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USA Real Estate Blog

Property News of the Week – Property With Potential

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Welcome to this week’s property news roundup. Here are the top property stories from across the web to keep you up to date and informed.

Like what we publish or have a story for us? Feel free to get involved in the comment section below.

Thanks to changes under the shared ownership rules, first-time buyers need a deposit of just £2,000 to get on the property ladder. Changes to the scheme were announced last month at the Conservative Party conference by housing secretary Robert Jenrick but the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government confirmed the measures yesterday meaning that social tenants moving into new homes will be given the chance to buy a share of them starting at just 10% — which they can then build on in 1% increments.

The tradesman comparison site, HaMuch.com, has looked at some of the worst DIY disasters around the home and how much you could be out of pocket if your DIY attempt goes wrong and you need to call in a qualified tradesman to put it right.

On average, a third of the jobs posted on HaMuch.com are from those looking to rectify a dodgy DIY job, but the two areas of the home that should never be tackled by a DIY amateur in the first place are gas or electrical work.

Electrics

Even the most basic of electric jobs such as changing a switch could be potentially fatal but bodging a re-wire could see you fork out as much as £4,500 to rectify the job, while replacing a consumer unit could cost up to £500, and a new light fixture alone could set you back £50.

Gas/Heating

In the very worst case, a mistake involving gas could cost you your house and your life, and in the best-case scenario, calling someone in to repair, replace or service your boiler can cost in the region of £3,000. A gas fire, cooker or hob repair can also stretch into the hundreds and cost as much as £400 to set right. When it comes to has, it’s better to bite the bullet and go pro as tinkering with it yourself can increase the cost if more damage is done.

Even something as simple as a leaky radiator can cost you £300 for professional help should your attempted fix fail or cause further damage.

Plumbing

Exacerbating a plumbing issue with your own DIY fix may not be as dangerous but it can get you wet and cost you in the region of £450 for a new sink and £900 to fit a new bath. Having it done right the first time around will at least save you from forking out for more sinks or baths than you needed in the first place.

Roof Cleaning

Apart from the obvious falling hazards involved in cleaning the roof or gutters, hiring a professional to fix any damage done during a DIY attempt could cost as much as £800. Less damage equals a lower cost so unless you are sure you can do it, hire someone with the right equipment and know-how.

Flooring

Flooring is one of those jobs where you often don’t realise the mess you’ve made of it until it’s far too late and most of the floor has been done. Depending on the size of the area, a professional re-fit for a tiled floor can cost £450 to £500, while professional wooden flooring can run to as much as £1,500 for a room.

Broken Windows

Broken windows are a natural event over the course of a property’s life-cycle but as well as the dangers of broken glass, a DIY bodge job can reduce your property’s security and energy efficiency costing more money in the long-run. Replacing a window after spending time and money trying it yourself can cost between £200-£400 on average.

Conservatory

You could spend many hours putting together your own conservatory in the attempt to save money but once it’s up, if it needs to come down again it will take you even more time and an average cost of £5,000 to £10,000 depending on the size and style to get a professional to do the job.

Decorating

Usually the first job we would attempt ourselves but without the right amount of love and attention, it can actually make your home look tired, shabby and amateur. A re-plastering job can cost between £350-£500 depending on the size of the room or wall, but this is money well spent if it saves you time and money on an unsatisfactory first attempt. Even hiring a painter can cost up to £500 per room so fixing a dodgy paint job can still hit you hard financially.

The latest research by leading estate agent comparison website, GetAgent.co.uk, has looked at the time it’s taking to sell a home so far in 2019 and where is home to the longest home selling process, as Brexit uncertainty continues to bring about a market freeze.

GetAgent.co.uk pulls data from all of the major portals which they then cross-reference with the Land Registry using proprietary algorithms to create a comprehensive record of what is selling, where, for how much and how long it’s taking.

The latest data looks at the total average time to sell a home from the first day it is listed on the property portals until the day it is marked sold by the Land Registry — not the first day of listing to sold subject contract as is the popular method amongst statisticians at the likes of Purplebricks.

Great Britain

The data shows that across Great Britain it is currently taking an average of 247 days to sell a home in current market conditions.

The City of London is currently the slowest market in Great Britain taking 409 days to sell, however in the real world, well sort of, Islington is the next slowest market at 402 days to sell a home from start to finish.

Eden in Cumbria is the slowest market outside of the London bubble where homes are also taking over 400 days to sell, just, at 401 days.

Sellers in Copeland are having to slog it out for 394 days in order to sell, while Ceredigion (392) and Pembrokeshire (350) are home to the biggest market freezes in Wales.

Bournemouth is home to the biggest market freeze in the South West with properties taking an average of 324 days to sell, followed by East Devon (319) and Merthyr Tydfil (316)

London

Across London as a whole, it’s taking even longer to sell a home with an average time of 286 days as the capital feels the brunt of current market conditions.

While the City of London and Islington are the only areas to exceed the 400-day mark, Barnet (313), Lambeth (307) and Richmond (305) are also home to some of the longest periods to sell a home so far this year.

Founder and CEO of GetAgent.co.uk, Colby Short, commented:

“Market uncertainty has certainly hit the top end of the market hardest and the more inflated areas of the UK property market are some of those seeing the longest times to sell. This is largely due to hesitation from buyers but also because home sellers are failing to adjust their price expectations in line with the current landscape.

In any market, over-pricing will result in a property remaining sat on the portals with little interest but particularly given the current climate, home sellers should approach a sale with a clear head and realistic expectations.

At the other end of the scale, the more affordable pockets that have seen little or no reduction in values, and where both buyers and sellers are approaching with a ‘business as usual’ attitude, are the areas where the time to sell is at its lowest.”

Research by the new home specialists, Stone Real Estate, has revealed that new-build homebuyers still value traditional property features the most when it comes to their homebuying hitlist.

Stone Real Estate surveyed new-build homebuyers across the UK to see what they rated as the most important factors when checking out a development for potential purchase.

New-build developments offer above and beyond additional benefits compared to existing housing stock, such as a concierge, aftercare team and onsite amenities, but despite this, the most in-demand feature was private or shared green space in which to relax — the most important for 30% of buyers.

A car parking space ranked as the second most important factor nationally (21%), followed by the availability of amenities within the development (13%), with a close transport link ranking fourth (12%).

High-speed internet (7%) and a good school catchment (6%) were also important, while things like a gym in the development, top of the range appliances, shared social areas, a concierge, aftercare team and perhaps surprisingly, the developer paying the stamp duty, ranked as less important for new-build homebuyers.

However, in London, while green space was the second most important factor, the close proximity of a good transport link topped the table (31%), with parking ranking third (11%), amenities within the development the fourth most important feature (8%) and the property coming with new appliances (7%), a good school catchment (5%) and the developer covering stamp duty also ranking highly (5%).

As the nights start getting colder, having a warm and functioning home becomes even more important.

The tradespeople comparison website for finding affordable tradespeople, HaMuch.com, has put together some advice on some of the key steps you can take to winter-proof your property, and save money in the process.

Servicing your boiler

Your boiler is your friend during winter, so top on your list should be giving it a service, which costs between £50-£100. If you need to carry out maintenance or repairs you’re looking at £80-£200.

Meanwhile a power flush, where you remove rust and debris to clean your boiler, costs between £200-£400.

These measures are cheap as chips compared to replacing a boiler or a major part of it. In such a circumstance you could be looking at a bill of £1750-£3000.

That would put you off your Christmas pudding.

Check the roof

It’s also important to ensure your roof is in good shape before the cold comes in. You want to check for cracked or missing tiles, as well as other parts of the roof like the facia or soffit for damage.

Paying a professional to inspect the roof for you would cost £100-£200, while a minor roof tile replacement would only cost £50-£100.

The worst-case scenario is cracked or missing tiles letting rain into the roof, causing damp and rot.

If that happened, you could be looking at anything from £50-£100 for a minor roof repair to £4,000 to replace the whole roof.

Clear gutters and drains

Things like leaves and plants can clog gutters and drains and then lead to water damage, so a clear out before winter can be vital. Clearing debris costs an estimated £5 per metre.

If you let it build up the blockage could lead to water damage and damp.

In terms of replacements, in that situation, you’d be looking at £30 per metre for gutters or £25 per metre for downpipes.

The combination of repairs could amount to £200 upwards.

Inspect and insulate water pipes

It’s worth ensuring downpipes are not cracked or split, while you could insulate pipes to stop them from freezing, getting blocked, or busting. Adding insulation by fitting pipe jackets would cost you £50 and up.

If they ended up freezing or cracking you’d suffer leakage and water damage.

To install new pipes you’d be looking at least £200 while redecorating due to the water damage could cost you between £375-£500.

Check windows and doors

It costs around £150 for a general inspection of your windows and doors. You’re checking whether they are in disrepair, while woodwork outside should also be checked to ensure there’s no rot or damage.

If you run into a problem over winter you’d need to replace damaged or unsealed windows.

Paying for a double-glazing replacement would amount to £300 (for a 1xm1m window).

Review insulation

It’s worth checking your insulation, as the loft can lose a quarter of the property’s heat if the roof is not properly insulated.

Other forms of insulation to look at include cavity wall insulation, as well as the insulation of water tanks and pipes.

For a blanket insulation replacement, you’d be looking at just £80, which could save you money in the long run. Indeed, it could save you £250 a year if you improve the energy efficiency of your home.

Installing a full loft insulation costs between £275-£500.

Radiator checks

It’s worth checking your radiators are working, while it costs just £80 to have a plumber bleed (remove excess air from the pipes) 5–10 radiators.

This could increase the efficiency of the radiator and remove the need for a replacement. Buying a new radiator costs around £180-£200.

The chimney

It’s worth cleaning out any obstructions or blockages with your chimney if you have a fireplace, which costs £50-£90.

Leaving it alone risks chimney fires, which can be costly and dangerous.

Owing to the varying severity of a fire it’s hard to put a figure on how much it would cost you — though it’s clearly an issue you’d want to avoid.

“Prevention is so much better than a cure,” says Tarquin Purdie, Founder of HaMuch.com.

“At this time of year it’s wise to think about mitigating the things that so often go wrong as boilers are cranked up again, fireplaces stoked, and bare pipes exposed to the rigours of winter’s elements.

Our suggested measures are sensible precautions that householders can carry out for themselves in most instances, although you may be surprised how little a professional might charge you to carry out the checks quickly and properly. Either way, it will certainly be at a lower cost than waiting for a leaking tile or burst pipe to ruin your week and your bank balance”.

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