The word ‘Brexit’ has forced its way into our everyday conversation with intrigue, fear, excitement and confusion to name but a few of the mixed feelings true to many at this uncertain time. Financially the consequences are relatively unknown now that Article 50 has been triggered and the departure of the UK from Europe has begun.
Google has been paying particular attention looking at what we (the general public) have been searching for over recent weeks; “How will Brexit affect…?” This has revealed the concerns of the majority of the public; house prices, property, mortgages, the pound, interest rates, the economy and immigration.
At the end of 2016 the immediate effect of the vote left the UK housing transactions down 9% compared to the same period in 2015, according to figures from HM Revenue & Customs.
So… how exactly will Brexit impact on your property and the local property market in Sutton Coldfield?
Sutton Coldfield has always had a very strong and traditional property market, due to the fantastic commuter connections, road links, rail network and outstanding schooling available right across the town. With plans now approved for the construction of around 6,000 homes bordering Walmley and Minworth as well as the approval of a further site set aside for a new industrial developmenst, Sutton Coldfield is well and truly staying on the map and remaining a very key place for business owners, families and first time buyers to put down roots.
London is likely to be most affected by Brexit as houses carry such a hefty price tag. Buyers will remain cautious in an uncertain market with concerns over inflation still hanging heavy in the air. This is evident already as Birmingham property prices continue to rise at 7.4% now overtaking London at 6.4% according to property analysts Hometrack. – Great News!!
As with any big change there is bound to be a slight shudder in the sales market as we all adjust, but it doesn’t just stop there. The government have also made changes in the lettings market too with the upheaval to ensure that fees are more transparent. This has led to further confusion and local landlords are beginning to unburden themselves, releasing further properties to the market for sale boosting the market further.
Everyday people buy and sell houses, we all need somewhere to live and life is never certain. What is around the corner we do not know, but what is certain is the longstanding reputation of Sutton Coldfield!! The demand for housing has always outstripped the supply and this has not changed. So, what will the impact be… a slight shudder and then business as usual!
If you are considering selling your property in 2017 call Harriet Butler directly for a no obligation, confidential chat 7 days a week!
0121 294 6735
What Colour Should You Paint Your Front Door?
Your front door is the entrance to your home and is seen by some as the entrance to your personality. It is where you can allow yourself to go a little wild with your colours..
Over the years I have seen pink, mauve, bright green (and I’m not talking about a nice shade!), metal like a bomb shelter and many many traditional white doors. So, what is the most common colour? Well taking away the obvious white yellow has come up as the most popular colour when people choose to re-paint their doors after all it is a place where you can express yourself with a colour that you wouldn’t necessarily use indoor.
Next time you think about changing the colour of your door why not consider some of the following colours:
- Pansy Pink
- Bright Yellow
- Ocean Turquoise
-Telephone Box Red
- Mysterious Purple
- Zingy Orange
- Kitchen Garden Sage
- Cosmopolitan Grey
- Or even Dark and Stormy Black!
Enjoy and keep us posted with your pictures!
Change is coming to EPC’s
An EPC or Energy Performance Certifcate is an integral part when deciding to market your property for sale or let. From 1st April 2018 change is coming in the rental market, any property that is rented out in the private sector will be required to have a minimum energy performance rating of E. This is the light orange banding, 39-54. These new regulations will come into force for all new lets as well as renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020.
This new requirement will mean that for landlords it will be unlawful to rent a property that is rated less than E, unless there is an applicable exemption.
What happens if your property does not comply?
A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches.
Are you exempt?
The only properties that are exempt from the new regulations are:
• Buildings and monuments officially protected as part of a designated environment, this includes listed buildings
• Temporary buildings with a planned timed use of 2 years or less.
• Residential buildings which are intended to be used less than 4 months of the year.
• Stand-alone buildings with a total usable floor area of less than 50 square meters.
A Festive Recipe From Hazelwoods To You This Christmas…
Love them or loath them, try this recipe from Hazelwoods to spruce up your sprouts this festive season…
Cranberry & Walnut Brussell Sprouts:
(Serves 4 - Contains Nuts)
¼ cup olive oil
1lm fresh Brussel sprouts
½ cup of dried cranberries OR 1 jar of jammed cranberries
2 tbsp water
1/3 cup of chopped walnuts
2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1. Heat a large pan with oil over a medium heat.
2. Wash, Trim and Cut Brussel Sprouts lengthways, add to the pan.
3. Cook sprouts for 4-5 minutes until browning
4. Add cranberries and water to sprouts and cook for a further 2 minutes or until sprouts are crisping.
5. Stir in Walnuts until water is evaporated.
6. Stir is Balsamic Vinegar.
Are You Investing In Property? - Five Things You Need To Know...
Whether you are a seasoned landlord with a portfolio of properties, an accidental landlord or even if you are only considering your first venture there have been a number of recent changes to the buy-to-let system meaning that investing in property isn't quite as simple as it used to be.
1. Competition is as fierce as ever!
Since Brexit house prices have remained stable with Rightmove reporting an impressive 30% increase from investors between the second and third quarters of 2016. The rumours and hype of a property crash have yet to come true and people are looking to invest into the property market now more than ever.
More landlords = More choice of properties = Lower rental yields? (That’s one theory)
2. CAUTION!! The Mortgage interest tax relief is changing…
Landlords are currently able to deduct interest payments from their income before calculating how much tax they pay. BUT… from April 2017 the tax relief that landlords can claim will be reduced until 2020 to the basic rate of 20%.
Year Rental Income Mortgage Interest Initial Profit Tax Overall Profit
2016 £20,000 £13,000 £7,000 £2,800 £4,200
2020 £20,000 £13,000 £7,000 £5,400 £1,600
Notes: Example based on a rental income of £20,000 a year and mortgage interest payments of £13,000. In 2016, you pay 40% interest on your profit (40% of £7,000 = £2,800), while in 2020, you pay 40% tax on the overall income (40% of £20,000 = £8,000) minus the 20% allowance (20% of £13,000 = £2,600), equalling a total tax payment of £5,400 (£8,000-£2,600).
3. Goodbye ‘wear and tear allowance’
Prior to the changes in April if you were to let a property out furnished you were able to deduct 10% of the annual rent from the profits before any tax was applied. This ruling was allowed even if the landlord did not buy, replace or repair the furnishing at all during the year. This has now all changed, landlords are only to claim for the cost of replacing any furnishing.
4. Stamp Duty is getting more costly
Since April, landlords are now faced with a 3% increase in the stamp duty paid when purchasing an investment property on each tax band. For example, a property that is bought for £200,000 used to cost £1,500 before the changes but would now cost a landlord a whopping £7,500.
5. Right to Rent checks
When renting a property as a landlord you must check that your new tenants are allowed to live in the UK, if they are not you could face a fine of up to £3,000. This ruling will effect private landlords the most as most letting agents will conduct this check for you but always double check!
Stop renting... Now is the time to buy your piece of the property pie!
I am often asked about the current state of the property market and if there are lots of first time buyers about. It is common knowledge that first time buyers are the fuel to the property markets fire but more and more people are choosing to rent rather than buy… Why?
When renting you can often get a larger house than if you choose to buy your own but think of all that hard earned cash that is going straight into your landlord’s pocket. The rental market is becoming as fierce as the sales market so why not pay off your own mortgage and take the leap… You may feel like you are downsizing in space but you will be upsizing in life with an asset in your name. Prices are set to rise in the area so now more than ever is the perfect time to get your piece of the pie!
How to present your home ready for a viewing:
When selling your property in today’s property market the way you present your home has never been so important. As more and more people are now making the decision to view or not from a few photos that they have seen on Rightmove, when you get the call from your Estate Agent that you have a viewing this is your time to shine. This is not the time to cut corners or think “that will do”, competition is fierce and if you’re not presenting your property right you can guarantee that someone else is and will inevitably end up with your ‘SOLD’ board up outside their house. So, what are the do’s and don’ts in order to be ‘viewing ready’?
1. First impressions are important!
Every day when we come home from work it is taken for granted that our home looks great but how often do you actually take a step back and just look? Before your viewings go and stand outside your house and look… What would you think as a first impression?
2. Remove ALL cars from the driveway.
As awkward as this can be it really does make a difference. Your viewers are not coming to look at what car you’ve got and need to be able to see the space on offer. It is even better if they feel that they can park their own car on the drive and see how much room they have left. You’re allowing your viewers to see if your house fits them already and there not even in the front door yet, great news.
3. Put lights on!!
This is a huge must for me, if you take nothing else away from reading this get your lights turned on for! Whenever I arrive at a house to do a viewing my vendors will know that I am always early to run around and get the lights on. It creates space and encourages people to enter a room and look around. A cosy room with candles is great if you want to cuddle on the sofa but makes a room seem private, we need it to feel open, airy and welcoming.
4. Open your blinds and curtains – let even more light in!
5. Now the nights are drawing in and the leaves are falling from the trees get them swept up and put your outside lights on too.
6. Create a neutral spaces
Put all of your magazines, children’s toys and personal belongings away. You want to create a neutral space that will allow your viewers to imagine where there things would go and again so they can see the space on offer.
7. Smells… pleasant and unpleasant keep them to a minimal.
The smell of your home is a controversial topic with some agents recommending freshly baked bread, coffee pots or scented candles. Whatever you choose to do, it is vital that no smell is over powering including the smell of pets or smoke. When viewing a property half of your viewers decision to buy or not will be down to gut instinct and “the feeling” they get… an overwhelming smell no matter how pleasant or repulsive will not assist a property sale.
Bathrooms need to be kept clinical, put shampoo bottles away and clean those shower screens until you can see your face in them. Matching towels on show are a great idea or even better no towels at all.
9. Mow the lawn
Back and front, weed the driveway and jet wash any paved areas you have.
10. Leave your estate agent to it
At Hazelwoods it is standard that all viewings are accompanied. If selling your property with another agent ask for your viewings to be accompanied too. Accompanied viewings are important as they enable your potential buyers to look around freely and be honest so leave your agent to it and go out for a coffee or a walk. When you get back they will be able to give you better and more constructive feedback immediately.
Published: 02/09/2016 Last Updated: 02/09/2016 14:08:46 Author: Harriet Butler Tags: Hazelwoods News,
Council Tax is something that few of us really understand let alone challenge, the bill drops onto our door mats and we just pay it.
So, what are we paying for?
Although your individual council tax cannot be pinpointed to identify where we have all individually put our money it is quite obvious when you look around in your local area. Your council tax pays for local services such as planning, transport, highways, police & fire services, libraries, leisure and recreation, rubbish collection and disposal, environmental health and trading standards.
Who has to pay and can we apply or any discounts?
Council Tax bills are sent to all households in the UK, a full bill is based on a minimum of 2 adults over the age of 18 living together in the property. If you live on your own or if you are the only person in the property over the age of 18 then a 25% discount may be applied, whilst a further 50% discount may be applied if no one in the property including you can be counted as an adult and is over the age of 18.
How are the council tax bands calculated?
Believe it or not council tax bands are actually calculated based on what your property would be worth if sold in 1991. There are 8 bands A-H, A being the lowest band and H the highest.
The bands are set out as follows:
A Up to £40,000
B £40,000 - £52,000
C £52,000 - £68,000
D £68,000 - £88,000
E £88,000 - £120,000
F £120,000 - £160,000
G £160,000 - £320,000
H £320,000 +
Can you challenge you Council Tax Bill?
YES, and you could save money if its wrong!
Should I challenge my Council Tax?
Before you decide to challenge your council tax band follow these simple steps to understand if you might have a case or not.
1. Check your neighbours council tax band, if you stand out on the road then you may be right to challenge.
2. Work out how much your property could’ve been worth in 1991 – Don’t worry its not as hard as it sounds.
Click on the Nationwide Calculator link and follow these instructions
• In 'Property value' add what you bought your property for and when.
• In 'Valuation date 1' enter the date in which you bought your property.
• In 'Valuation date 2' enter 1991, and Quarter 2.
• Select your region from the drop-down list.
• Click 'calculate the results'.
3. Now you know what your house would be worth in 1991 look at the above table and see if you are in the correct band or not.
4. If you think that you are in the wrong band it is time to challenge!
When challenging your council tax band you cannot ask for your band to be lowered, only for a 'reassessment', which means your band could be moved up as well as down! It is even possible that with your challenge your neighbours' band could also be increased, although this is rare.
5. Ready to challenge – Click on ‘THIS LINK’ and it will take you through to the government web page and provide further instructions on how to do so.
In today’s property market I hear a lot of murmurs from both vendors and buyers alike, “Why do I need an Estate Agent?” In my eyes this is such a simple question with a simple answer but then again I would say that because I am an estate agent. So, what do we really do for you...
The truth about the work of an Estate Agent:
1. Flexibility – We work during the day, through the evening and even on weekends too so that you can carry on with your busy lives. Whether this is through accompanied viewings or chasing leads. Imagine if you had to do all of this work yourself, would you have the time? In one day when your property is first released to market it is possible to receive as many as 15+ leads from the property portals in just one day. We then take the time to call, leave messages, email and text these buyers again and again until we are able to reach them and arrange the viewing or provide them with the information they have requested.
It is our job to ensure that we get hold of all of these vital and important leads for you.
2. Marketing –We take professional photographs, create a floor plan and property brochure with a compelling write up. We then advertise your property on the UK’s number one property portal as well as our own website that we spend money and time on to ensure that we are attracting more and more prospective buyers daily.
It is our job to show your property off to the best standard that we can.
3. Urgency & Demand –We create urgency and demand by pro-actively marketing your property to all of our registered buyers by email, text and post. At Hazelwoods we also host open days to ensure that your buyers can see their competition.
It is our job to sell your home for the best price in the shortest possible timescale.
4. Professionalism – Accompanied viewings are an absolute must! We distance yourself from your property, buyers like to have space when viewing a property and it ensures that the process remains neutral and that no one is under pressure. We know our buyers and will know what they are looking for, what is the important aspect of their search and how can we show your property off to meet their requirements.
It is our job to present your property as best as we can and to overcome any objections.
5. Negotiation – We keep a cool head to ensure that you get the best price. Most importantly we check the funds of your prospective buyer and ensure that they can afford your property by way of an offer check procedure with our financial advisors.
It is our job to secure the sale of your property and ensure that the sale will go through by taking all reasonable steps.
6. Smooth Conveyancing Process – Believe it or not vendors and buyers do not always like to deal with each other. If everything is going well it seems to make perfect sense to some to pick up the phone and talk to each other but if everything becomes a little complicated during conveyancing a relationship can soon turn sour.
It is our job to chase your sale as efficiently as possible we build relationships with local mortgage advisors and solicitors and have the time and the knowledge to pick up the phone and make those difficult calls to ensure things keeps moving.
So, “Why do I need an Estate Agent?”
I do agree with this question to a certain extent as not all agents are the same. In years gone by the property industry has become a little lazy and haphazard in certain elements and promises in relation to the service that we should and could deliver are not being kept. We are generating our own bad reputation and cutting our fees left, right and centre which is not benefiting anyone vendors, buyers or even us. Next time you hear yourself asking, “Why do I need an Estate Agent?” remember what we should and could be doing for you and choose an agent that will keep to this promise.
“At Hazelwoods we are not just another Estate Agent we are a better Estate Agent.”
Harriet Butler - Director
Whether you agree with HS2 or not it is important to understand how it is, and could affect where you live. The UK Government has already paid out £36million to West Midlands homeowners unable to sell up because the HS2 scheme has blighted their properties. The highest sum paid was £1.75 million for Cuttle Mill Fishery in Wishaw, on the edge of Sutton Coldfield but it is not just high end houses which have been blighted at the other end of the scale, £104,000 has been paid for a property in Birchmoor, near Tamworth. At least 700 people are believed to be applying for compensation for blighted property – even though the final go-ahead for the route has not yet been given.
But, could the HS2 rail link revive Birmingham’s property market? The prospect of journey times being cut to 50 minutes is hoped to entice more prospective buyers to the area. From 2016, Birmingham would be the first stop and for some years the only stop in place. The current two-and-a-half hour car journey from central Birmingham to London is thought to deter people from living in the West Midlands, whilst it is hoped that the prospect of a mere 50 minutes on a train may attract people to the area. Birmingham City Council leader John Clancy labelled HS2, “a huge game-changer” that will “super-charge” Birmingham inevitably bringing more jobs a greater demand for property in and around Birmingham effecting Sutton Coldfield too that was recently described as “Birmingham’s answer to Ascot” by James Way of Knight Frank.
Taking all of this into consideration the question still hangs, do we really need HS2 and if we do build it will they come?