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Landlords have had to deal with many regulatory issues in recent years and it appears as though there are many more to come.

The amount of administrative duties that landlords have to deal with can be off-putting, especially if you are new to this sector.

There are many benefits associated with being a landlord, and a lot of people see it as a lucrative role and sector, but it is important to be aware that there are many challenges to overcome. At Oaks Estate Agents, we work hard to ensure landlords receive the support they need to develop their business and care for tenants.

One issue that landlords should be aware of is the consultation on electrical safety. While there are clearly defined regulations relating to gas, there hasn’t been the same level of focus on electrical matters in rental matter. This is likely to change in the future. If changes are made, it is likely that there will be a notable impact on landlords and the whole buy to let sector in England and Wales.

Landlords will have more work to do to ensure their property complies with regulations

It is believed that the consultation process will request landlords to carry out mandatory electrical installation safety checks every five years. This will apply to all the private rented properties that are held within a landlord’s portfolio.

Similar measures already exist in Scotland and it is likely that the consultation period will approve similar fines, which run between £5,000 and £30,000. These fines are significant enough to act as a deterrent, motivating landlords to ensure that their properties comply with regulations. There is likely to be differences between new regulations and what exists in Scotland, with no requirements for checks on electrical appliances. This is an area that may be altered in the future, particularly with events from 2017 in mind, but as it stands, there will be no need for landlords to undertake tests on applicants like fridges or freezers that they supply to the property.

Landlords should also be aware that they will likely have to provide tenants with a copy of electrical installation safety documents to be able to evict tenants under a Section 21 notice. The consultation still needs to be approved but if it is, it is likely that new regulations will be in place before the end of 2018.

Landlords should be prepared

It is always best to be as prepared as possible, and landlords should realise that they may have to make many changes at their properties. Anything which impacts on a landlord’s time and finances is going to be an issue and landlords should always consider safety for their tenants.

Any landlord looking for assistance in managing their property or in dealing with the latest regulations should contact a local expert for help. At Oaks Estate Agents, we are more than happy to provide you with guidance and support on a wide range of landlord matters. When you need support and assistance, get in touch with specialists who will help you find peace of mind.

With a strong level of demand for property in the UK these days, and the emergence of online property portals, there is an argument that the property market is a year-round business these days

Traditionally, the market would be dormant until spring, but there is enough to suggest that winter can be an active time for buyers and sellers.

However, spring reigns supreme when it comes to property deals and one recent study suggests the perfect day to place your property on the market is looming.

The study was undertaken by a company called Emoov, and while it is a rather simplistic approach to offering guidance to property owners looking to sell, it does create a talking point in the property market. The premise for the best date to list a property for sale comes from:

  • Sales figures for each month of 2017, with June being the busiest month
  • The average number of days it takes to sell property, with 96 days being the UK average

This then led the company to suggest that the 17th of March is the best date to list a property to sell it. Of course, there are many factors to consider and the average time it takes to sell property varies around the country and for types of property. In south London, the market is not the same as in Newcastle, Manchester or Cardiff, to name three examples, so this is an overly simplistic way of looking at the property market.

It takes time to sell property

However, it is a smart reminder of the time it can take to sell a property. If you are looking to conclude a deal in time for summer or even autumn, you need to be working in advance. You may be fortunate enough to sell your home quickly but for most homeowners, a period of three months from a property being on the market to the deal being concluded is not unusual.

Good fortune can help you sell your home

Then again, with the 17th of March being St Patrick’s Day, it could be that listing your home on this date will allow you to benefit from the luck of the Irish. A piece of good fortune could help you to sell your home at a faster rate, but, if you are keen to sell your home in an efficient manner, there are a number of steps you should take.

One of the most important steps you can take is to enlist the services of a skilled estate agent. At Oaks Estate Agents, we are pleased to say that we have experience and expertise in the Streatham property market, and in the surrounding areas. We have developed a reputation in this area, and you can be confident that we will work hard to maintain and develop this reputation, so if you are looking to sell your home by a certain date, please get in touch.

No matter what date you decide to list your property on the market, you will find that we are more than happy to assist you.

first-time buyers

Given the difficulties that many people have getting on to the property ladder, it is no surprise to learn that there is an increasing array of support and options for first-time buyers.

There are various Help To Buy schemes aimed at assisting first-time buyers and some mortgage lenders offer specialist mortgages that are aimed at assisting first-time buyers purchase property.

Support has also been provided by the removal of stamp duty for first-time buyers purchasing property priced at less than £300,000.

That last move may not be of benefit to people looking to buy in London but at Oaks Estate Agents, we believe that 2017 was a good year for first-time buyers.

This thinking has been borne out by figures provided by UK Finance. Their figures suggest that 2017 saw the highest volume of first-time property buyers since 2006, with 365,000 people or households making their way on to the property ladder. This is a positive sign because there have been fears that many first-time buyers have been priced out of the market. The importance of building a sizable mortgage should not be overstated in getting on to the property ladder but if more first-time buyers can make their way on to the property ladder, it should provide confidence to others.

First-time buyers were active in 2017

This was the highest number of first-time buyers since 2006 and with there being 340,000 first-time buyers in 2016, there was an increase of 7.4% in 2017. The stamp duty cut was implemented to late to state that this change was a factor in getting more first-time buyers into the market, although some sources may claim that it was a factor. Overall though, there is an awareness that more needs to be done to help first-time buyers, and the figures suggest that help is being offered and accepted.

If you are interested in some of the average figures for first-time buyers, the average age of someone buying their first home is 30 years old and they hold an average income of £41,000. The age of first-time buyers is rising as the process becomes more expensive and more difficult.

Some warning signs exist in UK property market

Of course, it would be wrong to say that this is an indicator that everything is operating well within the property market. For December of 2017, the number of mortgages that were completed for first-time buyers stands at 30,800. This represents a fall of 5.2% on the previous month but many people will state that December can be a difficult month for mortgage applications and may not be indicative of a trend.

With respect to the number of new home mover mortgages which were completed in December, there were 30,700 completed mortgages and this represents a fall of 4.7%.

Whether you are a first-time buyer, a seller or just looking for your next move, you will find that Oaks Estate Agents is the Streatham based estate agent to call on. We care about the local community and we look forward to helping you, so whatever move you want to make, come and speak to the property experts.

Second steppers

It is accepted that buying a home is expensive with many people struggling to get on to the property ladder. This is the case across the UK but with London property prices being higher, it can be very difficult for prospective buyers to save the money they require to buy a home. Therefore, it is good news that there is a stronger level of assistance for first-time buyers.

An example of the level of support provided to first-time buyers is the removal of stamp duty when the price of property is less than £300,000. There is debate as to whether this is of benefit or not, with some sources saying this move will lead to property prices rising; but overall, there is positivity surrounding this support being offered to first-time buyers.

Saving for a house deposit can be difficult

However, what about existing home-owners who must save for a deposit to be able to buy their next home. There is an assumption that when someone steps on to the property ladder, they can progress upwards by selling their home and obtaining a new mortgage. This isn’t always the case, and it seems a growing number of property owners require assistance to move up the property ladder.

There has been a study undertaken by My House which found that 25% of people owning their first home are looking for a gifted deposit in order to move up the property ladder. The “Bank of Mum and Dad” is commonly cited as a way for first-time buyers to get on to the property ladder, but it may be that second-steppers require this level of assistance too. The same study suggests that 14% of homeowners, who after buying their first home, have no intention of moving again until they retire. Around a third of respondents stated that they have no intention of moving unless they require a larger home.

The bigger the deposit, the easier it is to obtain a mortgage

There is no denying that the deposit is an essential component of buying property, and this now seems to be becoming more crucial for all buyers, not just first-time buyers. This means there will likely be an increased level of focus on how to save money to raise funds for a deposit.

Some of the most common tips offered to help people save for a deposit include:

  • Stop renting and move back with your parents to save money
  • Downsize your current property option
  • Review your spending and look to save money wherever you can
  • Review Help To Buy schemes to see if they can help

Of course, if you already own your home and you need to save for the deposit for your next purchase, many of these tips are unsuitable. When you own a home, you don’t have the option of going back to a parents’ home or a sibling, you need to make savings while paying off your current mortgage.

The fact that existing homeowners must save for a deposit is something that isn’t really being addressed in the industry, but it is something that more and more property owners are experiencing. There will not be the same sort of clamour to assist second-steppers as there is first-time buyers, but this is an area of the mortgage market that is likely to come under closer scrutiny in the near future.

At Oaks Estate Agents, we know the challenges people face in the property market, regardless of what their current home ownership status is. If you are looking for a home in or around Streatham, you will find that we are the local estate agents who are here to help you make your next move.

The removal of stamp duty for first-time buyers purchasing property priced at less than £300,000 was always going to have an impact on the property market. The announcement during the November of 2017 Budget was a slight surprise, so it was unlikely that it would lead to a flock of buyers rushing out to purchase a home immediately, but such is the nature of the property market, industry professionals and onlookers are keen to see if there has been any impact on the housing market.

Countrywide are a well-known name in the estate agent sector and they have said that they have noticed an increase in first-time buyers taking an interest in buying property. The company has cited a 10% increase, with respect to year on year comparisons, for walk-ins from first time buyers. This is reportedly the largest increase since 2013, so you can see why the company believes that the cut in stamp duty has had a positive impact on them.

Some people are keen to see stamp duty impact on the property market

There has also been support for this school of thought from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Philip Hammond has stated that he believes first-time buyers are showing a stronger level of interest in the property market already. These are positive signs but of course, interest doesn’t necessarily lead to a purchase, so it would be wrong for people to get too excited just yet at the prospect of many first-time buyers clambering on to the property ladder.

It will not come as a surprise to learn that not everyone is as positive about the impact of the stamp duty cut as the Chancellor or Countrywide. A survey undertaken by the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors, Rics, shows that as of December 2017, 86% of surveyors had failed to see an increase in interest from first-time buyers. Rics also asked surveyors if they believed that the stamp duty cut would have an impact on the property market. 66% of surveyors responded that they didn’t believe the market would be positively impacted on by this change while 12% of respondents stated they believed that this cut would help first-time buyers to make their way on to the market.

It is clearly too soon to make a judgment call on this matter but Rics don’t believe that the cut will have any sort of noticeable impact on the market, certainly not in the way that the Government would hope for.

Not every first-time buyer will benefit from cut in stamp duty

There is a need to remember that not all first-time buyers will be able to benefit from the stamp duty cut. In some parts of the country, with the north east of England being a fantastic example, many first-time buyers will purchase property at a price lower than £125,000. This means they wouldn’t pay any stamp duty in the first place.

There will also be buyers who are only eligible for a reduction in stamp duty, those buying property between £300,000 and £500,000; and of course, there will be buyers who purchase property at a price higher than £500,000; which entitles them to no discount at all. According to Zoopla, the average price of property in Streatham, as of February 2018, stands at £528,363; a price higher than the stamp-duty benefit cut-off price.

The impact of the stamp duty cut is one of the issues that will remain relevant in 2018, and at Oaks Estate Agents, we will keep in touch with this matter. If you are keen to follow the latest developments in the property market, make sure you stay in touch with us.

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