Monthly Archives: March 2010

Commercial property development is less taxing?

The world of commercial property is please that the SDLT that?s stamp duty land tax will only apply to residential developments. If the tax had been a blanket tax across the industry the results could have been very severe. The world of commercial property has suffered heavily as a result of the lending drought. The industries life blood is cash, the sector requires large sums of money for gearing, acquisition and development. The prospect of having to find another 5percent on deals would have made many more borderline and left more and more vacant sites.

Banks limit negative equity

The US banks are being asked to cap borrowers debt at 115% of the value of their homes, this act of generosity by the banks will be rewarded by the homeowners pledge to stay up to date with mortgage payments.
The banks stand to lose much more if homeowners give up and start to hand in the keys to their homes, this way the pain is minimised for all. With an estimated 13million American home owners thought to be facing repossession or over 90days in arrears with mortgage payments schemes like this would help the American economy back out of the woods.

How to find the right builder

1. Before you commit to a builder for your building project it is always a good idea to ask if you can visit a site they are currently working on.
2. Do some basic research online so you have a basic understanding of the processes and time that will be involved in your work.
3. Do not rely on websites that rate builder?s performance, it would be relatively simple for a dodgy builder to buy his mates a few pints to get them to write up some good online references.
4. The first contact with your contractor is probably the most important, ask yourself the simple questions, did he turn up on time? Did he stomp round your home in muddy boots? Did he carefully take all your details? Was he upbeat and enthusiastic about your project?
5. The next item is the quote, good builders are busy servicing their existing customers so expect to wait 14days for a complex or larger project. Does the quotation contain terms & conditions? Does it contain references? Does it contain a clear payment plan? Is the work broken down into the various sections?
6. Dodgy builders will always be over optimistic on price and project time it takes some backbone to tell a customer that the previous two rogues that have visited have only allowed half the realistic time needed.
7. It is always a good idea to try them out on a small project first but some of the best contractors will only work on larger contracts as they have the luxury of being able to pick their jobs, so let them know in advance or they may not take the job on.
8. Do not hand over large sum of money, but there is no general rule, if a contractor has 5 domestic extensions ongoing he cannot be expected to find ?100,000 of working capital to fund his customer?s projects. The key here is do not be embarrassed just sit down and discuss the stage payments and your contractor should be able to explain and justify his payment schedule.
9. Ask the builder what his procedure is for re-work should there be any issues once he has finished and been paid. A wink a smile and trust me love/mate is not acceptable they should have a written procedure.
10. Check their insurances it is not particularly expensive so most will have it but always check they are used to being asked, but do not worry if they do not have a copy with them as long as they can show it before money changes hands.
11. If anything does not look right speak up straight away, there may be a simple answer but you need your fears answering and to make sure there has been no miscommunication of what you want.
12. Even the best contractors do not get everything prefect first time they will describe this as ?snags?, give them a chance to put right any defects and be reasonable.
13. If things do ?go wrong?, the courts are a long and stressful route to a potential half victory, so chose a contractor who is reasonable who you feel will ?meet you half way?. It is a fact that not all people naturally get on so pick someone who you feel you could sit down and come to a mutual agreement over a cup of tea.
14. If you cannot agree, do not allow things to deteriorate just pay up for the work done, be reasonable and move on, one word of warning builders are cautious of finishing another builders work and it can be more costly.
15. Chose a reasonable local contractor, no one like the idea that their builder could be back in Spain after the job has finished.
16. Be nice, builders may be your servants for a few weeks but giving them a warm drink on a cold winters morning and giving them access to you downstairs toilet will make them go the extra mile on the finish of your work.
The advice above may not offer complete protection from the famous ?cowboy builder?, but it will make their life a little harder. We wish you the best of luck with your project.
This article was written by : Richard Haynes, known as Derbyshires gentleman builder.

Building plots avalible

Travelling around the Midlands and Yorkshire, it is good to note that the building / house improvement sector seems to be reasonably active, and, with a good number of houses up for sale, and many of these having a sold sign displayed, all shows an encouraging indication that there is a recovery in house sales and house improvements. I have noted in Yorkshire a new detached house being built on land between houses and a pub which shows that there are still plots of land available for people to have their ideal home built, and what?s more, it is being built now at a time when things have not been very good for some time. In addition, I have noted a small to medium sized development involving the demolition of some old buildings being undertaken close to the town centre in Bridlington (East Yorkshire) where 20 or so flats are now proposed. Apartments / flat developments have stalled in many places with the recession so the Bridlington development is nice to see, and is a good indication that the property market is improving.
Facts actually support the above observations as the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) have reported that despite the bad weather, the number of agreed property sales actually increased in February, 2010.

How will the budget affect property?

The chancellor has increased the stamp duty threshold by 100% making the threshold for stamp duty up to ?250,000. This new tax relief is only a temporary measure but will remain in place for a minimum of two years. It has been brought in straight away and many property developers and house sellers will be much happier this weekend as a result. However this fantastic give away does have one of the usual budget caveats attached, buyers will only be eligible if they are genuine first time buyers and lawyers will be required to check at the point of purchase. The good news is more for the sellers who now have a slightly better opportunity to sell to that recently allusive breed the first time buyers.

Commercial property yields fall as property auctions success rates rise

The readiness of investors to part with their hard earned cash in exchange for a low risk rental income is increasing. The number of commercial property lots sold at auction is increasing and as property investors compete for the best property investments the prices are slowly rising and that in turn that has driven down rental yields. With interest rates this low investors soon tire of low investment returns, and this is leading more and more of the wealthier investors to use their war chests and spending power to pick up commercial property that will give a good rate of return.

Super rich chose property over equities

Recent data has shown that the super rich are placing their funds into property rather than other assets classes. This survey based on those of us with a net worth above $10 million (?6.6 million pounds) showed that they hold approximately one third of their investment portfolio in ?bricks and mortar?. These investors interestingly favored residential property over commercial and took an international view, with favored locations for their funds in destinations like Hong Kong with some top end European resorts being the least favored. Interestingly they expect to invest more money into property in 2010.

Property investors begin to spend again

Some of the recently battle scarred property investors are starting to feel much more positive about investing in the UK property market. Property REIT unit trust managers are dipping their toes cautiously into the UK property market by focusing on the most steady of property investment sectors the industrial parks. Property investors are able to achieve 8% yields form good quality buildings and recent property deals include the acquisition of industrial sites in Birmingham and other midlands towns.

Move or improve?

Moving home, or improving and/or extending our present home is something most of us consider at some time. Sometimes there is little choice but to move if say your work takes you away from the area, and there can be other good reasons to move for example: you want a larger or smaller property, you want a larger or smaller garden, or you may feel a bungalow, or ground floor apartment is what you now need, or you want to move nearer to relatives and /or friends which could mean moving a short distance, or indeed to another county.
Likewise improving/ and /or extending your present home also has similar considerations : you simply like the area, local friends, schools, local shops, local pub, sports facilities, countryside, NHS facilities etc, etc. People can give advice on whether to move or improve but in the end it has to be your choice, and having made that choice you often hear about ?ticking all the boxes? which may be an over- used phrase to some people, but it is a good practice whatever you are doing to write down your requirements and consider what factors are essential, and what matters can be compromised on without spoiling the main aims and objectives, if say your first ideas exceed your budget.
The simple provision of a utility room to take all the washing and drying appliances, and storage area for shoes and boots, baby buggy, vacuum cleaner and other household items, and a downstairs toilet and washing facility and maybe a shower to supplement what you have elsewhere in the home can make life that much easier.
Whatever you decide, once completed, I?m sure you will be pleased that you took the action you did and can now just enjoy it.

Are house prices going down?

The data is confusing but those who feel prices are falling and are really feeling the pitch are vendors who have top end properties that are not quite tip top. When we were in the heady days of the property boom you could sell a house for three quarters of a million and not worry about the avocado bathroom, but those days have now gone. It is the arrogant vendors who believe that if a buyer really want their house they will put up with these things or even worst the over inflated price. One thing that did fascinate me during the boom years was the sale prices of houses ?requiring a schedule of modernisation?. I would often see semi-detached houses that required a ?25,000:00 refurbishment for sale at 10-15K below a beautiful modernised house three doors down the street. It is refreshing to see the market has made sensible adjustment as market forces and tighter lending criteria have combined to tame the unrealistic vendor.