone else can guarantee your mortgage


If you’re struggling to get a mortgage to buy your first home, you might want to consider a guarantor mortgage.

This means a parent, guardian or close relative agrees to be responsible for paying the mortgage if you can’t.

Guarantor mortgages shouldn’t be entered into lightly. They’re legally binding arrangements.

Your guarantor needs to be able to afford to pay your mortgage if you get into difficulty.

You’ll need to talk to a mortgage broker to find out more about which lenders offer guarantor mortgages.

. . .

he Great South Run, takes place over a 10 mile (16 kilometer) course through the streets of Portsmouth, passing landmarks such as HMS Victory and the Spinnaker Tower.

The course is almost flat, with minimal slopes around the course, helping make fast times achievable.

The Great South Run will be held in Portsmouth on Sunday 22nd October 2017 and the 5K race will be held on Saturday 21st October 2017.

Entry for both events is now open, follow this link, to register for the Great South Run 2017 use this link. Around 25,000 runners will take part in this highly popular run, raising £ millions for a wide range of charities.

The first event, the elite womens race starts at 10:15, the whole city will be very busy, therefore the race organisers advise you should plan to arrive by 08:30 to ensure you are able to access the start area at the correct time.

The 10 mile course is fairly flat and offers a wide range of views and historic sites along the way, such as HMS Warrior, HMS Victory and the Spinnaker Tower.
Along with the thousands of fun runners, club athletes and charity teams, will be a mix of celebrities and elite athletes from around the world.
Every year thousands of fun runners, joggers, locals, celebrities and charity runners take part in the race, raising £millions for their chosen good causes. It is estimated that more than £30 million has been raised for charities by runners in the Great South Run, since it's start in 1990. 
Source - Welcome to Portsmouth

. . .

HONEST ADVICE FOR EMPTY NESTERS!

This week Tom’s Take will look at Empty Nesters! With 70% of over 55's looking to relocate now their children have left home, Tom has some advice for both sellers and buyers in this particular market segment.

Buyers
Being honest with you, downsizing is hard! You’ll look at loads of smaller houses and flats but you’ll find it hard to get used to the size, location, shape, facilities and features. That is because you feel as though you are sacrificing something.  Well, it doesn’t have to be a sacrifice, you can get everything you want! My advice is listing all the things you love, and hate, about your home right now.  Try to be objective and ruthless!  Then, list all the things you want, and don’t want, from a new property and why. You’ll end up with a clear idea of your must haves, as well as things you are willing to compromise on. Now all you need is a location and you have a much easier property search to begin. Oh, and don’t book viewings at properties that are the same as yours, you are just wasting your time. Most decent agents will provide floor plans so check room sizes ahead of viewings to keep your search focused on real options. One last thing, don’t forget your motivation for moving, maybe you want to bump up your pension fund or maybe it is time to live in that idyllic location you have always dreamt of!

Sellers
The hardest thing for sellers is that you’ll have loads of memories and sentiment in your home. So when you sell, try to remember that your buyers are going to start their own memories.  They’ll probably redecorate and they might even rebuild parts of your home.  That could be hard to accept if you’ve raised your family in that home but try to remember when you bought the house and started your story.  Your buyers will do the same! They’ll raise their families and build their own stories in your home.  They’re probably upsizing to grow their family. Remember that feedback from viewings can be really hard to take on board. Try to keep in mind that people might not like your décor or layout.  That’s up to them and it’s nothing personal. Lastly, do your research on finding your next property.  It will take a lot to get used to and you should follow the advice for buyers (see above) before you commit to selling your current home.
. . .

HOUSING ASSOCIATION CALLS ON MPS FOR FUTURE FUNDING OF SUPPORTED HOUSING

A HOUSING association is highlighting the contribution supported housing makes to Portsmouth as part of Starts at Home day.

The Church of England Soldiers’, Sailors’ & Airmen’s Housing Association (CESSA) is highlighting the campaignrun by the National Housing Federation.

Housing associations provide a range of services including sheltered accommodation, refuges for domestic violence victims, homelessness shelters and housing for those with disabilities.
CESSA has said uncertainty surrounds the future funding of supported housing.

The National Housing Federation and its members are campaigning to persuade the government to commit to ensuring that every person who needs extra support has a home that meets their needs.
Representatives from CESSA met with Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan, asking him to champion the cause in Parliament.

Patrick Keefe, chief executive at CESSA, said: ‘We call on the government and MPs to note the Easter report by the cross-party Parliamentary Work and Pensions Committee inquiry on supported housing. They agreed the local housing allowance is inappropriate to use as a cap on benefits and urged government to consider a new supported housing allowance, with a system of bandings for different types of provision and a cap within each band. ‘We need to ensure supported housing can continue to be provided where it is needed.’

Source - Portsmouth News

. . .

How To Choose The Best Estate Agent

Deciding which estate agent to work with is an important factor when it comes to selling your home. Here's Pink Street’s guide on how to do it...


One of the starting points when selling your home is understanding what it might be worth. This helps clarify where and what you might be able to buy next. Choosing the right agent is key to this process.

But where do you start? We’ve broken it down into three easy steps.


1. Do your homework


Before you troop into the offices of any of your local estate agents, We would advise looking on online first to get an idea of:

  • what your home could be worth – use our online valuation tool to get an idea 
  • which agents are selling homes in your area
  • what sort of properties they are selling 
  • how many homes similar to yours are for sale - and for roughly how much.

2. Draw up a shortlist of estate agents


Armed with these facts, go and speak with local estate agents that you think deal with your type of home within the price bracket for your property.


There’s no point talking to a very high-end estate agent about your humble studio flat, for instance. I would recommend you talk to at least three agents. Here are my tips on what to look out for.


  • Do they have a clean and orderly office?
  • Do they have enough staff to do the job? Why not pop into the office and meet a few of them?
  • Are they friendly, helpful and enthusiastic?
  • Will they give your property the widest possible exposure and advertise it on all the property websites, such as Rightmove,Zoopla and PrimeLocation?
  • Do they know your local area well and have experience in selling homes like yours?
  • Will they be honest when dealing with you and the buyers?
  • Will they be flexible and remain open in the evenings and on weekends to show buyers around your home?
  • Can you trust them and build up a good, honest rapport with them? Are they a good match for you?


Top tips!

  • Ask friends and family for recommendations.
  • Pose as a buyer to get a better feel for how effective particular estate agents are.
  • Look around your neighbourhood to see which estate agents are marketing similar homes to yours.


3. Seek valuations

Ask your favourite agents to value your home and explain how they intend to market it to get the best possible price.

It’s a common misconception that you should simply choose the agent that comes up with the highest price for the property. Although it’s flattering to be told your home is worth more than you imagined, there’s a lot more to selling a place than slapping a high price tag on it.


Good luck!

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How to make your home more valuable and sell faster

Preparing your home for viewings, or “staging”, is important. It will help your property sell faster and can potentially add thousands of pounds to its value.

Declutter your home

Get rid of all the excess stuff that has accumulated in every nook and cranny. Put it in storage or give it to a friend
People need to be able to envisage what the property would look like if they were living there. People often find this difficult, so make it easy for them
Don’t make it look like a hotel; leave some personality. Apart from anything else it gives buyers suggestions as to what they might do
People are often buying into a lifestyle as much as a property. Show them the attractive side of your lifestyle
Consider removing any bulky furniture that makes the room feel small and replacing it with smaller furniture

A fresh lick of paint

Giving your walls a fresh lick of neutral paint will make your home seem lighter and bigger
It will help the viewers to more easily imagine how they would adapt the rooms to their needs
It will be easier for the buyers to move in and use the rooms immediately than if the walls were still bright purple or lime green
Create a good first impression – give the front door a new coat of brightly coloured paint

Fix and clean

Make any minor repairs necessary – holes in walls, broken door knobs, cracked tiles, torn or threadbare carpets. Many buyers want to move in without making changes
Clean everything until it sparkles. Get rid of limescale, clean and repair tile grout, wax wooden floors, get rid of all odours, hang up fresh towels. This will make the place more appealing and allow viewers to imagine living there
Tidy up the garden: cut bushes back, clean the patio and furniture and cut the grass. While this doesn’t add much value to your home it makes it more likely to sell as people visualise themselves using the garden

Update the kitchen

The kitchen is the most valuable room in a house. It is worth the most per square foot and can make the difference when buyers are unsure
Consider refacing your kitchen cabinetry. This is much cheaper than installing new cabinetry and often as effective
Upgrading kitchen counter tops is expensive, but can add serious value
Declutter the surfaces and just leave a bowl of fruit out. Take out any bulky appliances
Consider upgrading the plumbing fixtures and white goods, but keep in mind that while that could make your property sell faster, you will be unlikely to recoup their full value

Light and airy

Wall mirrors make a room look much bigger and lighter. Consider putting some up, especially in smaller rooms or hallways
Clean windows inside and out and replace any broken light bulbs. Making the place feel light and airy makes rooms feel bigger and the property more attractive
Ensure that you have lamps on in any dark corners
Putting a soft lamp in the bathroom can create a warm glow

Make it look pretty

Make sure the windows are properly dressed with blinds or curtains as naked windows make a place feel impersonal and run down. Buy some cheap ones if necessary
Plants and flowers bring colour, life and light to a room and also smell wonderful. So does that fruit bowl on your kitchen counter

Get the right smells

Bad smells are the single biggest turn off for prospective buyers. Don’t just cover them up, fix the source of the smell. Clear drains, wash bins, open windows, air the kitchen from old cooking smells, get rid of furniture that is embedded with cigarette smoke, and wash any grimy bed sheets
If you are a smoker, place bowls of vinegar around the house and leave out for three days. Though the vinegar will smell when you open the windows it will disappear quickly taking a most of the stale cigarette smell out with it
Conversely, good smells can make a property feel like an alluring home. While it might be impractical to bake fresh bread, cakes or brownies for every viewer that visits your home, you could perhaps brew some fresh coffee

Showing the property

You’ll have chosen a good estate agent….Pink Street *Coughs* so let them show the property
It’s their job to know what things to say, what to highlight and what to downplay
They are also effective at answering those tricky questions about the noisy neighbours

Obvious conversions

If there are any obvious conversions – adapting the garage into extra rooms or going up into the loft – and you have some spare cash, why not take advantage of this cash cow rather than letting the new owners make easy money out of improvements. You should usually recoup your money
If you don’t have enough spare cash to make the conversion, consider getting planning permission anyway
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IS THE HOUSING MARKET STAGNANT?

Recent news reports have highlighted that over 75% of Britain’s housing equity now belongs to the over 50s. With an ever-growing and aging population, are less people selling their properties and as a result reducing mobility in the market?

A study by Lloyds Bank, reported by Estate Agent Today, found that 63% of ‘Empty Nesters’ are enjoying their home now they aren’t sharing it with their children, however 14% felt their home is too empty.
At the other end of the spectrum, under 35s account for just 4% of the housing wealth in the UK, with the ‘Generation Rent’ is rising, as the average first time buyer is now 30 years old. Partially due to the increasing eligibility criteria first –time buyers are up against.

However, despite the many contributing factors that influence the housing market, I would still hesitate to call the market stagnant.  Despite a slow start to the year, not helped by the severe weather, we are encouraged by the activity we have seen in the Portsmouth housing market.

A recent RICS study, reported that people are still on the move. And a moving market is the key to a healthy market! So is there reduced mobility in the market? I don’t think so, however this is more red tape to get first-time buyers in and more Empty Nesters enjoying their homes again.

Just remember, the market will always fluctuate and I truly believe that the right time to sell is unique to every vendor, and you should do so when it best suits you and your family. 

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MORTGAGE DEPOSIT ESTIMATES ARE FAR TOO HIGH

More than 75 per cent of people in the Portsmouth area asked to estimate the deposit needed to buy a £250,000 new home massively overestimated how much was needed. Using the government’s Help to Buy scheme, buyers need just £12,500 for the deposit but a survey by housebuilder Barratt Homes reveals that more than 75 per cent questioned believed they would have to save at least £15,000. More than 30 per cent believed they would need to save between £25,000 and £30,000, more than double the real amount.

Adam Champion from mortgage company The New Homes Group said the figures are in line with buyers’ expectations. ‘Most people think you need at least a 10 per cent deposit on a new home when we start talking to them and are pleasantly surprised by the true figure of just five per cent,’ he said. Barratt Homes sales director Michelle Storer said the figures should be welcomed by anyone considering buying a new home.“Historically-low interest rates, together with Help to Buy and a wealth of mortgage options available at the moment, make now an excellent time to buy,” she said.

“Despite some uncertainty over Brexit the new homes market is extremely busy and the more people know about the low deposits the more people can move into their dream home.”
The survey also highlighted awareness of low deposits in the different age groups. Although everyone asked overestimated the amount needed, the amount estimated rose with age.
Those between 18-24 years old believed they would need to save an average of £19,000 for a deposit while the over-55s guessed a deposit would cost in excess of £23,000.

“Schemes such as Help to Buy are available to all ages but it is mainly first time buyers who have benefitted from the help so it is good to see the younger people are closer to the right figure,” said Michelle.

Source - Portsmouth News

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Pink Street’s guide to the checkout process

If you’re a tenant getting ready to move out of your rented home, then it’s more than likely that you’ve already started to think about whether you are going to get all of your deposit back. Checkouts are important, and a successful checkout can reduce the chance of any deposit disputes. For landlords, it gives a clear record of the state of the property, and for tenants, it provides the opportunity to state a case for any damage caused during the tenancy.
Pink Street gives you a guide to the checkout process, so you know what to expect and have the best chance of getting your full deposit back.

Before checkout

Your landlord will give you the opportunity to be present at the checkout stage of your tenancy, and we strongly recommend that you do attend. As part of this, they should let you know about your exact responsibilities two weeks in advance (unless otherwise stated in your tenancy agreement).
Your landlord should let you know what they’re expecting from you and what you’ll have to do before you depart the property. If you’re unsure about your responsibilities as a tenant, then you can also check your tenancy agreement, where these will be listed clearly.
You should have been given a copy of your inventory by your landlord when you moved into the property. If you still have this available, then it’s a great tool to use when moving out. If not, ask your landlord for another copy. This way, you can check the inventory for an accurate description of the property from when you moved in, so you can compare it to its current state and undertake any work necessary to restore it to its previous state.
Additionally, as well as cleaning the property, there’s a couple of other things you should do:
  • Ensure all items are where they were when you first moved in and are as described in the inventory.
  • Make sure that all light bulbs are working.
  • If you have a garden, cut the grass, de-weed and ensure that it’s left tidy.
  • Defrost the freezer.
  • Remove all remaining food containers from freezers, fridges and cupboards.
  • Ensure that all utility bills (including council tax) are paid in full. Your landlord should then check the meter readings upon checkout. To settle any final bills, they may ask you for a forwarding address.
  • If you have a telephone line, then inform your service provider that you’re moving.
  • Ask for all your post to be re-directed. You can arrange this at the post office.
  • If you have any furniture or white goods that you’re not planning to take with you, ensure that they’re disposed of safely, and don’t leave them in the property. If you’re unsure how, contact the Environmental Service Department.

At checkout

After completing any repair work and ensuring that the property is in the same state as it was when you first moved in, your checkout process should run relatively smoothly.
During checkout, your landlord will be inspecting the property for any damage, its overall condition, and its cleanliness. They’ll cross-reference this against the inventory to see whether the condition of the property has changed. If there are any changes to the condition of the property, or any dilapidations, then they’ll note these against the inventory.
In doing this, they’ll also take into account what’s known as ‘fair wear and tear’; especially if you’ve been a tenant for a long time. As such, they’ll expect items to change over time based on their age and usage. This is different to damage such as chips, rips or burns.
As soon as they’ve completed the checkout, they’ll complete a checkout report, comparing the property with the inventory. If your property is clean, and in the same state as when you first occupied it, then there should be no deductions from your deposit, meaning that you can both sign and date the form there and then, confirming as such.
If your landlord does wish to make any deductions, then this is the point that they will tell you. They should tell you what they are deducting and their reason for deducting this amount. At this point, you can either accept their conclusions, reject it and appeal, or come to a mutual agreement. If you either accept or come to an agreement, then this can be noted on the signed and dated form. If you do dispute the return of your deposit, then your tenancy deposit protection scheme will offer a free dispute resolution service, but both you and your landlord will have to agree to it. You’ll then both be asked to offer evidence, and the decision they make about your deposit is final.
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PORTSMOUTH RESIDENTS INVITED TO HAVE SAY ON CITY’S NEXT BIG PROJECTS

PEOPLE in Portsmouth are being asked for their views on major investments for the city including new flood defences, secondary school places and road layouts.
Portsmouth City Council wants people to have their say before it announces its next overall budget for the 2018/19 financial year.
The focus is on big, one-off schemes and the council wants to know how important people think they are.
Last year the council allocated £16.5 million to these projects.
People are also being consulted on spending on day-to-day services, including rubbish collections, libraries and care for children and older people.
Councillor Donna Jones, council leader, said: ‘Getting feedback from local people through the annual budget consultation is really important, and we want to hear from as many residents and businesses as possible.
‘We want to know where they think the council should be spending, and where it should be saving.
‘We need to make sure we’re investing in Portsmouth’s future, whether that’s by making sure homes and businesses are protected from flooding, or by providing enough school places for our children.’
To have your say search ‘budget consultation’ at portsmouth.gov.uk and complete an online survey.
You can also get a paper copy from the main reception at the civic offices, a library or housing office, by calling 02392 688073.
Go to the council’s website to find out more about upcoming neighbourhood forums.

Source - Portsmouth News

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TOM'S TAKE: CARILLION COLLAPSE

With the likely collapse of construction giant Carillion, we asked Tom Soane, MD of Pink Street for his view in this week’s Tom’s Take.

The construction industry will suffer which could mean less new property developments in the near future and existing developments could be delayed.  Large house-builders will have to cover the cost of completing Carillion’s unfinished work.  Then there’s the smaller companies and sub-contractors that will be left without work.
 
This will mean property development projects either won’t be completed or will take a lot longer to complete.  It all depends on whether these firms get the money owed to them by Carillion fast enough but I doubt it will be a quick process unless the government step in… which they won’t. I don’t think it’s a long-term issue but it certainly will be some short-term suffering for a lot of innocent companies and contractors who have just been getting on with their jobs.

I would also like to spare a thought for people who may be affected by the pensions. It’s not funny at all when people pay into a pension scheme throughout their working life only to have it threatened by inept management.
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TOM’S TAKE: THREE PREDICTIONS FOR THE HOUSING MARKET IN 2018

This week’s Tom looks into his crystal ball at the likely scenarios for the housing market in 2018.

1. I think the average purchase price for first time buyers is going to go up by 10-15% because of the removal of stamp duty for first timers, the support from the government such as the help to buy, and the mortgage lenders are lending again.  This has a knock-on effect as there will be more demand for more properties which always drives prices up.

2. I think landlords with larger portfolios will sell off some properties, so they have less properties with less mortgage after the reduction in tax relief on mortgage payments.  Landlords with smaller portfolios will push the rental prices up as a result to try and recover the lost tax relief.

3. I think we’ll see a lot of small independent high street estate agents either closing down or being bought.  With agency fees being driven down further and further by companies like Yopa and Pink Street, the high street agents are forced to compete.  The smaller agents will struggle on two fronts…  One, they won’t be able to bring on as many new properties because the public will not pay the higher fees anymore and will elect to go with other agents.  Two, if they try to compete on price they won’t be able to generate the revenue without completely changing their entire business model, overheads, premises and staff.  I think that will push a lot of them into trouble.    
. . .

TOP 4 ABSOLUTE DON'TS WHEN SELLING YOUR HOUSE

This week for Tom's Take we explore the rather less inspiring ways that home owners choose to display their largest asset for sale.

1. Leave washing up everywhere – Literally dishes, plates, cups all piling up in the sink, around the worktops, in the lounge, in the dining room.  Even in the bedroom!  I would say half the time people leave it in the sink when you go round to take photos.  If it’s in a bowl, I’ll take it out and put it all on the floor.  If it’s not, I leave it in the photos and show them after.

2. Leave food and mess all over the kitchen worktops – It’s like they don’t even notice!  All sorts of food just left out.  Sometimes it’s leftovers, sometimes it’s like the worktops act as storage for their tins, veggies, fruits, crisps and all that.  When you walk into a house where there’s last night’s dinner laying around, it stinks and it’s vile.  I’d say this laziness loses people £3-5k on their property! Maybe more.

3. Leave dirty washing all over the bedroom – Sometimes, as their agent, you feel like you’ve got to clear it away when you’re taking photos.  There has been occasions where I’ve left it in the photos and shown them afterwards…  Sometimes they’re not bothered, sometimes they say “oh, should I move all those clothes??”  If the washing has been there a while it absolutely stinks too!!  In some instances, the owner has cleared up for photos but when people come around to view they don’t bother.  Other times they have it tidy and clean for the first couple of viewings and then they can’t be bothered.  But they still expect the top money for their house even though they can’t be arsed to present it in its best condition.  We hear excuses like “well viewers want it to look ‘lived in’” or “oh I haven’t been able to clear up from dinner last night” and so on… It amazes me that people want top dollar for the most expensive thing they’ll ever buy, own and sell but they will take more care in selling their car on auto-trader or a jumper on eBay!

4. Let their dogs jump up at viewers – they expect the buyers to love their dogs like they do.  They say “don’t worry, he won’t bite” …  We don’t want your stupid dog jumping all over us!!  You get hairs all over you, it stinks, it slobbers!!  Most dogs are lovely and friendly but it’s a house viewing not a dog show.  Take your dog out, put it in the garden… Whatever!
. . .

UK HOUSE PRICE GROWTH SLOWS IN MAY

Recent news reports have suggested that UK house price growth has been slower than expected, so we asked our MD Tom Soane for his take.
 
 “Property prices should start to come down a bit over the next couple of years because people can’t borrow as much, bad news for owners. 
Generally speaking, normal property prices are dictated by first time buyers. If mortgage rates go up, first-time buyers can’t borrow as much.  That means the second-time mover won’t get as much for their property and subsequently they can’t offer as much on their next property and so on and so on.  
Don’t worry though, it’s all relative and we’re not talking massive differences around the Portsmouth area. 
Add economic uncertainly into all this and you’ll start to see less buyers and more people trying to sell.  If you follow the simple supply and demand rule, prices will come down.”
. . .

I am often asked should we go for the largest property we can get a mortgage for? Tom’s Take today will consider if there are any benefits to this strategy.

From a financial perspective, there will always be a limit on the value of your property. For example, you might spend £20,000 on an extension or a loft conversion but only increase your house value by £10,000. However, if you look at it from a life and living perspective, what does it matter? If you’re going to live in that property for the next 10 years, expand it to meet your needs. Work out how much the expansion would cost you over a 10-year period, would you rent that additional space in your house for £1000 per year? Personally, I believe you should do whatever you can to make your home comfortable and functional for your family. I will however caveat that last point, as it all has to be affordable. If you chose to use your mortgage to fund an extension, you may be able to cover the payments for now. But what if interest rates were to rise? If you read my recent Tom’s Take, market insight suggests that interest rises are a likely scenario in the current economic climate. Act with caution by calculating the worst-case scenario and budgeting for that. You should follow the same principle when buying a larger home. Work out what you want from a property and calculate the worst-case scenario. If you can afford that spectacular five bedroom detached house on Portsdown Hill if the interest rates rocketed, then in the words of Richard Branson “Screw it, let’s do it!”

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YOU’RE HAVING A LAUGH! PORTSMOUTH GUILDHALL TO HOST NEW TWO-DAY BIG MOUTH COMEDY FESTIVAL

THERE are big laughs in store for comedy fans as Portsmouth gets a new two-day comedy festival.
The Big Mouth Comedy Festival will take over Portsmouth Guildhall on March 10 and 11 next year.

And the first names announced are guaranteed to have you rolling in the aisles as they include Russell Kane, Andy Parsons, Seann Walsh and Paul Zerdin.
As well as top-class headliners, the weekend promises to feature cabaret-style events, open-mic sessions, ‘best of the Fringe’ preview acts and the crème de la crème of rising, local talent.
Headlining the Saturday night is multi-award-winning comedian, presenter, actor, author and scriptwriter, Russell Kane. He’s best known as the host of BBC3’s Live at the Electric and his appearances on BBC1’s Live at the Apollo, BBC3’s Unzipped, ITV2’s Celebrity Juice and I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here.

Supporting Russell will be Zoe Lyons with her trademark high-energy, brilliantly observed routines. Zoe has won both the Comedian’s Comedy Award and Chortle Best Club Comic.
Sunday night sees a mixed bill of Mock The Week stalwart Andy Parsons, ‘the Lie-In King’ Seann Walsh and America’s Got Talent winner, ventriloquist, Paul Zerdin.
With doors open from midday, Dead Ringers star Jan Ravens, and comedy legends Barry Cryer and Colin Sell are the first daytime acts to be announced.

Tickets go on sale at 10am today with a range of day, evening, all-day and weekend tickets available costing from £19 to £70. More names are set to be announced over the coming months.

Source - Portsmouth News

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