Residential Estate & Letting Agents in Bournemouth
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Clifftons Estate Agents: Latest News on our Blog

Online Estate Agents

2017-05-25 12:30:20

There has been a lot of debate within the industry over the performance and success of online and hybrid estate agents but there is very little information about the number of properties they actually sell. The change in business model has been around now for a couple of years and certainly the likes of Purple Bricks are still estate agents but with a brilliant business model. They are getting customers / sellers to pay up front for the estate agency service, whether they sell the property or not. Its a great business model and the result is their share price is going up and shareholders are very pleased at the profits being produced, without the need of actually selling the property.

I’m still undecided whether to adopt this business model, a DIY service for selling property at a cheap fee. It would be easy to do because I could cut all my advertising and costs that attract buyers and just rely on one platform but I still do not think its in the interests of the sellers and there is still a potential backlash taking all this money off consumers, not doing anything, except sticking an advert on a property portal.

A recent survey by ‘getanagent’ has conducted some interesting research. Obviously the online estate agents don’t disclose how many properties they are actually selling because it doesn’t matter. What matters in this business model is how many sellers they can sign up. The survey was conducted over a 14-month period and interestingly half of online agents listings hadn’t sold after 14 months on the market and that’s in a good and buoyant property market.

It’s important for homeowners to have this information when they are deciding whether it is best for them to use an online estate agent or a traditional high street estate agent. So, this data and research is really useful to help homeowners.

They looked at listings by Purplebricks, Tepilo, Housesimple and Emoov from January 2016. They analysed the success of each of these listings from January 2016 through to February 2017, allowing 14 months. They also sent out a questionnaire to customers who have used online estate agents to help understand their motives and their level of satisfaction. They then conducted telephone interviews with some of the respondents, which provided some in depth analysis.

With £45 million spent on TV and Radio by online estate agents in the last two years, it might come as a surprise to learn that only 30% of people interviewed heard about their online estate agent from watching TV. Most people came across the online agent from conducting an online search (43%) and 15% heard about their online agent through a friend.

Marketing

The data shows that market share of online agents has grown from 1.1% to 3.7% from January 2015 to January 2017, which is a big jump.

Homeowners looking to save money

As suspected, over 80% of those interviewed chose an online estate agent to save money. Others liked the idea of having total control of the viewings themselves. A few respondents felt pushed towards an online agent due to the distrust they felt towards traditional high street agents.

Half of online agent listings remain unsold

The research found that around half of online agent listings hadn’t sold after the 14-month period. Purplebricks completed on just 57% of the listings from January 2016, as of February 2017. Housesimple completed on 58%, while Emoov and Tepilo were even lower with 51% and 48% completion rates.

The cheaper upfront fee could cost homeowners more

Online estate agents charge an upfront fee, which is payable even if the property does not sell. Traditional high street estate agents charge a commission on a ‘no sale, no fee’ basis.

When looking at the completion rates above and then the upfront fee paid to the online agents, some customers are being left with empty pockets. We have used Tepilo as an example:

Tepilo completed on just 48% of listings. That means over half of Tepilo customers paid more than they would have if they had used a traditional high street agent on a ‘no sale, no fee’ basis. What’s more concerning, is that 17% of homeowners went on to instruct a high street agent meaning they paid Tepilo and then paid a high street agent.

One customer interviewed felt that once the upfront fee was paid the online agent lost interest and lacked motivation to sell their home. Almost half of those interviewed felt the online estate agency they chose was poor value for money and 40% of respondents spent more time than expected managing the sales process.

Online customers switch back to high street agents

We found that many online estate agency customers went on to appoint a traditional high street estate agent to continue the selling process. Interestingly, 44% of homeowners who switched from Purplebricks to a high street estate agent did so in the first 2 months.

The Right Valuation

The research also showed that there were asking price changes in 65% of re-listed properties.

Summary

It’s understandable that homeowners are attracted to cheap online estate agents – who like the idea of saving money! However,  research shows that you won’t necessarily be saving money by appointing an online agent and it could be an expensive error.

In conclusion, we recommend our homeowners do their research and speak to a number of estate agents before making a decision.

If you have any comments, we’d love to hear from you.

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Ban of letting agents fees – consultation

2016-12-05 14:56:47

Why are Shelter Quoting Out of Date Research to back up their Flawed Argument ?

Scotland banned Letting Fees in 2012. The charity Shelter have been a big voice in persuading and lobbying the Government since it managed to persuade the Scottish Parliament ban fees in 2012.

On all the TV and radio shows at the moment, they keep talking about their Independent Research which backs up their argument that rents didn’t rise, which they say was published in 2014.

A researcher for Shelter in Scotland published these comments yesterday,

“renters, landlords and the industry as a whole had benefited from banning fees to renters in Scotland. It found that any negative side-effects of clarifying the ban on fees to renters in Scotland have been minimal for letting agencies, landlords and renters, and the sector remains healthy.”

Going on,

“Many industry insiders had predicted that abolishing fees would impact on rents for tenants, but our research show that this hasn’t been the case. The evidence showed that landlords in Scotland were no more likely to have increased rents since 2012 than landlords elsewhere in the UK. It found that where rents had risen more in Scotland than in other comparable parts of the UK in 2013, it was explained by economic factors and not related to the clarification of the law on letting fees”

The report Shelter mentioned was published in December 2013  (only 12 months after the ban).

How can Shelter quote a report today, in late 2016, when that report they use as proof  that rents haven’t risen was published in Dec 2013, only 12 months  after the ban (and you think about it, these reports take a few months to compile), so the report was only based on figures around nine months after the ban came into action (FYI – The ban was Q4 2012)

What really happened to rents in Scotland

Research up to the end of Q3 2016, tells a different story:

In Scotland, rents have risen according the CityLets Index by 15.3% between 2012 and today (CityLets being the equivalent of Rightmove North of the Border – so they know their onions). When comparing the same time frame, using Office of National Statistics figures for the English Regions between 2012 and 2016, this is what has happened to rents

  • North East 2.17% increase
  • North West 2.43% increase
  • Yorkshire and The Humber 3.21% increase
  • East Midlands 5.92% increase
  • West Midlands 5.52% increase
  • East of England 7.07% increase
  • South West 5.82% increase
  • South East 8.26% increase
  • London 10.55% increase

..and let me remind you of Scotland … 15.3% increase.

Conclusion

Has the Scottish economy has outstripped London’s over the last 4 years? Are really telling me wages and the Scottish Economy have boomed to such an extent in Scotland in the last 4 years they are now the Powerhouse of the UK.

The answer is a cap on fees. A fair price for the work involved, as a one-off cost. Otherwise, Tenants will pay the price in higher rents. (As seen in Scotland).

scotland rents

scotland rents

 

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Hugh Grant’s former bachelor pad for sale

2016-12-01 11:38:24

We’re a bit disappointed it’s not in Notting Hill given its former resident, but that’s the only downside to Hugh Grant’s former home…

A stunning Penthouse offered on Rightmove which occupies the entire top of Petersham House, boasts 3 bedrooms (each with its own en-suite), master dressing room, walk-in shower, double-height ceilings, direct entry lift, a gym and all the gadgets a man could want!
Take a look around.

The interior of the South Kensington apartment has been designed by an internationally acclaimed design team and features solid dark American walnut flooring throughout, silk curtains and rugs, and custom-made chandeliers, all of which are sure to impress the ladies.

Whilst the interior of the Hollywood Star’s former abode is as charismatic as he is, the exterior of the property makes it one of the most sought-after properties in London. Live the high life at 100ft up on the seriously impressive roof terrace with panoramic views of the capital, including the London Eye, the Shard and Battersea Power Station.

The roof terrace isn’t just your bog-standard patio…. With a six person hottub, outdoor kitchen, TV and surround sound, it’s the perfect place to host an A-list party (oh if that decking could talk!).

Hugh, who was raised in nearby Chiswick, is thought to have lived in the penthouse from 2002 to 2003 during the success of About a Boy, and we bet it won’t be long until another wealthy singleton scoops up this ultimate bachelor (or bachelorette!) pad.

view

view

Lounge

Lounge

hot tub

hot tub

bath

bath

Hall

Hall

Bedroom

Bedroom

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Winter is here

2016-12-01 11:25:10

The weather has turned cold and you’ve found yourself digging out last year’s electric blanket, it seems Christmas will be upon us in no time. With this in mind, here is some top tips to winter-proof  the British weather !

Here are 10 of the best places to start:

 Easy steps

  1.  Your bills will be higher in winter, so maybe it’s time to shop around and make sure you’ve got the best deal? You might save yourself some cash, more for Christmas present shopping!
  1. If you have a specific room prone to getting a little damp, before the weather turns, make sure you move your furniture and objects away from the walls to allow the air to circulate and for the room to be a more consistent temperature throughout.
  1. Still got your garden furniture out? You might not need those until Spring so make sure you cover them to protect them from rust in the coming months.
  1. Change your thermostat ready for winter. You can set it to be lower when you’re not home and to get warmer just before you get in. With more regular, constant heating, you’re saving your home from problems developing, like cracks and burst pipes, if the temperature changes too quickly.
  1. It may seem a trivial thing to think about, but to save you losing heat, try these two home hacks: get out the sewing machine and line your curtains and add reflective foil behind your radiators on walls which are external on the other side. These simple hacks will help keep heat in.
  1. Invest in three simple items – a draught excluder, a draught-excluding letter box and a rug for any wooden flooring you have to keep your home snug this winter.

 Bigger projects

  1. This is the time to go around your home and check your gutters are leaf-free, the boiler’s healthy and to bleed your radiators in preparation for winter – it’s better to do it now than get caught out when the temperature’s a bit lower.
  1. Have you checked the roof? Cracks or broken tiles can let in water and lead to damp so make sure you, or a professional, gets up there whilst it’s still dry and light and check it over.
  1. Think about all of the places where heat could be escaping from your home this winter – the windows and doors, the loft, the conservatory? Have you got adequate insulation? If not, is it time to invest? Cavity insulation and getting double-glazing, may be a good option.
  1. Trim back any larger trees around the property and driveway, with cold weather comes ice, and you don’t want any of the branches falling onto your home or car.

Make sure you’ve winter-proofed your home so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the winter season – finger crossed, we might even get some snow!

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Imminent changes to HMO licensing

2016-11-05 14:06:05

James Scollard, founder of CLIFFTONS Estate & Letting Agents explains what the Government’s latest consultation on HMO and residential property licensing reforms means for landlords.

For properties defined as ‘large HMOs’ licensing is already mandatory. According to the Government your property is defined as a large HMO if ALL THREE of the following apply:

  1. It is rented to five or more people who form more than one household
  2. It is at least three storeys high
  3. Tenants share bathroom and kitchen facilities

The Government plans to make the following changes through secondary legislation to increase the number of properties subject to mandatory licensing:

  1. Remove the storey rule so all houses with five or more people from two or more households are within the scope of the new legislation. The Department for Communities and Local Government says this will further enable local authorities to tackle poor standards, migration and the problems being seen in high risk smaller properties as the sector has grown
  2. Extend mandatory licensing to flats above and below business premises (regardless of storeys), because, as the consultation states ‘evidence shows more problems in these properties’
  3. Set a minimum size of 6.52sq-m in line with existing overcrowding standard (Housing Act 1985) to close loophole created by upper-tier tribunal ruling, which, again according to the consultation, is enabling some landlords to let rooms far too small for an adult to legally occupy

Other proposals included:

  1. Fit and proper person test – criminal record checks for landlords to obtain a licence
  2. Adequate receptacles for the storage and disposal of household waste

Whilst these points are still only a proposal, it has been noted that they are likely to come into effect in April or October next year.

It is expected that a six month’ grace period will be offered to landlords to regularize any properties that will be affected by the changes. Penalties for landlord who aren’t compliant will be severe and could include criminal prosecutions and fines of up to £30,000.

These proposed changes are targeted at trying to weed out the bad landlords but unfortunately it will be the vast majority of the good landlords that end up with the additional bureaucratic burden.

So, be warned, sometime in 2017, if you have an HMO or if you are thinking about acquiring one you may be affected.

CLIFFTONS Independent Estate & Letting Agents are Bournemouth based dealing in all aspects of lettings, property management and the acquisition or disposal of residential property.

Further information, can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/extending-mandatory-licensing-of-houses-in-multiple-occupation-and-related-reforms

 

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Minimum Space Regulations in Buy to Let (mainly HMO)

2016-10-19 14:51:46

This will mainly affect HMO type properties with further regulations. The main measure – originally floated in a consultation document from the Department of Communities and Local Government back in November of last year and repeated by new housing minister Gavin Barwell over the summer – is a minimum space standard.

Under the plans, which will apply in England, the minimum room size in HMOs and some other shared homes will be 6.52 square metres – roughly 70 square feet. The size would be applied for each individual or couple living in the property, so landlords could not squeeze in bunk beds.

The consultation document also includes a provision to ensure mandatory HMO-style licensing rules apply to all shared homes with five or more people from two or more households; they will also include flats above and below shops and other business premises – currently licensing applies only to homes with three or more floors, and excludes properties attached to businesses, unless they are in a three-storey building.

Landlords will also be required to provide decent storage and disposal of rubbish.

Ministers are also considering whether the current licensing rules for purpose-built student accommodation are appropriate.

“In order to build a country that truly works for everyone we must ensure that everyone has somewhere safe and secure to live. These measures will give councils the powers they need to tackle poor-quality rental homes in their area” says Barwell.

“By driving rogue landlords that flout the rules out of business, we are raising standards and giving tenants the protection they need.”

The consultation closes on Tuesday December 13.

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Brexit … where are we going?

2016-10-16 11:47:12

I did say I wouldn’t write another blog on Brexit but I’m so uncomfortable on this issue at the moment, I can’t help myself and speaking with other local business owners, their viewpoint is similar.

The language being used now and the need for a common sense approach to enter the negotiations with the EU really has to be realistic and grown up.

The politicians, mainly Tories, Media and Remainers are obsessed with immigration, that Brexit was all about immigration. During the Conservative conference they have pledged to ‘name and shame’ companies for hiring foreign workers, cut number of foreign doctors, put landlords in jail for not checking tenancy residency papers.

Please, what are these people talking about?

‘Name and shame’ – like there is something shameful and morally wrong about having foreigners on the payroll. As a business owner, I want the very best people working in my business, without any form of discrimination. Now they want to ‘Name & shame’ businesses, to force businesses to discriminate?

Across all industries, the Office for National Statistics reports that there are 3.45m non-Britons working in this country, yet only 1.63m unemployed, so the figures don’t match the rhetoric. This argument is painfully piss poor and yet it’s used again and again.

With a skills shortage already, and the demand for fewer overseas workers in the building trade for example, will mean it would worsen the industry’s ability to deliver the much needed new homes this country requires. Ask the house building firms. I’m in the property sector, there is not a single developer or house build saying we need less skilled tradesman. The building industry relies on ‘foreigners’. We should be arguing what we really need as a country, demanding new homes, new schools, expanding doctor’s surgeries and increasing our infrastructure. Which brings me on to my next point.

‘Doctors Policy’ – they are ‘ALLOWED’ to stay until we train up sufficient indigenous workers. Like these foreign doctors who have been here for decades treating, caring for and saving our lives, are here at our tolerance. Because after all, what other possible attitude could you have towards an immigrant? Certainly not equality. Certainly not friendship. They are different, a foreign infection. At best we ALLOW them temporary residence.

They are not people, with families and friends, lives and careers, they are not people who we say hello to when we buy milk or invite to a party or the well-mannered Eastern European serving our dinner in a restaurant. Who do research, start companies or teach our kids.

As I mentioned in my last article, my grandparents were Irish immigrants and the same thing happened decades ago, there were signs on the bed & breakfast ‘No blacks, no dogs, no Irish’ the Irish were below dogs. The fact is, immigration itself it not the problem, it’s the mass wave of uncontrolled immigration in one go. Society needs time to adjust, to slowly experience other cultures and the benefits this brings, rather than a big shock and indigenous population forced to adjust to new experiences and alien cultures so abruptly.

During the leave campaign, the argument was clear. It was about further countries joining the EU and Britain receiving another wave of immigration. I received a leaflet through my door, about Turkey other Arab countries pouring into our country. This is the real argument why many ‘leave’ voters voted leave, on the subject of immigration, it was about another wave hitting the UK. ‘Taking back control’.

The mood in Westminster on immigration is going in a very different direction, the ‘us vs them’ game, our people and ‘the others’, its simply wrong. The poison over immigration needs to come out of the Brexit negotiations and in politics, it is really going to cause problems in all types of areas of our society, if this is not addressed. Every time immigration is discussed, it’s a problem, despite the enormous cultural, social and economic wealth we gain.

The need to welcome, not deter, overseas interest in Britain, to attract the young, enthusiastic, healthy, driven, adventurous individuals with a strong work ethic. If the politicians have their way, they are going to use them as a pawn and risk losing. We can welcome back all the geriatric, retired British from overseas. I wonder what group is better for a society and economy.

We need to benefit from globalisation AND Europe. Everyone wants to retain the products of Europe, to enjoy a glass of Italian red wine, drive a BMW but also to open our markets to New Zealand, India and America without restriction and red tape.

The single market has no internal barriers and product discrimination which is great if we can retain access to this but in addition, the UK can remove the outside common tariffs to countries around the world. The EU is not a club, it’s a protection racket, hence why some EU politicians are saying ‘they want to make leaving as painful as possible or others will want to do it.’ It just shows, its self-protectionist, a closed shop, anti-competitive, in an increasingly global world. Britain is leading the way into the world and around the world, Britain was seen as being part of Europe, now Britain is part of the world.

In conclusion, Theresa May confirmed she would pursue a hard Brexit and pull Britain out of the single market, this would be economically insane. The horse has already bolted on free movement and in my view, we should retain free movement to current EU states and any further joining states (like Turkey) would be subject to controls. This is the outcome I believe the majority want and the minority would accept.

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Everything you Need to Know About Moving House

2016-09-29 09:50:30

Everything you Need to Know About Moving House

As exciting as finding your dream home is, the hard work begins once you set the moving date. There are so many things you need to prepare for, from booking the removal company months in advance to packing your moving day essentials kit ready for the big day.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done, so we have created a moving house timeline to keep you organized and help you tackle each step of the moving process one at a time.

8 Weeks Before Moving Day

Find a Removal Company that Suits You

Moving all your worldly possessions takes time and effort, and is one of the most stressful parts of moving house. To remedy this, hire a professional removal company to eliminate stress and minimize the risk of loss or damage to your items. Not only can they move your items to your new home, but many offer packing and dismantling services too.

Using https://www.comparemymove.com/ will allow you to compare removal companies and get the best price on the cost of hiring a removal company.

It’s usually a good idea to book a removal company as soon as you know your moving date, as they can be booked up months in advance. That said, before you choose a company, do your research and make sure they fit your criteria.

In general, you should pick a removal company which:

  • Agrees to a home survey before the move
  • Provides a comprehensive quotation
  • Has trained and uniformed staff
  • Is insured
  • Provides quality customer service

7 Weeks Before Moving Day

Organise and Declutter

Go through all of your items and be as vigilant as possible when deciding what to keep or throw away. To avoid waste, why not donate or sell your unwanted items? Getting rid of anything you don’t use or need anymore will not only lighten your load, but also give you more wardrobe and cupboard space in your new house.

Around this time, you should also buy packing materials such as boxes, tape and bubble wrap. However, many removal companies provide this for you.

6 Weeks Before Moving Day

Inform the Right People

As exciting as moving house can be, it’s easy to forget everyone you need to notify of your change of address, other than your family and friends. This needs to be done in advance of moving day, so that records of your address are updated when you arrive at your new home.  If your children are changing schools, inform the staff that you will be moving as you will need copies of their school certificates and records. If you are looking for school places for your children, make sure you research the schools in your new area.

Here are some other things you need to do:

  • Redirect Your Mail
  • Tell Your GP
  • Inform Your Bank
  • Change Your Cars Address
  • Take Final Meter Readings
  • Change Details On Your Electoral Role
  • Move Your TV Licence
  • Change The Address of Your Deliveries

5-4 Weeks Before Moving

Organise Your Packing

Packing your non-essentials should be a priority at this point onwards. Any large furniture and other items you don’t urgently need can be packed away ready to be loaded on moving day. Try and store them somewhere where they will be out of the way.

If you are moving out of a rented property, you should also notify your landlord that you’re moving out by this point.

3 Weeks Before Moving

Use up Your Food

Moving a lot of food will add needless weight to the load you need to move, and may cause more of a mess if anything spills or breaks open. Try and use up all the food you can, and make sure there’s nothing left in your fridge or freezer by your moving date.

2 Weeks Before Moving

Finish Packing

At this point, you should pack up the last few items left inside the house. Go through each room, and make use of our packing hacks to make the process quicker and more efficient. Try and get rid of any waste that is taking up room in the house, like leftover cleaning supplies or paint.

Avoid packing your valuables with the rest of your items. Keep jewellery, important documents and passports with you so you can move them yourself on moving day.

1 Week Before Moving

Pack Your Moving Kit

Your essential moving day kit should be ready for your moving day. The kit will include everything you will need before and after you arrive at your new home. If you aren’t sure what is needed, here are some ideas:

  • Pillows and Bed Sheets
  • Alarm Clock
  • Towels and Toiletries
  • A Kettle, Mug, Coffee and Tea
  • Sandwiches
  • Paper Plates and Plastic Cutlery
  • Bin Liners
  • Portable Radio and Deck of Cards
  • Mini Toolbox

Confirm Dates & Times

Check with your removal company that the date and time they are arriving is correct, so moving day can go smoothly.

One Day Before Moving

Fridge and Freezer

Ensure your fridge and freezer are empty and defrosted. Do final checks to make sure you haven’t left anything behind. If you have, you could always donate any leftover food.

On Moving Day

Final Checks

Before you set off for your new home, do one final check around the house to be certain nothing is left behind and all the lights are switched off.

Hopefully this timeline has broken down the process of moving house and helped you enjoy a stress-free move.

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Martin & Co buyout Ewemove for £15 million

2016-09-14 17:14:29

It’s been an interesting couple of years in the industry with online Estate agents popping up and hybrid agencies. The fact is, no one knows as a business model whether it even works yet.

Purple Bricks are losing a million pound a month and investors and big agencies are jumping on to the online agency bandwagon. Connells bought ‘Hatched’, Savills own ‘Yopa’ (which is a train wreck of a start-up in my opinion) and Countrywide are testing hybrid models.

A new entry was Ewemove a quirky new entrant into the market in 2014, with a successful franchise model with explosive growth with 90 franchisors throughout the UK. Incredibly selling for a massive £15 million pounds, which is a real result for a two year old company.

I still fail to see how Purple bricks is valued at £330 million. It’s a ridiculous valuation and for a business that has not yet made a profit and investors queuing up to stick their money into these companies that may or may not make distributable profits in the future.

It’s like ‘Lambs to the Slaughter’, someone has really ‘Pulled the wool over their eyes’ and these big agencies jumping onto the hybrid bandwagon, where one leads, other follow. That’s sheep for you.

The point is, online agencies currently make up 5% of the market and have been around for 15 years now.

It’s only Purple bricks who have adjusted the business model, still online but have a local rep but is it good for the customer?

I can tell you. What incentive do they have to sell the property? … NONE

They couldn’t care less if someone sells or not, they do not register buyers because there is no point. They have no database of buyers, no sales meetings, no phone outs, no ongoing service.

Once they sign someone up, the fee is ‘buy now, pay later’ credit. To the point, where some local reps couldn’t even be bothered to do the viewings. Fortunately, now customers can buy a ‘bolt on’ service to pay them to do the viewings but they still have little interest whether they sell or not.

This combined with their limited advertising, no office, no local publications, no yellow pages, no database, the fee has to be cheap. Cheap fee, low marketing, low results and the problem is once sellers are hooked in, paying no matter whether they sell or not, they are reluctant to change agents. Then, they reduce their asking price by sometimes tens of thousands because they are not receiving the interest or correct advice, but at least they can boast they saved some money on paying real estate agents.

I’ve just taken on a property, the client has paid Purple Bricks a thousand pounds and after several months on the market, nothing. They have now instructed Clifftons and our Service is FREE, FREE to list their property, FREE advertising and marketing, FREE viewings, FREE negotiation, FREE to find a buyer, FREE to sales chase for months between all parties, its brilliant. She only pays Clifftons if the sale completes and she moves home. How can you compete with that?

As an agent, my biggest business expense is marketing / advertising. I spend thousands of pounds to attract hundreds of buyers and tenants on a weekly basis. As a business if I cut the fee, I have to cut the marketing which is not in the sellers interests. Sellers need to generate maximum interest and obtain the best possible price in the marketplace. Online agents, someone working from their back bedroom, with no office, worries me greatly. Its only a matter of time.

On a brighter note, if you want to use our FREE service to place your property on the market for FREE – Call Clifftons today – 01202 789699.

  • We promise you will not pay us a single pound, unless we actually find you a buyer and you move home.

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House Prices in Bournemouth

2016-07-28 14:52:47

After twenty plus years property experience and owning my own independent estate & letting agents reviewing the property market and house prices in Bournemouth is part and parcel of the job.

There are several property house price index stats, Nationwide, Halifax (based on mortgage applications) and more recently the property portals, Rightmove (based on asking Prices), RICS and Movewithus based on its members polled but the most accurate is the Land Registry. Although, the property data from the Land Registry is always three months old, it is by far the most accurate in what actually is happening in the property market.

You can see in the attached graph, the height of the market was December 2007, with the average house prices in Bournemouth £206,227. The credit crunch hit the economy and property market in 2008 and property prices fell, at their lowest on March 2009 at £163,937. A fall in property prices of 20%. In fact, in the past, I have reviewed house price data since 1972 until today. Reviewing the property cycles and the recession in 1990, property prices only normally crash by a maximum of circ. 20% before stabilizing and either going straight back up, like in 2010 or remaining stagnant for a few years like in 1990.

Just tell me if this is boring you … zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Actually, on a serious note, its a great article to read in bed, you’ll soon be asleep.

Right, back to stats. The market has gradually increased from 2009 through to 2016 and up until May 2016 the average house price in Bournemouth in May 2016 is £226,167. An increase of 9.6% from the height of the property market in 2007 or an increase of 38% if you were lucky enough to buy at the bottom of the market in 2009, an average increase of £62,230 but who can judge the top and bottom of the property market? … no one, its just luck.

house price bournemouth

House price bournemouth

The interesting part, (well I say ‘interesting’ loosely) is Total Sales Volumes graph – this is transaction levels. Its a myth, estate agents like property prices going up or property prices coming down obviously. The most important part is property transaction levels and these have been falling over the last decade, mainly due to the high cost of moving with Stamp duty tax, estate agents fees (cheap in my opinion), solicitors fees etc. The tax element is very counterproductive because when someone moves home, they employ builders, plumbers electricians, removal companies, home furnishings, garden furniture, the economy is centered around an active housing market. Good housing liquidity = an active economy.

Looking at the graph ‘total sales volumes’, its easy to see the very large spike in transaction levels in March 2016 with buy to let landlords buying property before the Stamp Duty increase on the 1st April 2016 for second homes and buy to let buyers. Its inevitable, we will see a housing slump after this, although the media will no doubt blame Brexit, as the hot topic of the day, although I can tell you with confidence, these tax changes are the most damaging to the property market.

Which brings me on to Brexit, where are we today? Whats going to happen in the future property market with Brexit?

The fact the pound has fallen has meant this is a fantastic time for overseas property buyers to enter into the property market, its like receiving an immediate 15% discount on buying property. As we become closer with global partners across the world and inward investment from overseas, this sector of buyers is likely to grow.

The next interesting part is interest rates. If rates drop any lower, banks may charge customers for keeping their money with them or certainly current accounts will be zero interest. Then why would anyone keep large sums of money in banks and certainly property is an excellent choice for receiving an income on capital, although, there are certain considerations that need to be carefully thought about.

Next, when Britain crashed dramatically out of the European Exchange Mechanism in 1992, it was the best thing that happened, the economy boomed and property prices increased. I can only see positives with Brexit, as long as Britain gets to keep the free trade access, even free movement of people would be fine with me, if that’s what it takes to keep free trade access with our European partners.

The only part that is holding the property market back now or a small fall in property prices this year is the negative, pessimistic media and I’m sure any fall will be big ‘negative’ headlines but the reality is, this is a fantastic time to buy property. Mortgage rates surely can not be any lower and paying such low interest for the past (since March 2009 = 0.5%) 7 years has meant its been considerably cheaper than renting and excellent property investments.

Thank you for reading and if you want any further property advice or thinking of selling, buying, renting or letting in Bournemouth, please call me at Clifftons – 01202 789699.

written by James Scollard – CLIFFTONS

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EU Hangover – What Next?

2016-06-25 12:26:24

I know everyone has had enough for this referendum, all the EU articles are a little boring now, listening to everyone’s opinion and trying to decide on the biggest question of our time but this is just the beginning and we now need to work together to decide what we are going to do.

David Cameron stood on the white cliffs of Dover waving to the people of Britain, proudly announcing, like a peacock, the reforms he was going to achieve in the EU. Reforms that were in the British Interests of the people and Nation. We then watched our Prime Minster run around Europe and waited. (A real leader would have made no announcement and had a quiet word in the ears of leaders without the media). He came back a failure. He came back to the people with some second rate concessions but actually they were really quite good. I asked people during the referendum: Do you know what reforms our PM gained? No one had a clue. This was another mistake, he promoted the strap line, ‘Stronger, safer and better off’ – but Why? This is what the people wanted to know.

In my heart, I wanted the result to be 52% remain and 48% leave to send a clear message, we are not happy. I understand more now ‘The Prime Minster is the boss and the unelected commissioners are the managers, the PM cannot be in Brussels but needs a manager to act for Britain.’

Immigration, politicians and media think the problem is immigration, due to the leave campaign turning toxic in the latter part of the debate. It’s not. It’s about the control of immigration. You cannot have a rising population and circ. 380,000 immigrants per annum and only build 182,000 new homes per annum. The fact is, our infrastructure is not keeping up with people. Pressure on housing, doctors, school places. We need to control the flow of people.

I am a descendant of an immigrant, Irish. When the Irish came over to build our motorways in this country, the signs on the bed and breakfasts said, ‘No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish’. The Irish were below dogs. The high immigration in the 1970’s of people from India and Pakistan and the abuse of ‘Paki’ they received. Now, the Polish. The reason the council estates had a high turnout of 80% to vote leave is because they have been affected the most, the majority being tradesman and competition this added to their businesses. Society needs time. It needs time to adapt and integrate.

I married a polish woman and have three beautiful children, she is the most beautiful, intelligent (studying for her PHD), hard working person I know. I work hard, I work six days a week, I’ve set up six businesses, two of which have over a million pound turnover, one of which was directly set up on the back of an EU directive. I still don’t work as hard as she does. A mother of three children, working seven days a week and studying for a PHD. She feels betrayed, she has worked here ten years, starting off as a carer, cleaning peoples shit. The jobs people in Britain don’t want to do and is now being unloved, unwanted, angry, upset and betrayed. She wants to leave and go back to Poland.

This referendum has split the country, classes, ages, friends and families and I want to say to all immigrants and to the friends in Europe, you are our friends and family, we love you, we want you and please bear with us, while we sort this mess out. To the immigrants living in the UK, we want you, you are contributing to our society and an integral part of this country and in my case, I love you.

So, why did I vote ‘Out’? I really wanted to vote remain and in the morning on the way to the voting station, I heard the comments from Juncker from the day before. ‘Britain if you vote to stay in, you are not getting any more reforms or concessions, that’s it for you’. My opinion was, you arrogant, pig headed, conceited, bully and voted out. Juncker, you offered me a bum deal, followed by threats. – YOU ARE FIRED.

My wife was angry I supported the side of Farge, this is the direct opposite. There are far right and middle right groups popping up in Britain, Britain First, BNP, UKIP and across Europe. Vote ‘Leave’ makes UKIP redundant and pointless, there is no need for the likes of Farage. The danger comes when the masses or majority get behind a Nationist party (like UKIP) and then the leader changes to a more radical leader, maybe anti-semetic leader and history repeats. Just look at the SNP, they lost and gained strength and support. There is a lack of trust & accountability in the EU and this breeds corruption. These policies breed xenophobia and intolerance and whilst there is a foreigner to blame, the more Farages are going to pop up.

I’m not alone, there isn’t any jubilation celebrating by anyone that I can see. We have won and we have lost. The leave campaign took the communities that felt swamped by immigrants and used this as easy pickings to gain an advantage. We need to work closer with all parts of the UK, not just Westminster but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

I believe the people of Britain want to work closely with the people in Europe. I would like to see the countries that want the EU and a federation, a United States of Europe (USE) and one currency the Euro to work together and bring about this dream. For Britain and other nations that want to keep their politicians accountable and governed from the capital, to set up a new EU, maybe UE – United Europe.

A United Europe – UE, that works closely together with free trade and European Arrest Warrants, Passenger name Records to make Europe secure from crime and terrorism. Britain wants Europe to be successful and dramatically increase economic growth across Europe, not just the UK, (This will naturally reduce immigration, even reverse, if there are more jobs on the continent.) There is still a strong place for Britain and voice, to show leadership in Europe. (Britain led the way in Turkey helping to reduce the migrants drowning on the boats, Germany opened the door wider, France is just obstructive and sometimes better to just sit back down.) Both sides agree on remain and leave, we need to continue to have a free trade agreement with the EU, better for Britain, better for Europe.

What Next?

I would like our new Prime Minster to set up a ‘Department for EU transitional Affairs’ to concentrate on making sure we rebuild our bridges with the EU, to make clear, we wish to remain partners with the EU, to offer the people of Europe a membership of the EU to the ‘United States of Europe’ with closer integration with the Euro, a dream of one large state OR membership of the UE, ‘United Europe’ where the people have a trade only membership and security and other minor issues (not Political Union). I would even agree to free movement of people but can control/block/ stem the flow from new countries joining so we are not flooded with Turkish people or other joining nations. There needs to be control but that does not mean closed.

We need to be decisive, firm and have strong leadership going forward. We cannot let negotiations with Europe ‘take their course’ – we need to lead negotiations in Europe.

The time for compromise and negotiation is over, we have made our position clear. We no longer want to hear the sound of Brussels telling us what we can and can’t do. We are in the driving seat and wanted to ‘take back control’, well we have it. All of Europe is now waiting for us.

All EU law and judgments of the European Court of Justice will now revert back to the British High Courts. We take back our financial affairs, leaving the European Central Bank and take no further part in the inevitable future bail-out schemes. We take back control of our seas, the boundary line of UK territory waters should revert back to 1972. We gain control and ownership of our fishing, hydrocarbon and mineral resources. We have a bonfire of red tape with radical reform. We take out EU agricultural subsidies replacing them with British subsidies supporting our farmers but not the absurd payments to farmers for ‘not rearing pigs’ and ‘not rearing cows’ and tradable carbon credits for not polluting with harmful methane gases and having empty fields, money for ‘not farming’, keeping land for the sake of land.

We need to headhunt international executives with experience for negotiating trade deals (seeing as we left this to the EU with a 3.6% British Interest) our trade deals will be stronger for Britain. However, before we get ahead of ourselves, we need to align the current EU trade deals with South Korea, Canada, Switzerland, Mexico, Norway to have swift, quick action in similar carbon copied UK trade agreements and can start the process of bi-lateral agreements with India and China and other nations the EU has failed to make agreements with.

Without the Heavy EU regulatory burdens and chains, our markets will open up. A UK free trade nation, a magnet for global investment. A weaker pound, our manufacturing industry will boom, British companies will expand and the repercussions are a stronger workforce, higher wages and lower taxes. Markets will rebound and some.

In conclusion, I think I would like to see Theresa May step up, she has the political experience, the confidence, is intelligent and smart and well respected in this country and abroad. However, whoever steps up, they need to be a strong leader and lead the way. Boris Johnson should be in the cabinet and probably head up ‘Department for EU transitional Affairs’ or Prime Minster, he is highly intelligent and partly responsible for leaving, it’s just his clown image that might hold him back.

This has been a lot of heart ache, anger, stress, worry but this is an opportunity. We need to come together, shake hands with the people around us, lead from the front, lead Britain and lead Europe.

Our European friends and family need our love & support, this is a vote against the EU, not Europe.

This is a vote for control, we are not closing the door, we are opening the door

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EU – Why I have changed to ‘Remain’

2016-06-20 14:54:38

Remain or Leave?

I have spent the last few months providing arguments for leave waiting for someone to convince me I’m wrong. I’ve be fighting very passionately about leaving this EU organisation.

I hate the EU, I hate the red tape and bureaucracy, I do not like the fact there are over 12,500 laws for Milk and you basically need a PHD to milk a cow and sell the milk. I don’t like being told what to do or controlled. I do not like the fact we do not have the power of our own destiny. I could write a really long list of all things I don’t like about the EU. On 17th March, I wrote an argument for Leaving the EU. (http://www.clifftons.com/eu-in-or-out/)

3 days before voting – There is one area that has changed my mind – Trade.

I’ve spent my whole career negotiating, trading and dealing in markets. Demand and Supply, that has to be a seller, to be a buyer. Even as a child on the playground trading football player cards, (got, got, got, need, got, got, need, got, got and then swap) Trade, give and take. Britain is historically great at trade, when the British first went to Asia, Britain wanted their Silk and Tea but didn’t have anything the Chinese wanted, so ended up trading Opium. In the end the Chinese government confiscated 20,000 chests of opium without compensation, blockaded Trade and confined European Merchants. The British government objected to this seizure and used its naval and gunnery power to inflict a quick and decisive defeat. The British had our outpost, Hong Kong and the drug wars ended on the basis we took a 99 year lease on the island. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Opium_War

Anyway, my point is Trade. There are only 3 outcomes with our relationship with the EU.

One, A condition of access for the single market from the EU is ‘Free Movement of People’ & ‘Membership fee’. The Norwegian Model, being in the single market without actually being in EU, is rubbish. Zero influence, zero power and no voice. To have access to the free single market, they have to do everything the EU says, without having a say or voice AND accept free movement of people AND pay a massive membership fee. Firstly, Britain wouldn’t want this BUT the EU wouldn’t offer it to us anyway because it would be conditional to have free movement of people and a membership fee.

So goodbye Single Market.

(The single market is the legal framework with regulatory barriers and numerous different rules to regulate goods or services. The point of the single market is to remove regulation for Trade.)

Britain is a major player within the EU and has enormous influence, brokers and builds deals, sets out political agendas, negotiates alliances but also we have to compromise. We have been clever at brokering deals by using other countries assets throughout the EU to negotiate the deals we want. For example. Say Britain wants to sell financial services in South Africa but South Africa is not interested in this and we have nothing else to trade with. They want lower tariffs for their wine they produce. France may dis-agree with this because they are a major European player when it comes to wine but will allow this, however, if Britain allows a higher tariff on Swiss (American) cheese, France can sell more cheese around EU, South Africa can sell more wine and Britain can sell more financial services in South Africa, for example. I know this is boring, stay with me now.

We bargain using other countries economies to get what we want.

Britain is the 5th largest manufacturing country in the world. Correct but why? As a car parts manufacturer, I can make car parts in the UK and freely export them around the EU. ‘A gateway into Europe’. This is a reason why manufacturing in the UK is doing so well.

If I am a manufacturer and we vote leave. I can ONLY supply the UK domestic market and am now inundated with regulation and red tape exporting to the EU – the only choice available is to open a factory in France. Britain is a open economy with low restrictions anyway. MANUFACTURING WILL DECREASE with a vote leave.

Also, the EU if not going to be friendly to Britain, if we divorce them. They have to make it clear to all other member countries, life on the outside is not going to be better.

This only leaves two remaining options.

a) A Bi-lateral agreement with EU (Like Switzerland, South Korea and Mexico)
or
b) No agreement and trade with EU like the rest of the world under the WTO

In both A & B scenario’s, its going to be extremely hard for businesses to be based in the UK with zero competitive advantages. The business here, will only have the UK’s domestic market. We will face being restricted with higher tariffs, no longer having access to this large free market.

The only real choice available, is probably a bi-lateral agreement.

However, other countries around the world will not want to enter into a bi-lateral trade agreement with the UK, until they first know what their agreement will be with the EU. The EU could easily place pressure on a country saying, we do not think its in your interests to give the UK this deal, otherwise the EU will have to increase the tariffs on XYZ. There is no way, the EU will let Britain be more competitive than them and with a larger market, the power is theirs. The genie is out of the bottle and he is not going back in.

If we leave, the UK will not have a single trade agreement around the world. All the agreements are in partnership through the EU.

The EU treaty states we have two years to sort out our divorce (I guarantee the EU will make this as awkward and difficult as possible).

Once this is complete, and we start our new free single life. It is likely the grass in not greener on the other side and we are missing the 27 kids or can see them with heavy restrictions and other countries come with their own baggage and complications.

We then will have to sort out a new relationship with the EU. This is going to take circ. 8-10 years and the 27 kids have different needs and wants, difference ages and sizes and its going to be very difficult to sort out.

Britain is powerful within the EU, we have influence and power being IN the EU.

We are one of the big 3 – UK, France and Germany – between us, we provide the EU with political, economic and diplomatic leadership. Nothing happens in the EU without the co-operation of the Big 3. We have control, influence and power. The EU far from perfect but we can only make a difference from the inside.
Vote Leave = Less Trade

There is no question, this referendum has shown there are deep fundamental issues with the EU and reform will be round the corner.

Vote Remain = Making the EU work for us. Retaining power and influence on our continent and the opportunity to make a difference.

Some other points.
Turkey – There are 35 steps for Turkey to join the EU, they have completed step one. They are a million miles away. The reason our PM and politicians say nice things about Turkey is to keep them on side, to help the EU and build relations. We needed a solution and Turkeys help for the migrant crisis and to stem the flow. Britain achieved this. The Germany leader said, our door in wide open, thank goodness Britain was there to save the day and help sort the mess out. The EU needs Britain.

Immigration – There has been heavy immigration because the UK has lots of growth and jobs. This is changing as France, Spain and other economies are now growing, the immigration to and from will change in time.

In conclusion, the cost of leaving the EU is too high.

Britain has a special status in the EU, holding a strong voice.

Reform is next on the Agenda, if we vote Remain. We have to just keep trying.

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Estate Agent going environmentally friendly

2016-06-04 16:43:49

The summer is upon us and one of the leading Estate Agents in Bournemouth is going environmentally friendly with the scooter.

The Senior Partner at CLIFFTONS, James Scollard comments ‘The scooter is brilliant, it lifts the spirit, is fun, free, speedy, healthy and what makes the scooter slightly difference to the bicycle, it can fold up and be carried under one arm, upstairs, in lifts, on the tube or bus, with ease.

As anyone knows, dropping their children off at school, on the school run is a time to be avoided in the car. The scooter was a good solution, quicker than walking and not only does it cut down the school run traffic and congestion, my children are getting the exercise they need and more importantly they enjoy going on the scooter to school. So much so, I decided to join in.

I’ve lost some weight and saved money, its win, win. I’ve seen they have become very trendy in Australia and their popularity is increasing in London, easy to jump on and off the bus or tube.

I found I could travel one mile in eight minutes and it took ten minutes to travel home and six minutes in the car. Therefore, I decided to add the scooter to our fleet of vehicles for viewings close by, it’s handy to fold up and go up in the lift or leave in a porch. Short car journeys use disproportionate petrol or diesel because the engine does not warm up enough to burn fuel efficiently.

Although, the staff seem less keen. I have explained, I’ve put the ‘oo’ back into cool and no need to be shy but it seems they are too cool for scooter school.’
Now the summer sunshine has arrived, it’s an ideal time.

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Budget 2016 in the Property Sector

2016-03-22 18:43:00

The Budget in 2016 for the Property sector

It’s been an incredible start to 2016, many buy to let investors hurried their search to secure a purchase in time for 31st March 2016 when Stamp Duty rises by 3% on second properties. This month has seen exchange and completion levels at an all-time high. Solicitors and agents around the country are working all hours to ensure completions are taking place in time.

So what does George Osbourne’s 2016 Budget mean for the property market.

  1. Capital Gains – Currently 28%, being reduced to 20% from the 1st April, I thought this was fantastic, except looking at the small print, this excludes property and my bubble just burst.
  2. Stamp Duty – From 1st April, for people owning more than one property will increase by 3%. If a couple have split up, they will not be known as a single entity and therefore will be except.
  3. Speed up Planning & Zoning – to help boost housing supply.
  4. Rent a Room Allowance – Increased from £4,250 to £7,500.
  5. Freezing fuel duty and Improved infrastructure projects – will increase commutable distances and help businesses.
  6. Commercial Stamp Duty changes – 0% up to £150,000, 2% up to £250,000 and 5% above £250,000.
  7. Life Time ISAs  – will be introduced to help under 40 year olds save a deposit for a property or their pension. For every £4 saved, the Government will add £1 – giving a 25% bonus on their savings. People will be able to save £4,000 per annum until the age of 50.
  8. 10% Wear and Tear allowance – will be discontinued on furnished properties, however, like for like replaced furniture can be deducted.
  9. Increase in Business Rate Relief – from £6,000 to £15,000 from April next year and the higher rate £18,000 increased to £51,000. The abolition of Class 2 national insurance for the self employed, in addition to tax free personal allowance increasing.

The stamp duty changes are going to deter some buy to let purchasers  and second home buyers short term and this will have an adverse effect short term on the market until it becomes the norm. Transactions levels could decrease, which means supply will be short and property is valued higher because there is less supply.

The property market is incredibly busy and at Clifftons we are seeing record levels of business, the signs look positive for this year but who knows the future. The EU election this year will be interesting, see my other article: EU Referendum

If you are considering selling anywhere in the country, Call Clifftons today on 01202 789699.

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legionnaires disease testing

2016-03-09 11:38:05

I recently had a company into my letting agents trying to sell me ‘Legionella Disease Testing’ or ‘Legionella Risk Assessment’ and also telling me the law has changed and its a legal requirement to have a test on every property. To help sell these tests, they produced a brochure saying 500 people die in the UK every year. The company was the ‘National Legionnaire Information Centre’ and are travelling up and down the country selling these reports. The information they provided is FALSE and MISLEADING.

Just to be clear:

The law has not changed. It is not a legal requirement to obtain a Legionnaires test on every rental property and there are not 500 deaths a year, there are 28 deaths a year*. (* During 2011 to 2013, there were 84 deaths from Legionnaires’ disease in England and Wales (including overseas travellers). Most deaths occur in people who are 70 years of age or older. From NHS – http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Legionnaires-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx)

The law remains the same, if there is a potential high risk area, then it needs to be monitored (Under Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974(HSWA) – this is the as it has been for the past 30 years.

There is higher risk going on holiday abroad, the brochure, presentation and information is mis-leading.

THE FACTS

1. This act has been around since 1974 and its only now, companies are trying to sell these reports.
2. IT IS NOT A LEGAL REQUIREMENT to obtain this report – it’s a GUIDELINE if a RISK is identified.
3. Legionella bacteria is found (in low numbers) in lakes, ponds and rivers. However, this bacteria can grow in air conditioning units and recycled water like hot tub or spa pools – Bacteria like HOT, WET PLACES.

Lastly, Legionnaires disease is VERY RARE.

In 2013, there were 284 people in the UK with it. 88 of these got it while being abroad.

That leaves 196 people in UK.

Out of the 284 people, 83% of these (235 people) were over 50 years old because their immune systems are weaker.

So that leaves 49 people, in the whole of the UK, out of 60 million people under 50 years old.

Legionnaires Disease – can be treated with a course of Antibiotics. (10% won’t be cured with antibiotics and will need further assistance)

IN CONCLUSION

You have a 0.000003% chance of catching this disease, that can be cured by a course of antibiotics.

This is important because this company are signing people up to monitor this on normal properties for £12 per month, per property. Its such a rip off.

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EU – In or Out ?

2016-03-07 12:28:05

EU – In or Out

Some people are firmly IN, others are firmly OUT and there are lots of people unsure. Here is my take on it.

Three years ago, I was in Poland, with a large group of Polish, some Croatian and Germans and I was the only Brit at this very large table. I was sat next to a friendly German chap discussing the European Union, along with lots of Vodka and whilst most of the evening was misty, this conversation stuck with me. He said ‘The EU is an ongoing project, for the people to become full EU citizens and eventually will have a ‘United States of Europe’.

If you believe in a ‘United States of Europe’ then you should vote to remain. If you believe its in the interests of Britain to be a subservient state, vote remain. Most of the countries have lost their currency, Deutsche Mark and French franc, to now have the Euro and the ultimate goal is for countries currently outside of the Euro, to join the Euro in the future and have one large controlling entity.

There is risk if we leave, and risk if we stay in. The question is not about risk, the question is, what option will give us the best opportunity to prosper, better ourselves and our country?

Will everything remain the same as it is now, if we vote to remain? Most certain not. The vision and goal is to create a single Political Union with the same laws throughout the EU.

The point is, the leave group are complaining about losing sovereignty in the UK, the right to make our own laws and control our own country but that’s not the point of Europe. The point of Europe is to make it uniform throughout, to firstly be a ‘EU Citizen’ and secondly a British Citizen. Like America, the people are firstly American citizens and then secondly, Alabama citizens. By choosing to remain in the EU, we are choosing firstly to be an EU citizen.

So that’s an overview. Next, it’s a question of looking at the main areas of discussion.

Free movement of people / Immigration – As a ‘United States of Europe’, people can travel freely from one state to another. The German Finance minister, Wolfgang Schauble, said on the Andrew Marr show on 6th March 2016, ‘Germany has doubts whether Turkey should be a full member of the EU but this is a question for the coming years.’ Its clear Turkey wants to join and there are advantages to the EU. The fact Turkey has 70 million people, many more than Poland or the 19 million in Romania means we can look forward to a massive increase in immigration for the future being in the EU with no borders. It’s mainly a Muslim and Arabic country and will make Britain more diverse, with a much higher immigration level than we have today. Therefore, if you believe more immigration is needed, then vote remain in the EU. (This is not to be confused with Asylum because I agree with Asylum and for a Syrian family to leave their home and all their possessions to walk hundreds of miles with a baby or young children, on a boat, sleeping in a tent to be met with barbed wire and refused entry is a disgrace and these families in real need, need our help. This is completely different to Immigration.)

Trade – Britain is the 5th largest economy is the world and doing better than most. The UK is now not allowed to make Trade deals with the rest of the world, the UK is forbidden under EU law. So who is in the better position? Britain or the EU commission? Vote ‘Remain’, if you think it’s the EU commission who now make all trade deals and with a 3.6% made up of British interests, they have the sole responsibility of Trade agreements affecting Britain. I know what you’re thinking, Britain is too small with 64 million people but Iceland with 400 thousand people have made Trade deals with China and other emerging markets around the world, so it is more than possible Britain is capable.

Another argument is Britain will not be able to trade as well outside of the EU and even David Cameron said, to trade with EU, Norway and Switzerland still have to accept the ‘Free Movement of people’. However, in Germany, France is their biggest trading partner followed by America and then in 3rd place is the UK. Does America have to accept the free movement of people? or pay into the EU budget to trade in the EU? Of course not, and yet they are the second biggest trade partner for Germany. The real question is, if Britain votes to leave and are now outside of the EU, does Germany still want to sell BOSH appliances or their BMW cars in the UK? Then in my view, a trade agreement would appear straight forward and in the interests of both countries, this applies to all in UK. Lets face it, which country in the EU does not want to do business with the 5th largest economy in the World?

In the future, is Europe the next big growth area of the world? Or are there other countries around the world, Britain would want to freely trade with. Currently, we are not allowed. We have to rely on the EU commission to make all our trade deals. Can we ignore the rest of the world? Is this good for Britain? Is this good for our future Britain being restricted? Is the economy global or European?

If we choose to remain in the EU, will it mean we can obtain reform and co-operation in the future? David Cameron nearly had 28 countries agree on certain changes he wanted to implement, in the interests of the UK, and for the British people, the fact all 28 countries couldn’t agree, doesn’t mean this will always be the case, or does it? How hard has it been for our Prime Minster to travel around Europe seeing 28 Prime Ministers / Presidents, to ask their permission and agreement – they still said no.

When the Euro was launched, many politicians and bosses of PLC companies said Britain would be isolated if we didn’t lose the pound and embrace the Euro, maybe this time round they might be right, it doesn’t matter they got it wrong before or maybe they are simply wrong again.

Our growth areas are education and financial services. The financial services brings in billions and today in the EU, British financial institutions are still blocked and barred in certain financial areas in Germany and France from free trading in their financial markets, let’s face it 30 years in the EU is clearly not enough time to sort that out.

In conclusion, we are restricted by red tape and bureaucracy in law and trade. We are now controlled. We can’t do what we want to do. We can’t trade in high growth areas around the world, to make our own trade deals, for Britain to prosper and develop.

Its higher risk to remain in the EU. High risk because we do not have control over our borders, we cannot plan the number of people entering the country, to budget for our school systems, demand on NHS and infrastructure we have today.

Vote REMAIN – If you want to be an EU citizen, to be a state of Europe, to let Europe have control over our borders, our laws and governance. Choose REMAIN, if you want Britain to be wrapped in chains, told what to do and how to do it. You are not allowed to make your own Trade deals, you are not allowed to run your business or life in this way, its needs to be the same as EU. You are not allowed to undercut or be more competitive than European businesses. If you like a much bigger government made up of lots of foreigners and unelected ministers, if you like a being controlled and told what to do, if you think Greek officials have your interests in mind, vote REMAIN.

Vote LEAVE – If you want to be a British citizen first, and second to be a member of the EU. Vote LEAVE if you do not want to be a subservient country. Vote LEAVE to have control.

I vote to LEAVE … To have FREEDOM.

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Border control

2016-02-10 15:12:03

The law for Landlords and Letting Agents is hard to keep up with at the moment. The new obligation coming law on 1st February 2016 is ‘Right to Rent’. Under the provisions of the Immigration Act 2014, the person responsible for the checks will be liable to receive a civil penalty where they do not fulfill their obligations under the Act. The Immigration Act 2014 confirms the level of fines payable will be up to a maximum of £3,000 per tenant. It goes further, the Immigration Bill 2015/2016 proposes the person responsible for carrying out the checks will be criminally liable if the right to rent provisions are not followed and if convicted will face a custodial sentence of imprisonment for up to 5 years and/or fine.

Is the Government really holding Landlords liable for immigration checks? .. Absolutely. Seven Civil Penalty Notices have already been issued from £80 to £2,000 and twenty one notices stating they maybe liable. If the Immigration Bill 2015 goes through then Landlords will be criminally liable.

In order to avoid this, Landlords need to rent out properties ensuring they are not disqualified from renting due to their immigration status. The Government has produced a Code of Practice which sets out the steps that a Landlord must take. The steps that must be followed, no more than 28 days before a tenancy is due to begin are:

a) Establish who will be living at the property as their main home

b) Obtain original versions of one or more acceptable documents to establish a Right to Rent for each adult who will be living at the property.

c) Check the documents in the presence of the holder of the documents. The responsible person must check date of births, photographs are consistent with occupier, that the documents confirm a Right to Rent and expiry dates have not passed and documents appear genuine.

d) Make copies of the Passports and other documents and retain them with a record of the date when copies were taken. These need to be retained even after tenancy has ended.

There will be a need to carry out follow up checks to establish a time-limited right to rent, e/g/ Visa will expire.

Can Landlords and Letting agents avoid above and just rent to British or EU citizens? No, this would be in breach of discrimination laws  and could face a discrimination suit which would have uncapped damages.

So Letting Agents / Border Control it is. I’m going to get myself a booth.

Landlords

Landlords

 

 

 

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Lansdowne

2016-01-28 11:37:55

This is a picture of our office in 1870. Our office is the corner on the left hand side.

In 1870, just behind the horse and cart is ‘Oxford Riding Academy’ – Obviously the car was not invented or around in 1870, hard to believe today. The horse is just taking a drink in the water well. The post office is on the right hand side, they haven’t moved very far and are still on this parade, next to us. Looks like a stationary in the middle. I cant quite see what our office used to be.

You will note though, it doesn’t look like that today. Exactly half the building, on the right hand side had to be rebuilt after a bomb flew up that side of the building during the second world war in Bournemouth’s bloodiest air raid of 23 May 1943.

Bournemouth’s air raid sirens had sounded 847 times since the outbreak of war but on this day, German targeted Bournemouth. What followed was devastation with approximately 25 high-explosive bombs falling on the town.

3359 buildings were damaged, including our Parade and 37 had to be demolished, 22 destroyed including two of the town’s landmark hotels, the Metropole at the Lansdowne and the Central at the bottom of Richmond Hill.

Royal London House

Royal London House

This beautiful building in now the Royal London House, currently with KFC at the Lansdowne roundabout.

In 1943 RAF Station Bournemouth was welcoming thousands of aircrew. On 23 May 1943, hundreds of Canadian airmen were staying at the Metropole Hotel and the Central Hotel was similarly full of Australians. The day after the raid, RAF Station Bournemouth welcomed almost 3,000 new airmen to town.

The Germans knew that if they destroyed aircraft those planes could be replaced, but if they killed aircrew it would take longer to train replacements,’ explains Mrs Beleznay, whose book Incident 48: Raid on a South Coast Town tells the full story of that terrible day.

By far the greatest devastation at that end of town was wrought on the Metropole Hotel. From Christchurch Road it appeared almost untouched, but the imposing Victorian façade on Holdenhurst Road had been almost completely removed by a single bomb that entered the building about two floors up and exploded on contact with the steel and concrete staircase.

Among many acts of bravery that day, 76-year-old David Gear, the boiler-room stoker who had worked at the Metropole for 25 years before his retirement and returned for the duration of the war, escaped from the building only to go back in to extinguish the boilers and turn off the gas to prevent fire breaking out. He was later awarded a Certificate for gallantry by the Kings Order from Winston Churchill.

To view Our / Building, we are at 3 Lansdowne Crescent, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 1RX

 

 

 

 

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Buy to Let buyers face higher Stamp Duty

2015-11-25 18:01:52

Buy to Let Landlords and people buying second homes, announced today by George Osborne, will pay more in Stamp Duty Tax. 

From April 2016, those in England and Wales will have to pay a 3% surcharge on each Stamp Duty bracket.

The stamp duty surcharge will lift each band by 3%. That means that for properties worth between £0 to £125,000 will pay 3%. £125,001 to £250,000, where the stamp duty is 2%, buy-to-let landlords will now pay 5%. £250,001 to £925,000 will be 8%. £925,001 to £1.5m will be 13% and over £1.5m will be 15%.

George Osborne thinks the new surcharge will raise £1bn for the Treasury by 2021, except, I think it will have the opposite effect. This will undoubtedly put off would be Landlords and existing Landlords from buying further. These Landlords pay tax on the rental income and I personally believe the new levels of Stamp duty will be offset from the income tax lost from rental incomes. I’m not an economical adviser but this is surely common sense.

It sounds like a last minute knee jerk reaction to try and make up the gain required in revenue.

A fluid housing market is important due to a homeowner or buy to let investor, when completing the sale, instructs electricians, plumbers, kitchens and bathrooms, furniture – most of the economy is built around a moving property market.

However, whilst it might “choke off” investment in rented properties, its good news for homeowners and first time buyers who will have a competitive head start to buying their main residence against buy to let landlords.

.                                                 First Home   /   Buy to let/second property

Purchase Price £100,000 –       Zero                        £3,000

Purchase Price £125,000 –        Zero                       £3,750

Purchase Price £150,000 –        £500                      £5,000

Purchase Price £175,000 –        £1,000                    £6,250

Purchase Price £200,000 –      £1,500                     £7,500

Purchase Price £250,000 –       £2,500                    £10,000

Purchase Price £300,000 –      £5,000                    £14,000

Purchase Price £400,000 –       £10,000                 £22,000

Purchase Price £500,000 –       £15,000                  £30,000

Purchase Price £750,000 –       £27,500                  £50,000

Purchase Price £1m –                 £43,750                   £73,750

James Scollard – Clifftons Estate & Letting Agents – 01202 789699

 

 

 

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Budget 2015, Mortgage Interest relief changes for buy to let Landlords

2015-09-11 16:28:45

Following George Osborne’s announcement at the proposed changes, we have received a number of calls from Landlords discussing the changes.
First of all, don’t panic, the changes mainly effect the high rate taxpayers.
The changes proposed are to take effect 2020/2021 (with tapered introduction between). So, lets have a look at the Maths. For the sake of arithmetic and ease, we’ll assume the personal tax allowance is £12,000, the basic rate band is £38,000 and higher rate band is £50,000.

Example 1. Mr S, earns a salary of £25,000.
Rental Income received £15,000 (after other rental expenses), Interest on mortgage £9,000. Net profit £6,000.
Under Current Rules, Salary £25,000, taxable rental profit £6,000 = £31,000
Tax @ 0% (£12,000) = £0.00
Tax @ 20% (£19,000) = £3,800
Total Tax £3,800.00

Under New Rules, Salary £25,000, taxable rental profit £15,000 = £40,000
Tax @ 0% (£12,000) = £0.00
Tax @ 20% (28,000) = £5,600
Less tax relief on mortgage interest, £9,000 @ 20% = – £1,800
Total Tax £3,800.00

So, in example one, the tax payable is the same.

Example 2. Mrs R, earns a salary £75,000.
Rental Income received £15,000, Interest on mortgage £9,000, Net Profit £6,000.

Under current rules, Salary £75,000, taxable rental profit £6,000 = £81,000
Tax @0% (£12,000) = £0.00
Tax @ 20% (£38,000) = £7,600
Tax @ 40% (31,000) = £12,400
Total Tax £20,000

Without buy to let (Tax @ 40% £25,000) = £10,000 = Total tax to pay £17,600

Therefore, having the buy to let property, the extra tax is to pay is = £2,400

Under new rules, Salary £75,000, taxable rental profit £15,000 = £90,000
Tax @0% (£12,000) = £0.00
Tax @ 20% (£38,000) = £7,600
Tax @ 40% (40,000) = £16,000
Less tax relief on mortgage interest, £9,000 @ 20% = -£1,800
Total Tax £21,800

So, in example two, the tax payable is £1,800 more.

Without buy to let ([email protected]% £25,000) = £10,000 = Total tax to pay £17,600

Therefore, having the buy to let property, extra tax to pay is = £4,200 tax to pay. It begs the question, making £6,000 and paying £4,200 in tax, which is an effective rate of 70% tax.

Example 3. Mrs J earns £43,000 and he might think he will be unaffected by the new rules because he is under the higher rate tax band of £50,000 but as the example below shows, they will be caught.

Rental Income received £15,000, Interest on mortgage £9,000, Net Profit £6,000.

Under current rules, Salary £43,000, taxable rental profit £6,000 = £49,000
Tax @0% (£12,000) = £0.00
Tax @ 20% (£37,000) = £7,400
Total Tax £7,400

Under New Rules, Salary £43,000, taxable rental profit £15,000 = £58,000
Tax @ 0% (£12,000) = £0.00
Tax @ 20% (38,000) = £7,600
Tax @ 40% (8,000) = £3,200
Less tax relief on mortgage interest, £9,000 @ 20% = – £1,800
Total Tax £9,000.00

Mrs J will have to pay an additional £1,600 in tax. (As her rental profit before tax deduction is £58,000).

What should buy to let investors do? If you are a higher rate tax, it’s worth considering buying the property in a limited company. This way it would attract corporation tax (circ. 18%). However, this brings about further issues in a company obtaining a finance which will be classed as commercial.

As always, the above is guidance and we advise all clients to take their own tax advice as we are not tax experts and do not know the details of clients tax affairs.

If you have a portfolio or looking to rent a property, please contact Clifftons letting agents in Bournemouth for further details. #Landlords #Bournemouth #Letting Agents #clifftons

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Clifftons have been voted 7th best student letting agent in Bournemouth (Out of 34 Student letting agents

2015-06-10 16:37:28

Room for Improvement, Clifftons have been voted 7th best student letting agent in Bournemouth (Out of 34 Student letting agents). Not too bad but room to improve. https://movem.co.uk/author/clifftons/

The Student market is a very small part of our business, however, we are pleased the Students at Bournemouth University have voted Clifftons in the top 10 Letting Agents, although, we are going to work on improving to achieve number one.

If your looking for a Student House in Bournemouth – Make Clifftons your first call.

 

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OnTheMarket Property Portal

2015-03-30 21:00:00

OnTheMarket.com – Home of the Independent Estate and Letting Agents

OnTheMarket is the major new property website where Clifftons is listing all of its properties – has announced its membership has grown to more than 5,000 contracted estate and letting agent offices.

OnTheMarket.com launched on January 26 to rival Rightmove and Zoopla and features hundreds of thousands of properties for sale and to rent at all price points across the UK.

The member offices, from over 2,500 agent firms, have moved their properties and their substantial advertising spends from other property websites to OnTheMarket.com.

More and more of its member agents are already advertising their new-to-market properties exclusively at OnTheMarket.com at least 48 hours in advance of displaying them on any other property portal. OnTheMarket.com has already become a ‘must-view’ website with a unique set of properties because many of the properties on its website cannot be found anywhere else.
After just six weeks from its launch, OnTheMarket.com had already had over two million unique visitors to the website.

OnTheMarket.com is a mutual organisation without the requirement to feed dividends to external shareholders. It is focused solely on providing an outstanding service for property searchers, estate and letting agents and their vendor and landlord clients. The board includes senior representatives of Chestertons, Douglas & Gordon, Glentree Estates, Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, Knight Frank, Rook Matthews Sayer, Savills, Spicerhaart and Strutt & Parker, all of whom are advertising all their properties at OnTheMarket.com.

OnTheMarket.com member agents commit to advertise their properties on no more than one other portal. In practice, this means in most cases removing their properties from either Rightmove or Zoopla. Around 90 per cent of OnTheMarket.com’s members have chosen to remove their properties from Zoopla and remain with Rightmove. In a recent report, Morgan Stanley said it estimated Zoopla had lost 3,500 agents.

The property search at OnTheMarket.com is slick, simple, fast and state-of-the-art, compatible with the latest technologies. The website adapts seamlessly to fit the screen of any device being used to view it. There is no clutter from irritating and distracting third party adverts, nor any spam email.

Every property at OnTheMarket.com is marketed by a locally-based estate or letting agent because OnTheMarket.com knows the majority of the public recognises the benefits of having a local professional agent who can manage the sales or lettings process on their behalf.

James Scollard, Proprietor at Clifftons comments: “It is fantastic news that OnTheMarket.com has passed the 5,000 office milestone.It is remarkable what has been achieved so far but this is only the beginning. OnTheMarket.com will continue to grow in size and momentum because of its clean, fresh and fast consumer search experience. Clifftons is proud to be part of this property portal phenomenon.”

Ian Springett, Chief Executive of OnTheMarket.com, said: “OnTheMarket.com hit the ground running and is now an essential destination for anyone seriously in the market for residential property. We have come a long way in just a few weeks and, with more than 800 new member offices already added in 2015, we are more confident than ever that we will replace Zoopla as the number two player in the market over the coming year.”

To have your property listed On The Market … call Clifftons today.

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Pension Freedom and prospective landlords Bournemouth April 2015

2015-01-31 21:06:54

Pensions are changing with Pension freedom this April 2015, following the announcement by the Chancellor in last year’s budget. Individuals will no longer be forced to take out an annuity but the big question is: where or what are people going to do with this new freedom.

Having the Freedom, comes responsibility for your finances.

A recent survey of 2,000 people, 28% are unsure what to do, 26% will opt to stay invested in their pension plan taking the annuity, 17% will withdraw their pension (with 9% investing to generate an income, 8% will put in a cash savings account), 6% will use all or part of their pension to clear debt or spend elsewhere, whilst 3% will use their pension to treat themselves.

The baby bloomers, aged 55 – 74, are some of the least prepared for their retirement in Europe. Outside of a pension, 66% of their savings are in cash and taking into account inflation would have seen the value of their savings eroded in the last five years from £1000 down to £853.

81% say that they do not know how to get the best income generating investments. 40% have not started to save specifically for retirement despite 67% knowing the state pension will be insufficient to meet their requirement income needs. 59% are concerned they will not live comfortably in retirement.

To generate an income of £23,000 per annum, the majority believe they would need a pot of £304,000, in fact it would be £440,600.

The AVERAGE life expectancy for women, now aged 65 years old, in the UK is 86 years old and for men its 83 years old. It’s important to think about to sustain the income through a much longer retirement than previous generations. To think about short term savers becoming long term investors. It’s a worry when 4 in 10 baby boomers (55yrs to 74 years) haven’t yet started to save for retirement.

Here is some top tips:

1. Understand the pension changes, the tax liabilities you could incur and take the free retirement advice offered by the government

2. Decide what minimum annual income you can live on in retirement

3. Make a financial plan and regularly review your retirement savings approach

4. If you have not yet retired, think ‘Long-term’ about your investments and make longevity your friend

In terms of property investment, with interest rates for savers still paltry, many older and perhaps savvy retirees will turn to property as their chosen investment. Most pensioner investors will be looking for an agent to manage their investment acquisition and there is no better choice than myself. Ha ha. It’s true though, my number is 01202 789699 or [email protected]

Factors to consider with buy to let properties (I have written another detailed page buy to let tips which would be useful to read. Buy to Let Tips

Buy to Let does not require a large capital outlay as long as you do not opt of the most expensive properties from the outset. The rental return looks generous compared to the current rates on pension annuities and savings. Buy to Let also has the added advantage to be able to access income whenever you want. There is a chance of Capital Growth over the long term. It’s quite straight forward to sell your buy to let property if you change your mind about it.

The tax implications are income tax payable on the profits made, Capital Gains Tax on any gains. However, everyone has an annual tax-free allowance of £10,000 which can be doubled if the property is bought with a partner. Upon your death, there may be inheritance tax to pay.

In conclusion

Cashing in a pension and investing it in property represents a potentially lucrative option to provide a source of income as a pension and as a result may cause a spike in activity and property market / property prices both nationally and in Bournemouth.

I don’t think it’s the answer though. I think most people would be encouraged to save more throughout their life, if the government provided a stable pensions system that is not changed by progressive political parties. It’s vital a stable and trusted framework is provided to everyone in the UK, to reduce the worry, concerns and misery caused to so many by not planning or understanding the systems or changes.

Written by James Scollard, Proprietor of Clifftons Estate Agents

Over twenty years experience in property, having my own practice for ten years, fully qualified with industry recognised exams including ARLA lettings qualifications, NFOPP residential sales qualifications, DEA Domestic Energy Assessor qualifications through NAEA, Chairman for the Bournemouth & District Association of Estate Agents in 2007 and all round nice guy, here to help when I can.

This article is a matter of opinion and I do not offer individual investment advice and take no responsibility for any losses that may be caused by this article. Property prices and the property market can go up as well as down. I am not a pension advisor and have no qualifications in this field. It’s important to seek Independent professional advice with your pension.

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Landlords … take note .. going green

2015-01-21 21:13:12

James Scollard, Founder at CLIFFTONS in Bournemouth comments, Energy Performance Certificates have been relatively ignored by the masses but this is set to change. From 2016, any tenant or their representative asking for their Landlords consent to make reasonable energy improvements cannot be refused. (Reasonable improvements for properties are outlined in Green Deal Assessments). From 2018, the worst performing rental properties with ratings F and G, will be banned from letting their property through a Minimum Energy Performance Standard, (MEPS). One in ten homes currently fit into bands ‘F’ and ‘G’ which means these changes will effect circ. 380,000 homes nationwide.

The private rented sector has a comparatively poor record in energy efficiency and we welcome the new rules which will help to reduce fuel poverty in the UK. The sector has 5.8% of ‘G’ rated properties compared to 3.4% in owner occupied homes.

A warmer environment and lower bills for tenants would help retain tenants for longer.

Remember – The Green Deal. Under the Green Deal, landlords can make energy efficient improvements without having to pay all the costs upfront, with tenants repaying the cost of the measures through their energy bill savings. Where the tenant pays the electric bill, the landlord must seek permission from them to take out Green Deal and will need to alert new tenants.

There is a loop hole for HMO properties being excluded from MEPS. However, there is a bill going through Parliament to cover this loophole.

If you are thinking of letting a property in Bournemouth, Call CLIFFTONS today on 01202 789699.

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Stamp Duty Changes 2014 / 2015

2014-12-04 21:19:02

Stamp duty has been Reduced – (if below £937,500)

Under the old rules, you would have paid tax at a single rate on the entire property price. Now you will only pay the rate of tax on the part of the property price within each tax band.

Under the old rules if you bought a house for £185,000, you would have had to pay 1% tax on the full amount – a total of £1,850. Under the new rules, for the same property you’ll pay nothing on the first £125,000 and 2% on the remaining £60,000. This works out as £1,200, a saving of £650.

Example properties

£125,000 – No stamp duty – Nil
£185,000, Reduced Stamp Duty, New Rate 0.7%, Saving £650.00
£275,000 – Reduced Stamp Duty, New Rate 1.4%, Saving £4,500.00
£510,000 – Reduced Stamp Duty, New Rate 3.0%, Saving £4,900.00
£937,500 – No change in stamp duty, New Rate 4.0%, No Change
£2,100,000 – Stamp duty increase, New Rate 7.9%, Increase £18,750

Purchase Price of Property, Rates Applied only on amount within tax band
0 – 125,000 ……………………………………0%
125,001 – 250,000 …………………………..2%
250,001 – 925,000 …………………………..5%
925,001 – 1,500,000 ………………………..10%
1,500,001 and over ………………………….12%

We are obviously all very pleased, making it cheaper and easier for people to buy property up to £937,500.

George Osborne understands the property market is crucial to having a buoyant economy. When someone buys a property, they normally buy new furniture, new kitchen, new bathroom and all the associated trades benefit, electricians, plumbers, retail shops etc. Good news for the British housing market, good news for the UK economy.

Thinking of Selling in Bournemouth, contact Clifftons Estate Agents for a free valuation.

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Why? NO to online estate agents

2014-10-24 21:43:27

Online Estate Agents?

Firstly, and the most obvious, In every town across the UK, there are high street Estate Agencies. Great protection for consumers, they know who they are dealing with and where to go locally with problems, issues, concerns and complaints.

Recently, some people have become confused whether they are dealing with a reputable high street agency or a person who is operating from their bedroom, who has never been an estate agent or valued a single property in their life.

People, dealing with their biggest asset want to know they are dealing with an established, local and professional firm. They want the personal service, attention to detail and individuality required, specific to their personal circumstances.

There was a time, cost cutting to the bone, meant everything resulting in call centers in India and other parts of the world adding to the stress of returning a DVD for example. If the industry goes online, cutting fees, so I have someone in India trying to sell my house or a person operating from their back bedroom with little reputation. Personally, I would hate this. The high street agencies are extremely competitive. The majority of online agencies are gone within one year. So fee cutting but at what cost?

The benefits of a high street agency to the consumer? I know who I am dealing with. I want the reassurance I am dealing with someone who has experience, who is professional, who can conduct themselves appropriately, who is established and knowing 20%, one fifth, of our enquiries are generated from our office locations producing more buyers and tenants. A full service, not a part service.

The online agents don’t do anything apart from listing a property and creating an advert. A REACTIVE service. A real agent will speak to all their staff being PROACTIVE in calling prospective buyers, going through their database, bulk emailing buyers, texting buyers and actually selling the property, not waiting for someone to call. There is a big difference.

I agree, it’s not for everyone. Some people want to save five hundred pounds, for example and take the risk of using a new, recently opened agency in a town (who has no database of waiting buyers and tenants) not established and take a risk, but that’s the consumer’s choice. Fortunately, normally they don’t pay a penny until sold but now, people are paying £600, losing this because they still need to go to a real Estate Agent to sell their property.

For years estate agents have wanted regulation and industry exams / licensing. The Government ignored the industry, like the failed Home Information Packs they forced on consumers. For years, Stamp duty goes from 1% to 3%, with no 2%? There is no logic to be found here. Its been up to the industry to protect the consumer and build up the reputation of the industry.

Secondly, and more importantly.

Yesterday I reviewed a new online agency, a typical online agency opening within the last couple of years. On the website, it states, ‘Find out what your home is really worth’? I enter my postcode and a detailed report is sent to my email. This morning at 8.53am, I receive a phone call from the franchisor who has bought the Bournemouth area territory, who has never been an agent before, never professionally valued a property in his life. Call me and say, the valuation has come out at £263,000, slightly higher than Zoopla but having carried out research feels the property is worth £11,000 more. The email was sent this morning stating a valuation at £273,000.

I can see some of the data is being produced by Hometrack. (Sorry I have picked on this particular online agency, I do not know the company or the individual, apart from the fact I know he has no experience). However, having been an agent for over twenty years, I can tell you my house is worth £375,000.

This is an eye watering one hundred thousand pounds out. Why is this type of valuation so out and frankly dangerous? I bought the property as a three bedroom with no parking and no kitchen. I have extended the property to be a four double bedroom, three luxury bathrooms, installed gas central heating and double glazing, refurbished the house and managed to make off road parking for two cars.

Incredibly, this individual told me my house is worth £11,000 (which is quite specific and an exact amount) more than the online valuation and further produced a written report confirmed the valuation, without even seeing my house.

Its only a matter of time before people are badly ripped off or losing tens of thousands (in my case, a hundred thousand pounds) through negligence. The opportunity to rip people off has increased and I’m sure the media with report a headline, ‘Estate Agent rips off …’ rather than ‘Online Estate Agent rips off’

In relation to property portal valuations, their online valuation is making my job harder. Providing a valuation cannot be taken so blaze and lightly. This is a very big responsibility, I panic when I think I’ve lost someone a thousand pound, let alone 100,000 or ten thousand. In any industry, someone with a little knowledge is dangerous, you just know, big and dangerous mistakes will be made.
Here are some real life examples. Remember, tens of thousands of pounds are life changing amounts of money.

A house is worth £210,000, after 14 weeks on the market it finally sells. The brother of the owner goes on Zoopla and tells the sister, she is under selling and the house is £250,000 according to Zoopla and pulls out of the sale. It’s a ridiculous price and the lady has to move, she has to sell. What a waste of everyone’s time, it’s a 20% difference. Its still not sold and the price in coming back down.
Similarly, I valued a property at £164,950, an online agent valued at £150,000 to £155,000. Which I completely understand because no one had sold or moved home on the road for over two years, so the comparable properties were low. I sold this house for £164,000, the surveyor down valued to £155,000. However, the seller paying me £2,061+ Vat, used by experience, expertise and professionalism to finally sell the property for £162,000. I paid for myself over and over again. The owner came away with a price the property is worth in today market.

The thought of an online agent working from his bedroom, giving advice without knowledge, simply guessing directly to consumers, is a very scary and dangerous reality. I would say online agents can still use Rightmove and Zoopla and the consumers can still use Rightmove and Zoopla but only Independent high street Estate Agents can use OnTheMarket.com.

So, in conclusion, its nothing new, even before the internet people tried to sell through private newspaper adverts. As an Estate Agents /Marketing Agents, I spend well over £8,000 a month in marketing and generating hundreds, if not thousands of enquiries every month.

More Enquiries = More Viewings = More offers = Sells for the BEST PRICE for clients.

Clifftons Estate Agents Tel: 01202 789699.

 

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Launching OnTheMarket Property Portal

2014-10-15 21:47:21

OnTheMarket – Home of the Independent Estate Agents

On The Market is due to launch in January 2015 and CLIFFTONS are pleased to announce we have signed up with this new and exciting property portal.

Rightmove and Zoopla are monopolising the market, increasing fees to Estate & Letting Agents, which turn have to passed on to the customer. By reducing overheads this will directly result in agents becoming even more competitive within the UK market and these cost savings can be passed to customers.

As of October 2014, On The Market has attracted over 4,000 offices across the UK. It is sure to be a big player within the property markets, both locally and Nationally.

If you are thinking of selling or letting your property within the Bournemouth area and want to advertise your property on this new portal, contact Clifftons today on 01202 789699.

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The future of Zoopla Property Group & Rightmove unpredictable

2014-09-29 22:00:01

Since the conception of Rightmove in 2000, Rightmove has grown to become the dominant force within the world of online property. Over the past five years,  Zoopla  have taken over smaller competitors to become a large property portal.

Rightmove was set up by the corporate agents, Halifax, Connells, Countrywide and Royal & sun Alliance in 2000, by 2004, Rightmove had 6,000 members, which is 50% of UK Estate Agents, floating on the Stock market in 2006. Today having a capitalisation of circ. £2.1 bn.

Zoopla similarly, floated on the stock market in June 2014. However, the issue is the fees to its customers, the Estate & Letting Agents having quadruped. Given the income to Rightmove is £140 million, the running of the business only costs £36 million per annum, therefore, £102 million profit goes to shareholders.

Similarly, Zoopla costs £35.5 million to run, generating an income of £65 million, meaning £29.5 million to shareholders and a capitalisation of £919m.

As a result, Estate & letting agents have to pass these operating costs to their customers, keeping fees higher than they need to be. In addition, rather than making the portal more consumer friendly and improving the site for users, they are more interested in shareholders and increasing their profits year on year.

From January 2015, a new property portal is to be Launched ‘On the Market’, which is a co-operative and not for profit business OnTheMarket. By September 2014, they have over 4,000 offices signed up for launch on January 2015.

One of the interested parts to this new portal is not the fact, the 4,000 offices have signed up for a five year contract, it’s the fact, a stipulation of the contract is to drop either Rightmove or Zoopla Property Group and transferring the listing fees to ‘On the Market’.

There are approximately 12,000 physical estate agent branches in the UK with 4,000 joining On the Market and approximately 20 new branches joining ‘On the Market’ per day. I have no doubt the share price for both Rightmove and Zoopla Property Group will drop considerably throughout 2015 as well as the income for both businesses.

EDITED –

I’m very pleased to report, after writing this article, having only bought sold shares once before, I decided to short the Zoopla stock, buying at 220p per share and selling out at 172p per share, making circ £12,000 profit. Very pleased and chuffed with myself.

 

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Shortage of Bungalows

2014-07-16 22:10:33

Bungalows

Sixty-four per cent of estate agents across the South West are experiencing a shortage in the number of bungalows currently available for sale. This is followed by semi-detached properties, with 60% of estate agents believing there is a deficit.

The research, which was conducted by CLIFFTONS, in conjunction with Move with Us also found there is a shortage of two and three bedroom properties in the local market.

The research also showed that three bedroom semi-detached properties have sold the best in the last six months in the local area. Forty-four per cent of agents agreed semi-detached were the most sought-after properties.

James Scollard, Proprietor of CLIFFTONS commented: “The age of the first time buyer has been increasing over the years and with the 5% deposit brought about by the Help to Buy scheme, many local home buyers in the South West are now opting to purchase three bedroom properties as their first home. They’re skipping the first rung of the property ladder, forgoing the starter home and moving straight into a property that they can grow into. Bungalows are as popular as ever popular with downsizers and have also increased in popularity with first time buyers and second steppers, making them more sought after in the current market.”

The research was conducted by Move with Us, the UK’s largest network of independent estate agents, with over 1,100 branches Nationwide.

Clifftons Estate agents are the exclusive member for the Bournemouth Town Centre Area, if your looking to instruct an Independent Estate Agent with access to the National marketplace, then call Clifftons today.

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Granny Annex receive tax Break

2013-12-06 22:23:33

From April 2014, Properties that have built annexes for family members to live in will get 50pc off their council tax bills from next April.

“The Government will implement a national Council Tax discount of 50% for property annexes from April 2014. This will support extended families living together, for example with children saving for a new home or elderly parents,” said a spokesman for the Treasury.

The Treasury said households will save an average of £485 a year on an average combined council tax bill of £2,427.

The tax break was announced during yesterday’s Autumn Statement, which will apply to all homes in the United Kingdom.

The Treasury estimates 24,150 homes in England alone have built “granny flats” to help care for elderly relatives. They are also increasingly being built for young adult children, who cannot afford to get on to the property ladder.

Under existing rules “granny flats” are regarded as separate dwellings and are liable to be charged full rates of council tax by local authorities. The Treasury said this unfairly penalises extended families living together, which is why they have introduced the tax break. The spokesman added the tax break could incentivise other households to build extensions for family members.

Ministers are also reviewing legislation to remove red tape that can make it more difficult for home owners to adapt properties.

At present, garage conversions are hit with a ‘community infrastructure levy’, hitting homeowners with a bill of several hundred pounds for building on their property. Ministers are seeking to remove this ‘stealth tax’, which is increasingly being introduced by town halls.

James Scollard at Clifftons comments ‘I’ve always thought this additional council tax was unfair if the annex is being used by family members. In fact is should be scrapped. However, people should pay full tax if its rented out.’

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Help to Buy Scheme

2013-10-09 22:30:54

Help to buy Scheme 5% Deposit

The much publicised ‘Help to Buy Scheme’ has arrived.

What exactly is it?

The Help to Buy scheme is designed to help people who can afford to have a mortgage but have not been able to afford to save thousands for a deposit. The Help to Buy gives them a life changing opportunity, to buy a property that previously they have not been able to do.

The scheme is open to Home Movers AND First time buyers. (Even if you have moved home five times, you can still use this scheme or currently have a property and looking to sell and buy).

The scheme allows you to buy a property with a 5% deposit. 15% of the loan will be interest free for the first five years of owning your home. In the 6th year, the interest will be 1.75% of the 15% part of the loan.

Mortgage lenders have begun to unveil mortgages which they will offer under the new Help-to-Buy scheme. Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and Halifax will start taking applications this week; with HSBC, Aldermore and Virgin Money joining later this year/ early 2014.

Importantly, it’s NOT just first time buyers, the mortgages will be available for both first time buyers and home movers looking to buy a property. The only restrictions (currently) are: Maximum property value is £600,000, Property must not be a shared ownership or shared equity purchase, Property cannot be a second home, Property cannot be rented out (buy-to-let).
With the purchaser only needing a 5% deposit and the Government’s loan guarantee this means they can access an 80% mortgage, which opens the door to more competitive lending rates and the dream of buying your own home.

Some critics (Including Labour, which introduced the failed Home Information Packs) say this scheme could create a housing bubble in the UK. Personally, I think this is utter rubbish. Northern Rock were offering 125% mortgages meaning you could obtain a mortgage for £150,000 and they would give you another £30,000 to go on holiday, buy a car etc etc, it was credit heaven, care free, easily available credit on tap. We are in a very different place today. In addition, there will be no interest only mortgages or offset mortgages. My opinion, if you can afford to take up the scheme and are accepted by the lenders, jump in with both feet. It will be cheaper than renting.

Not all mortgage seekers will be able to sign up, and those who do, will still have to go through “rigorous” affordability checks by their lender.

Lenders can sign up to the Help to Buy scheme and pay a fee to the government, which will provide a seven-year taxpayer guarantee covering 15% of the loan value. That guarantee can be called in if the borrower defaults. It is available for properties sold for up to £600,000 in the UK. The scheme is expected to continue for three years.

At CLIFFTONS, appointments are now available … Tel: 01202 789699

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Mortgage Payments represent 27% of average income, compared to 48% in 2007

2013-08-31 22:39:17

After a number of years in a turbulent economic climate, we are starting to see signs of recovery in the housing and mortgage market.

According to figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, total mortgage lending in July this year has increased by 29% compared to the same period last year. This is great news, showing signs that the market is strengthening.

One particular area which has seen large growth is mortgage loans to first time buyers. This has reached a 5 and a half year high this year, hitting 25,000 mortgages to those buying their first home in May. This was a 42% increase on the year before.

As the market continues to grow, estate agents and lettings agents are extremely busy. Mortgages currently have competitive interest rates, so if you are looking to buy a new home or invest in another buy-to-let property, you could save money on their mortgage payments. A recent survey from Halifax has shown that mortgage repayments are the most affordable they have been for 14 years. Mortgage payments now represent 27% of the average income compared to 48% in 2007.

The number of mortgage products available has also increased to over 10,000 for the first time in 5 years. This means there is much more choice.

We can take the hassle out of finding a mortgage and can help find the best deal for you. We are able to provide a full advice service and guide you through the application process. There are many things to take into consideration when taking out a mortgage and thankfully we offer a full service, so please do not hesitate to contact us with any new enquiries. We will be happy to help.

Contact CLIFFTONS today on 01202 789699.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

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Market Movements in Sales and Letting – Up or Down Jan 2013 – June 2013

2013-08-03 22:54:28

CLIFFTONS belong to one of the largest networks of Independent Estate Agents in the UK with over 1,100 branches, actively working with large corporate business, companies, banks, part exchange, solicitors and new homes builders, trusted in the knowledge, CLIFFTONS adhere to the highest standards within the property industry.

As such, this allows us to see intimate data across the UK and in the South West.

SALES – A positive outlook with prices at a record high and selling times at 92 days.

The South West saw a decrease in new listings in June when compared to March. By June however 31% more properties were coming to the market than January 2013. It appears the market is finding a new level after new listing numbers increased 2013.

The Average asking price rose markedly each month up to June when at £262,727, prices were the highest on record, increasing £9,203 in just six months and 2.64% in Q2.

The average number of days required to sell property in the South West fell by 16 days, or 24.59% through Q2, ending at just 92 days. Considering against asking prices and a higher number of listings, this suggest a positive outlook for the region.

LETTINGS – Advertised rents up compared to this time last year. Average rent £790pcm.

The steady growth peaked in December 2012 at the high, average £799pcm and have dropped through 2013 to £790pcm, £9 but up from this time last year at £775pcm.

If you are thinking of Selling or Letting properties, call CLIFFTONS today for a free valuation.

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Bring Back Bungalows

2013-06-23 23:14:37

Snobs hate them, no one builds them anymore. Yet one in three of us, think they are the best homes of all.

The British in their modest, understated way, would prefer to live in a bungalow more than any other type of building. Survey after survey shows that the bungalow always comes out on top. ‘The Bungalow’ remains the third most popular name for our home, after ‘The Cottage’ and ‘Rose Cottage’.

Older people are particularly keen on them, they are much easier to clean, more convenient for security measures, easier to get in and out and of course without all those stairs to negotiate.

Yet no one seems to be catering for the bungalow lovers. In 2009, only 300 bungalows were built out of 100,000 new properties in the UK and many more were demolished. Just 2% of our housing stock in taken up with bungalows, even though 30% are longing to live in one.

Part of the issue is Planning policy. The coalition, which is desperate to expand the number of homes being built, insists new development needs to be at least 30 houses per hectare. Bungalows spreading horizontally, eat up all the space.

Our taste for the bungalow began in the 17th century, when British expats in India fell for the local one – storey thatched houses, built in the Bengali style – thus the name bungalow, derived from the Hindi word ‘bangla’, meaning Bengali. These banglas also had verandahs, itself another Hindi word, meaning balustrade or balcony.

The first British bungalows were built at Westgate-on-Sea and Birchington, both on the Kent coast in 1869. They soon became a popular form of seaside architecture all around the coast, not least because they are less likely to block a sea view but less likely to block the neighbours light.

Though the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the fashion for bungalows took off. In 1922 house buyers were snapping up The Daily Mail Bungalow book, a collection of the very best designs from that years Architects competition.

The very popularity of the bungalow in the 1940s gave rise to the snobbish dislike for them. As is so often the case in our class obsessed country, things that were popular among the lower-middle class were attacked by their supposed social superiors. That snobbery lives on in the current opposition and planning policy by the government towards bungalows. The new Policy Exchange report suggested that people should live now they would like to live, by removing planning powers from local councils and instead letting local homeowners vote on new developments. Would they vote for more tower blocks packed with tiny flats or their favourite sort of building instead … The bungalow.

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Rental Properties in Bournemouth with Data

2013-04-20 00:33:22

The private rental sector looks set for growth in the medium term, with both private and institutional landlords attracted by improving yields and strong demand.

However, landlords are finding very little market data is available to help make informed investment decisions and/or fully evaluate the performance of their property portfolios.

CLIFFTONS (exclusively to central Bournemouth) belong to one of the largest networks within the UK of Independent Estate & Letting Agents, with over 1,200 branches, giving us the ability to access information and data.

Accurate valuations and ability to understand local market conditions are fundamental to our core business and success within the local area.

The data from the rental index is sourced from 150,000 private and agent listings each week supplied by home.co.uk. The data supplied by our network, is for the first quarter January 2013 to March 2013. Rich data like this ensures the index and information is credible, accurate and a snapshot of the British UK Rental Sector and local rental markets.

The South of England remains much stronger than the rest of the country with a £121 gap between southern and most expensive northern regions. Average rents remain stable. London prices fall, stabilising at around £2,182 per month by the end of March. Rents in East Anglia and Scotland increase steadily for a second quarter. Rents in North East, East midlands, London and Wales return to 2012 levels.

In the South West, rents grew steadily throughout April 2012 to January 2013, from an average of £764pcm to the height in January 2013 of £812pcm, before falling back from January 2013 to March 2013 to £788pcm.

Rents fell back by 2% in February due to a large increase in housing supply. However, this appears to be a temporary phenomenon which can be attributed to seasonally low demand and slow property turnover in the market. In the long term, rental prices can be expected to increase at a similar rate to 2012, peaking at around £825pcm.

Having such data and understanding the local markets gives CLIFFTONS an advantage over our competitors, reacting faster and ensuring our clients receive the best advice possible, up to date rental amounts and low void periods.

For a free landlords brochure or free valuation, please contact CLIFFTONS in Bournemouth town centre on 01202 789699 or CLIFFTONS in Winton on 01202 512520.

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