Unique Ways To Increase The Price Of Your Home

Are you looking to sell your home? If so, you probably want to find ways to increase the value as much as you can. Perhaps surprisingly, there are a lot of unique ways to increase the value of your home besides just the standard fare of making improvements on your own.

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Naming Your Home 

Have you ever considered the possibility of naming your house? Believe it or not, the simple act of naming your home can often significantly increase the value and the asking price that you can receive. For example, if you have the last name of Chandler, and your home is at 548 Hill Street, rather than just saying the address, wouldn’t it sound much better if you said this is Chandler Manor? We certainly think so!

Helping Out The Neighbours 

Sometimes, the simple act of helping out the neighbours can help improve the value of your home as well. How so? Consider the “eyesore effect.” Just the very fact alone that potential buyers will have to look at a messy neighbour’s property might bring down the price of your home. This is one of the main reasons why you should consider volunteering your time to help these neighbours out! For example, if you have a neighbour that has an unkempt garden, perhaps they simply do not have the time nor do they have the wherewithal to keep the garden or exterior up. However, if you work to keep this garden up for them, you will only feel good, but you will help the scenery for any potential buyers of your home. The same goes for a scrap in yards. You can definitely volunteer your time to spruce up a neighbour’s yard and help them clear out any scrap (with their permission of course). In some cases, the simple act of just helping to spruce up your neighbour’s property might even raise your house value by an extra thousand or two. 

Helping Out The Street 

You could also consider sprucing up part of the street that your home is on. Admittedly, this game plan is not something that can be accomplished overnight. However, if it is in your long-term planning to eventually sell your home you might consider some community involvement such as attending a meeting at a local homeowners association or leading an initiative before your local town council. Will the payoff happen right away? No, it won’t. This will occur over a number of months or even a number of years.

Add Some Extra Colour To Your Home 

Although this might seem like a no-brainer, adding some colour to your house can definitely improve the resale value of it. However, there is a catch here. Don’t just add any colour scheme to your home. First of all, you should intently study the colours of the houses that have recently sold well in your area. Although colour is of course not the only factor, look at what colour schemes the top sellers in the realty pages have had. You might strongly consider repainting your house these colours, and you might consider acquiring a computer program that will allow you to experiment with how different colours would look on your home as well. In doing some of these suggestions, you will definitely have a strong improvement in the potential resale value of your home!

 

A Love For Letting: Making Money on the Rental Market

If you’re looking for a long term investment that’s safe, earns you far more than a high interest savings account at the bank and makes a fun project then why not consider property? Particularly, renting out property. If you get an estate agent to manage things for you then it’s something that you can easily do around a full time job or other commitments as there’s no hassle to you. It also makes a great retirement fund later on, as each month you have the tenants rent landing in your bank account- if the property is paid off by then it’s money you can spend as you wish. However there are a few things you will need to do first to ensure you’re all set up and ready to go.

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Decor

Decorating a property for the rental market takes a few extra considerations. You don’t want to give yourself lots of added work or have to spend significant money between tenants redecorating. For this reason, keep it as a blank canvas. If you give tenants the freedom to redecorate, put a clause in the tenancy agreement that things must be returned back to normal at the end. A coat of paint and the use of a carpet cleaner will always be needed as fair wear and tear is allowed, but it beats having to spend hundreds or even thousands getting things back to the right condition. Keep walls plain and paint them white or magnolia, not only does this create a blank canvas for tenants but it’s cheap to repaint. Put down wooden floors downstairs and hard wearing carpets in a darker colour upstairs, these will stay looking nice for many years. If you want to offer the home as furnished, for example as a student let, you can actually buy furniture designed for the rental market. It’s usually more hardwearing and is often built in so it’s extra sturdy.

Contracts and Credit Checks

If you’re working with an agency this is something they can do for you, but you always have the option of drawing up your own contract. If you choose to go private and not use an agent then this is of course something you will need to do yourself. Again, if you’re using an agent they can arrange things like credit checking and vetting tenants so there’s no hassle to you,  but you always have the option of doing this yourself. If you are very against tenants having pets, smoking for example- make sure this is very clear in the agreement. When doing credit checks, decide how lenient you will be. For example, missed payments or defaults from four or five years ago may not reflect how the person manages their money today. But in some cases, you might prefer to take someone with a perfect or near perfect record to minimise your risk.

Inspections

Communication is key when it comes to property lettings. It might be your property, but it’s home to the person you’re renting to so you need to bear in mind their rights and considerations. If you want to inspect the property, you will usually need to give fair advance notice. It could be best to set out the terms of inspection in your tenancy agreement so everyone knows where they stand.

Starting off on the Right Foot as a Landlord

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If you are venturing into the market of property rentals, you need to put a careful plan in place to ensure that everything goes smoothly and that you start off this journey on the right foot. Being a landlord can be very profitable, but it can also be a lot of hard work. Even worse, it can be a lot of hassle if you do not go about the approach correctly. But, don’t fret, as here are some great tips to help you out…

Realise that being a landlord is a business – The first thing you need to do is recognise that being a landlord is a business. A lot of people end up stuck into the trap of simply seeing themselves as homeowners only. However, you are now more than this, and that is why you need to have a good business plan in place if you are to attain the success you hope to.

Price it right – Getting the price right is so important as a landlord. This is where a professional rent valuation really shows its worth. After all, if you price your monthly rental fees too high, you are going to struggle to rent out the property. On the flip side, if you set your rates too low, you are going to miss out on a considerable amount of money.

Don’t invest somewhere you don’t know – Once you are more submerged in the property market and you have more experience, investing abroad and so on becomes an option. However, to begin with, it is always better to choose somewhere that you know and that you can reach. Conduct thorough research beforehand regarding the rental market in the area so you can make sure that investing here is a smart move.

Keep your tenants happy – The secret to a successful tenant relationship is to keep them happy. You and your tenants do not have to be at loggerheads. If you treat them fairly and fix any problems as soon as they arise, they will do the same back for you in terms of looking after your property and paying their rent on time.

Consider property management services – Last but not least, a lot of people underestimate the commitment that is involved when it comes to being a landlord. You are responsible for all of the property maintenance. Not only this, but if something breaks like the boiler, you will be expected to resolve this within 24 hours. If this is not the sort of commitment you can make, hiring a property management company to take care of everything like that for you is a must.

If you follow the suggestions that have been presented above, you can make sure you start your journey off on the right foot as a landlord. There is a lot to take into account, and you will probably make a few little mistakes along the way. However, it is all part of the process, so embrace it and make sure you learn as you go.

 

Home Loans: Your Options for Purchasing a Property

The vast majority of homebuyers in the UK will require some type of home loan to fund their property purchase. Yet many aren’t aware of how many loan options are available to them. Buyers don’t have to just rely on a mortgage from a high street lender if they wish to buy a home. There are a number of different loan types and government back schemes that can augment or completely replace the need for a mortgage. This guide will explore all of the different options available to you so that you’re in the best position possible when it comes to finding finance.

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A private mortgage

For many, a mortgage will be the only loan they use to buy a home. Individuals can rarely pay for a house in cash, so banks and high street lenders will typically loan up to 95% of the cost of the home. In return, the mortgage provider will charge interest on the loan, which the homeowner must pay every month. Failure to keep up with payments will result in losing the home. Mortgages usually last 25 years, but they can be shortened to any length of time. Mortgages are the most common form of home loan, but they aren’t suitable for everyone. Banks have become increasingly cautious since the recession and it is much harder for people with small deposits, low incomes or bad credit histories to secure a mortgage.

Help to buy equity loan

First-time buyers have been hit particularly hard by high property prices, which have made it almost impossible for many young people to get on the property ladder. In response, the Government launched the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme to help first timers get a foot on the ladder. With a 5% deposit, first-time buyers can secure a 20% loan from the Government on the cost of a newly built home meaning they will only need a mortgage of 75% to complete the purchase. This will result in much more affordable repayments. The Government’s loan is interest free for five years and then charged at 1.75%, rising annually by any increase in the Retail Price Index plus 1%. To qualify you must be a first-time buyer, use the property as your permanent residence and be buying a home that costs under £600,000.

Shared ownership

Another Government-backed initiative is the Shared Ownership scheme. Rather than buy the entire property outright, this allows buyers to buy a share of the property and then pay rent on the remainder. As a result, you pay the mortgage payments you can afford to start off with, and then buy the remainder of the property over time as your finances allow. There are strict criteria that you must meet to become eligible for this scheme, however.

  • Your household income must be less than £80,000 (or £90,000 if you live in London)
  • You can’t own any other property
  • You can’t have outstanding credit issues

Only specific properties are available to buy under this scheme, too. They will typically be new builds and will be purchased from a Housing Association.

Right to buy

A final Government-backed initiative to help people get on the property ladder is the Right to Buy scheme. If you are council tenant who has been living at your property for at least five years, you could be eligible to purchase the property at a discount. Discounts can be as large as £104,900 in London and £78,600 outside of the capital. Not everyone is eligible, however, and you will need to check the Government website to confirm your eligibility.

Bridging loans

The problem with mortgages is that they can take up to six months to get approved. For many buyers, this delay can mean missing out on the property of their dreams. In cases where time is of the essence, a bridging mortgage specialist like Top 10 Finance Bridging Loans can help you find finance that’s an excellent alternative to traditional mortgages. A bridging loan is a short-term loan that aims to “bridge the gap” until more secure funding is obtained whereupon the loan is repaid in full with interest. A common scenario where a bridging loan is useful is where a family want to purchase a new home before their current property has sold. Getting a mortgage will take too long but a bridging loan can be approved in a fraction of the time. The bridging loan is used to buy the new home and is repaid when the previous family home has been sold. Bridging loans aren’t for everyone so it will be important to speak to a bridging mortgage specialist to decide if this is the right solution for you.

So there you have it, there are all of the types of funding available to you. But don’t forget to speak to a specialist before you apply for a home loan or government scheme.

Real Estate Investment: 4 Properties You’ll Never Struggle To Find A Tenant For

As attractive as the idea of property investment may be, many people find themselves put off by one huge concern: the ability to find tenants. Tenants, after all, are crucial to your ability to generate a profit from your property portfolio— but there’s no denying that landlords often  have huge problems relating to consistent tenant occupation rates.

Tenants are, to an extent, inherently transitory. This is one of the major benefits of only renting a home; it offers a flexibility that allows people to move from place-to-place with relative ease. As attractive as this ability may be to tenants, it can make prospective landlords rather edgy about the viability of property investment as a whole.

If you have contemplated real estate investment and then pulled back over concerns regarding finding tenants, then the properties below are well worth considering…

#1 – Student accommodation

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Student accommodation is always difficult to find. Simply put, there are more students than there are student-friendly properties. Thus, thanks to the eternal rules of supply and demand, choosing an investment property that can be rented to students is a surefire way of ensuring consistent occupation.

There are many decisions you will have to make if you investigate this kind of property. Are you going to let to a single student, who occupies a single apartment? Or are you going to let a single multi-room dwelling to a number of different students, who may or may not know one another? The second option is by far the most common, as few students have the funds available to live completely independently of one another.

If you let a property to a number of different students, then you will need to satisfy the rules and regulations involved in the process. You will be letting a property under a “house in multiple occupation” (commonly abbreviated to HMO) designation, which does require compliance with extra conditions. However, if you find a property close to a campus and contact HMO specialists to ensure you meet all the necessary requirements, you should be able to expect a high occupancy rate— which helps to protect both your initial investment and your profits.

#2 – Properties close to a beach

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As with student accommodation, this option is a different form to the standard “buy to let” that most prospective property investors imagine. However, again like student accommodation, buying properties close to a beach can be an incredibly savvy move.

First and foremost, you’ll be able to consider letting a beach-adjacent property in the conventional way; to one individual or family group, and renewing the tenancy on a monthly basis. Properties close to a beach will always be popular, but you are still going to be subject to the need to find consistent tenants. This, as discussed, can be difficult.

So buck the norm and opt for a different method of generating an income with your property investment. Rather than letting your property on a standard basis, offer your property for holiday rentals and AirBnB listings. These rentals might be short, but the close proximity to the beach should help ensure a continual stream of tenants, and those tenants will be easier to manage than conventional renters. Renting to holidaymakers gives you flexibility to reclaim and use the property whenever you want, allowing your investment a sense of freedom without all the red tape involved in managing a conventional tenant.

#3 – City centre apartments

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It doesn’t matter what city it is; city centre apartments will always be a great choice for rental properties. These properties are so in demand for one simple reason: everyone hates commuting.

If you find a property close to a business or financial district, there’s no doubt it will be an excellent investment. Dedicated workers in these areas will love the idea of a short commute combined with great access to the city’s nightlife, or you may find tenants who prefer to use the property as a pied-à-terre during the working week. Either way, a great city centre location is a reliable choice for any property investor.

While you may naturally be drawn to family homes in beautiful locations as a property investment, ultimately, you have to follow the people. City centres will always be bustling hubs, so you can expect a constant stream of city-centre workers wanting to rent from you. You’ll also be able to charge higher prices per square foot than you would on a family home. The one downside is that you will also pay more for the property itself, but you should be able to earn this investment back in consistent rental income.

#4 – A property with nearby transport connections

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It’s not just a nice neighbourhood or close proximity to a good shopping mall that you need to keep an eye out for when buying properties; transport connections matter too. Ideally, you want to find a property that offers at least two of the following:

  • Easy access to any railway or underground stations, preferably within less than 10 minutes walking time.
  • Easy access to bus stops.
  • Good road connections; less than 10 minutes drive away from a connection to a major highway.

Transport is often a key decision for tenants, especially those who are going to be commuting. You could have the nicest investment property in the world, but if it’s in the middle of nowhere and only serviced by a few buses a day, then tenants just aren’t going to want to live there. Tenants will accept smaller properties with excellent transport connections, so don’t think that the property itself is the only consideration you have to make. Your chosen property has to be as nice as possible, but its location — and particularly its proximity to transport links — is just as, if not more, important.

In conclusion

So if you have always wanted to try property investment but have worried about obtaining tenants, choosing one of the options above could be the perfect solution for you. While you will inevitably occasionally have gaps between tenants, the four property types above can help to ensure those gaps are relatively short.