Living in London has been busy painting the town pink in the lead up to its 15th Anniversary, and it’s finally here! Happy Birthday to us; proud to be celebrating 15 years in SE16!
2016 was a very busy year for us; we opened a new branch at Marine Wharf and won several awards, including ‘Best Estate Agent in SE16’ for the second year running in the allAgents Customer Experience Awards and ‘Best Independent Letting Agent in London’ in the Real Estate & Property Awards.
Part of a company-wide growth plan, expanding to Marine Wharf allowed us to take on more staff and currently acts as a customer service ‘hub’ for our clients, housing our property management, accounting and marketing teams.
“2016 was a year of growth and streamlining for Living in London,” says Ben Miller, Director at Living in London. “Our clients have come to expect a certain level of service which we plan to continue delivering in our 15th year, as well as improving internal processes and boosting our marketing efforts.”
Taking on a new Marketing Manager and strategy, we’ve successfully boosted our online presence through social media and email marketing; delivering useful content to clients, including property insights, tips and area news, and running regular giveaways and competitions.
With an aim to become more involved in the community for our 15th Anniversary, we recently raised money for Save the Children UK and ran a Christmas giveaway, providing exclusive local offers to our clients. Continuing to work closely with local businesses, we hope to deliver a loyalty card for our clients this year, to give them access to exclusive deals and offers in the area all year round.
“We’ve developed strong relationships in SE16 over the last 15 years and now it’s time to give something back to our clients,” says Adam Miller, Director at Living in London. “We’re excited to be continuing and improving on the work we started last year. We want to go a step further and be able to offer our clients regular local offers and simultaneously support businesses in SE16.”
Living in London is also offering customers a fantastic reward for recommendations. If you’ve dealt with Living in London and experienced fantastic service, recommend us to your landlord, friends, family, neighbour, doctor, dentist... anyone! The more the merrier.
For each and every one, we'll give you £500 vouchers of your choice if they sell their property through us, or if they let with us, we'll send you £250 in vouchers!
Simply click here and fill in the form: http://living-london.net/recommendus
Look out for updates on the Living in London loyalty card and join our mailing list to be the first to receive tips, offers and giveaways.
If you’re considering listing your house on the market with a low-cost, upfront fee online estate agent, you may want to think again.
As an independent agency operating in South East London, we know there are a number of advantages to using a traditional high street firm over an online or upfront fee one.
Now, though, this has been backed up further by research from The Advisory – which offers free, independent and expert advice to house sellers.
Its findings revealed that high street estate agents achieve an average price of 5% more than online-only agents in around 75% of sales. They also achieve more viewings and offers than their online counterparts.
Why is this?
Online agents are heavily reliant on portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla to find buyers. While portals are an excellent way of generating interest in properties, they are less good at actually getting results.
The research found that, while Rightmove generates approximately 52% of viewings, it produces only 36% of offers and 27% of the best buyers.
By contrast, high street agents generate 48% of viewings, 64% of offers and – in nearly three-quarters of cases – a 5% higher sale price.
That would translate to a loss of £12,500 on a sale of a £250,000 home, according to The Advisory, if an online-only agency was used rather than a traditional one.
Of course, any good traditional agent will also advertise heavily on the major portals, which means sellers won’t lose out in this sense by opting for a high street firm.
Local knowledge and experience
As the research above states, opting to use an online-only agent could lead to fewer viewings and lower than expected offers. By using a local estate agent with branches in areas of high footfall you can increase your chances of getting viewings, attracting serious buyers and receiving offers that properly reflect the true value of your property.
Here at Living in London, we operate two branches - one is inside Canada Water Tube station and one is located at Marine Wharf, a lively new dockside development in Surrey Quays. This not only means we can build good relationships with local buyers, it also means we are fully aware of local trends which could help to get your home sold more quickly.
As we pointed out in previous blog, there are a number of things buyers of property in South East London will be looking out for, and the areas we cover offer these in abundance. Good transport links, a lively social scene, garden space, parking and fast broadband speeds are all likely to feature as must-haves, with good local schools, amenities and green space also likely to be key considerations.
You should employ a multi-pronged marketing strategy – including traditional and online methods – to improve your chances of getting your home sold. It’s also important to remember that every home is different, which is why we offer a tailored approach to our sellers to ensure you get the most from your sale.
Picking the right agent is a crucial part of what is likely to be one of your biggest financial transactions. You need someone you can trust, someone who will go above and beyond to ensure the sale goes through without any hiccups. Partnering with a highly trained team, which offers the best possible customer service, is therefore crucial.
Setting the right asking price
To improve your chances of selling quickly, you need to make sure that your initial asking price is set at the right level. For this to be possible, it’s crucial that you work closely with an experienced estate agent with excellent local knowledge to ensure your home isn’t priced incorrectly. Too high and you risk deterring buyers; too low and you run the risk of selling yourself short.
For more information about getting your home sold in South East London, you can contact Living in London on 020 7231 0002.
You'll also probably be eager to know how much your home could be worth in the current market, which is where our expert valuations can help.
With thousands of estate agents all over the country, it’s hugely encouraging to be recognised and we’re delighted to receive praise for the efforts and hard work that we put into our service.
What is the Best Estate Agent Guide?
The Best Estate Agent Guide aims to identify the UK's exceptional estate and letting agents. It reviews factors like marketing, delivery, customer experience and market share.
All estate agents taking part were monitored over a six-month period, culminating in the analysis of 50,000 mystery shops, 1.5 billion property views and 1.5 million transactions across over 25,000 branches.
As part of the Best Agent Guide Awards, the top 5% of the country's 15,000 agency brands were shortlisted. From this, the best agencies - depending on size - were given awards for their region.
Being named as the Gold winner for sales in the South East means that we are in the top 0.25% of estate agents in the whole country!
This speaks volumes of our enthusiasm to deliver the best possible service for our customers and the dedication of our hard-working team.
Reputation and trust play an important role for consumers when it comes to buying, selling, letting or renting a property and awards help to identify the best agents around. This, in turn, helps customers to make an informed decision and choose to deal with a reliable and trusted estate agency.
With awards helping to shine a light on those offering the best customer service, an award-winning agency can genuinely say that they stand out from the crowd and offer something more than their competitors.
Moreover, awards provide an incentive for agencies to strive to commit to the best possible customer service. Agents that have the chance to win an award will be encouraged to improve their offerings to make the consumer experience fruitful.
Of course, awards aren’t the only deciding factor for consumers, but they act as a useful measure for buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords to take into consideration when choosing an agency to work with.
About Living in London
Created to offer a service by landlords, for landlords, here at Living in London, we provide sales, lettings, property management and investment services from our offices in Canada Water and Marine Wharf.
Our bespoke approach to each client and local expertise has helped us to achieve positive, lasting relationships within our communities.
As well as the recent Gold Estate Agent Guide award, Living in London was voted as the ‘Best Letting Agent 2017’ in the Propertywire Awards and won the ‘New Starter’ category in The Wharf Property Awards. We were also named ‘Best Estate Agent in SE16’ two years in a row as part of the allAgents Customer Experience Awards.
We strive to exceed the expectations of all our clients, whether they’re selling, buying, letting or renting a property with us.
For more information on our services, you can get in touch with us on 020 7231 0002.
We also provide instant online valuations to give you an estimate on your property’s worth in the current market.
We’re thrilled to announce that for the second year in a row, we’ve been voted the Best Estate Agent in SE16 in the allAgents Customer Experience awards.
Based entirely on honest feedback from genuine clients, the allAgents awards are renowned for rewarding estate agents for putting the customer first and going the extra mile to deliver excellent service.
At Living in London, we strive to exceed the expectations of all our clients, whether they’re selling, buying, letting or renting a property with us. It’s an honour to take the Gold award for best estate agent two years in a row and we’re thankful that allAgents gives us recognition for the time and care we provide each client.
We'd like to thank the clients who took the time to leave us such great feedback. We hope to make it a hat-rick next year!
You can see our awards here:
Best Estate Agent in SE16 2016
The accolade was awarded to Living in London following an extensive selection process, during which BUILD’s in-house research team deemed us as a company that delivers outstanding performance on all levels.
“As an independent agency that aims to exceed expectations, we’re truly delighted to have been recognised for our service,” exclaims Adam Miller, Director at Living in London. “We’d like to thank our loyal clients for their ongoing business and support, and we look forward to creating new relationships in and around SE16 in 2017.”
Now in its second year, the 2016 Real Estate & Property Awards celebrates the very best companies and the talented individuals behind them that have helped keep the market moving over the past 12 months.
Nathan Angell, Awards Coordinator, expressed his pride in the award winners: “The real estate and property market is of vital importance to the overall construction market, and as such it is great to be able to turn the spotlight on our deserving winners, and I would like to wish them every success going forward.”
Living in London was recently voted ‘Best Estate Agent in SE16’ for the second year in a row at the allAgents 2016 Customer Experience Awards. Its property consultants also managed to clinch the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards for top agents in SE16 at the allAgents 2016 People Awards.
The award winners can be found here.
Living in London is thrilled to announce it has been awarded the title of ‘Best Lettings Agent 2017’ at the first ever annual Propertywire Awards. The winners were announced at a prestigious awards ceremony on Friday 24th March, hosted at the M by Montcalm Hotel in Shoreditch.
After being successfully nominated and shortlisted, Living in London was awarded the accolade after receiving a whopping 68 votes. Branch Manager Elizabeth Miller and Marketing Manager Stephanie Rady proudly accepted the award at the event.
“As an independent agency that aims to exceed expectations, we’re truly delighted to have been recognised for our service,” exclaims Elizabeth Miller, Branch Manager at Living in London. “We’d like to thank our loyal clients for their ongoing business and support, and we look forward to creating new relationships in and around SE16 in 2017.”
In its first year, the 2017 Propertywire Awards celebrates the very best property companies and the talented individuals behind them that have helped keep the market moving over the past 12 months. With a number of special guest presenters, a champagne reception and networking, the event was truly one for the books.
Stephanie Rady, Marketing Manager at Living in London said: “This year is our 15th Anniversary so the award has come at the perfect time. After recently expanding to a second office at Marine Wharf for our Property Management, Marketing and Accounts teams, it’s fantastic to know that our ‘Customer Service Hub’ has made a positive impact on our clients. 2017 will be a year for improving internal processes, expanding our brand awareness and seeking new ways to support our clients. We look forward to entering more awards in the future.”
Living in London was recently voted ‘Best Independent Letting Agent in London’ and ‘Estate Agent of the Year’ in the BUILD Real Estate and Property Awards, and ‘Best Estate Agent in SE16’ for the second year in a row at the allAgents 2016 Customer Experience Awards. Its property consultants also managed to clinch the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards for top agents in SE16 at the allAgents 2016 People Awards.
The award winners can be found here: http://propertywireawards.com/awards-2017/
To keep on top of property news, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.
With so many changes underway in the lettings industry, it’s easy to see why landlords and investors are nervous for the future. It is now more expensive to buy since the 3% Stamp Duty surcharge was introduced back in 2016, not to mention more expensive to own since the loss of the 10% wear-and-tear allowance. April 2017 saw the beginning of tax relief on mortgage interest being phased out, and with overseas investors now having to pay capital gains tax, things are looking pretty gloomy for the buy-to-let industry, with many calling this the end of buy-to-let for all but the richest.
At Living in London, we receive a lot of questions from landlords about the state of the lettings market. We want to help investors every way we can, so we’ve broken down what each of these changes means and ways you can secure your assets to get the most from them.
One big and recent change involves additional stamp duty land tax surcharge imposed on buy-to-let investors, affecting those purchasing residential property and more so for those who own two or more properties and remain at their main residence.
There’s no avoiding this tax unless you manage to find a property under £40,000 which seems unlikely in this market. We’d advise investors to ensure they are up-to-date with percentage changes before they make an offer so there are no nasty surprises when it’s time to pay the stamp duty. Ultimately, this shouldn’t put investors off buying, just ensure you’re making smart investment choices and calculating your return on investment well in advance.
In April last year, the HMRC announced the abolition of the wear-and-tear allowance which previously gave landlords renting out fully furnished properties the chance to claim back 10% of the rental income received.
This is an annoyance more than anything, it hasn’t drastically affected the market or how landlords choose to manage their investments. It just means that it’s more important than ever to ensure you have good tenants in your properties. We cannot stress how vital it is to ensure your tenants are extensively vetted before they move in. Always choose better tenants over a better offer, it will save you money in the long run. At Living in London, it’s our company policy to not only fully reference tenants, we will not accept any smokers or pet owners (unless our landlords request otherwise) to leave your property in the best possible condition.
Changes to tax relief
One of the most controversial changes to buy-to-let tax is the restriction of financial costs affecting mortgage interest and other finance costs. From April 2017, a 4-year equal phase-in will commence, and mortgage interest will no longer be deductible when calculating your rental profits. The first phase of the process has already begun, with landlords now only able to offset 75 per cent, rather than the full 100 per cent, of their mortgage interest payments. These deductions will be gradually withdrawn and replaced with a basic rate relief tax reduction.
This change is only applicable for residential property, so you will not be affected if you operate a Furnished Holiday Let, or a commercial lettings business. It will also not affect those with property in a limited company, but will affect LLPs and partnerships.
Making the right investments is key in this market. Some landlords may consider moving properties into limited companies, while others will opt to convert to a repayment mortgage or contemplate raising rents.
If you’re concerned with these changes, we have a dedicated Property Investment Team available to answer your questions and queries. If you’d like to take advantage of our FREE PROPERTY CONSULTATIONS, we’d be happy to have a chat about your portfolio and advise you of any future investment opportunities. Contact us today!
The Canada Water Masterplan, one of the capital’s largest regeneration projects, aims to repurpose some of the area’s larger commercial spaces to build a number of valuable community assets. These proposed developments include a major town centre with additional retail spaces, new homes as well as community and entertainment facilities.
The Masterplan is a project spearheaded by British Land, who has been working closely with Southwark Council and its residents to bring high-quality commercial and residential developments to SE16 to further enhance the area. The team is being led by Allies & Morrison architects and Townshend landscaping as well as a wide range of consultants to help cover the large scope of the plan.
Since British Land began to host exhibitions for the public in spring 2014, the Masterplan has received multiple rounds of feedback from the community to help inform its direction and will continue to do so throughout 2016. Brisith Land has recently released the comprehensive feedback report from all event attendees and those that submitted their comments following plan progression. The full report which was released on 16 June 2016 can be found as a PDF here.
The main commercial spaces of Canada Water to be repurposed are the SE16 Printworks site, Seven Islands Leisure Park and Surrey Quays Shopping Centre. The plan currently includes a pedestrianised town centre, green spaces such as a 3.5-acre park, community facilities a new leisure centre and a range of mixed-use buildings from 6 to 50 storeys which are projected to be delivered over a 15 year period. All aspects of the design are promised to convey the unique, natural characteristics of Canada Water in their design.
Click here for a video of an interactive model which helps show the extent of the plans in more detail.
The area around Canada Water has witnessed multiple new developments in recent years including the modern public library, public plaza and many new residential developments by the nation’s most reputable property developers. One of our landlords commented about the activity in the area saying, "Canada Water has seen a great ride with its advancements so far. As long as they continue down the same path to provide its residents with more cafes, restaurants and leisure centres, it will only be positive for the area."
The Masterplan will be submitted to Southwark Council towards the beginning of 2017 with construction anticipated to start in 2017-2018.
To learn more, please visit http://canadawatermasterplan.com or refer to the Canada Water Masterplan FAQ page.
Huge news for Rotherhithe residents as a £2 billion regeneration plan is unveiled to create a major new urban hotspot in London’s Docklands. The proposed project is expected to take around fifteen years to complete, with plans to redevelop a 46-acre chunk of Canada Water. On top of this, residents can expect London’s first foot and cycle bridge to emerge between Canary Wharf by the end of 2020. Drastic change afoot, but what does this mean for the area?
Canada Water’s Redevelopment
Southwark’s new waterside town centre will include 3,500 new homes, a new high street, leisure centre, park, and entertainment hub, as well as five new skyscrapers and a potential University campus for King’s College London. The University already has permission to build 770 student flats on the former Mulberry Business Park, and wants to build a further 2,000 student flats at Canada Water, plus 400,000sq ft. of teaching and research facilities.
Consultations for the regeneration project have been on going since 2014, with several exhibitions held in 2016 to gather feedback from local residents.
“There are various pros and cons that come with the significant regeneration of an area, as is being seen in Canada Water, SE16 and the surrounding areas,” says Adam Miller, Director at Living in London. “Whilst it will often have a positive impact on the value of properties, as well as an influx in shops, services and amenities, it does mean that the identity of an area is at risk of being lost. Therefore, this will be seen by many – especially those who have lived in the area for many years – as negative."
"Finding the balance between regeneration and keeping the identity of an area is tricky and no matter what, its near impossible to keep everybody happy. Having lived and worked in the area for 10+ years, I’ve already noticed a substantial change in the landscape and population. London will inevitably succumb to change, especially in well-situated areas that are deemed as ‘hotspots’. I would encourage anyone who wants to have an impact on how the regeneration of Canada Water transpires, to get involved in local meetings/consultations and voice their opinion to local councillors and MPs.”
British Land is to apply for planning permission this year and begin work next year.
For the latest news on the ‘Canada Water Masterplan’, visit: http://canadawatermasterplan.com/
The new proposed bridge, also known as ‘Brunel Bridge’, is set to be London’s first pedestrian and cycle river crossing. If all goes ahead as planned, it will also become the world’s longest drawbridge. Backed by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, the ‘Boomerange Bridge’ will answer the huge demand for a new crossing east of Tower Bridge. Linking Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf, the crossing is expected to relieve some of the stress on the Jubilee Line by helping over 100,000 commuters cross the Thames to work in Canary Wharf and connecting east-west cycle routes along the river.
Mr Khan said: “What a great project this is. It points to the future of river crossings in London. It is a fantastic opportunity to give this part of London a much-needed cycling and pedestrian crossing.
“The bridge will relieve pressure on the Jubilee line at Canada Water, offer a huge boost for jobs and homes while promoting greener ways of crossing the Thames.” [Quote via The Wharf]
To keep up with news on the Brunel Bridge, see: http://brunelbridge.london/news/
On October 7th 2016, the Jubilee Line became the third tube line to join the Night Tube service, along with the Victoria and Central lines. The service carries thousands of Londoners in and out of Central London all night long on weekends. Hailed as a ‘game changer’, by employers and venues along the line including the O2, Wembley Stadium, Canary Wharf and Westfield, the night tube saw over 100,000 travellers use the service on its first weekend.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “The launch on the Jubilee line will support thousands more workers like nurses, cleaners and people who work in our bars and restaurants — many of whom currently take two night buses to get home. It will also serve some of our city’s key venues, with the O2, Wembley Stadium and Stratford on the route.” [Quote via Evening Standard]
The Night Tube service also hopes to keep London’s vibrant night life alive, offering a faster and safer alternative to night buses.
Schedule Your Renovation
Time is money and you want to avoid leaving your property vacant for longer than necessary. Be sure to make a note of all works that are required prior to your tenants leaving so you can start scheduling work well in advance, especially if you need to hire professional contractors. Ideally, you’ll have a timeframe in which the works will be done and move your new tenants in as soon as possible, so planning is essential.
Keep it Neutral
When it comes to style, keeping things neutral is key. You don’t want to drive away prospective tenants with a design so flamboyant they’d be ashamed to invite their friends and family to visit. No matter what, you’ll never be able to suit everyone’s tastes, so it’s best to opt for a stylish yet elegant design with a neutral palette that can be complemented by an array of furnishings. By all means, look at current trends but be sure it will pass the test of time - you don’t want to have to completely re-design every time you get a new tenant.
The most valuable rooms to keep neutral are the bathroom and kitchen. In London, a sleek and modern bathroom suite is advantageous among professional tenants, while a high quality easy-to-clean and functional kitchen is preferable. In terms of colour, opt for timeless shades of white, grey or brown to create a bright, open space that is contemporary, yet inviting. Stay away from heavy patterns, vibrant colour and bold furniture where possible. Try investing in signature light fittings to bring a room together and highlight key features. Light fittings can take a room from being plain and dull, to contemporary and bright, as well as opening out the space to make the room appear larger.
Properties tend to get more interest online if they are furnished but a furnished property also comes with its own hassles, including disputes over theft and damage at the end of a tenancy and the responsibility of replacing furniture that breaks. If you’re unsure, we recommend dressing the property for professional photographs that you can reuse when marketing your property and offering the property unfurnished with a view to furnish for the right tenant if required.
If you furnish a property, make sure you don’t “over-furnish” as this can make the property appear small and cramped, not to mention giving you more to account for. Minimalism is key when furnishing a rental property. Think about what the tenants will need and invest in high quality, contemporary items that will last. If possible, include additional storage space to make your tenants’ lives easier when moving in.
Protect Your Investment
Be realistic with prices; if you’re expecting £1,200 per month in rent, don’t spend £10,000 re-decorating as you won’t see a return on investment. Likewise, don’t skimp where it matters. Spend more on frequently used areas of the property such as flooring and bathroom fittings. Choose high quality, durable bathroom and kitchen fittings to ensure you get the most out of your investment and don’t need to continuously make repairs.
Light coloured carpets and wood flooring are easily stained or damaged, so be sure to choose darker, high quality carpet and ensure your floor is treated. For wood flooring, try adding some coloured rugs to further protect your asset and ensure any furniture has felt pads to avoid scratching the floor when it is moved.
If you would like advice on decorating your rental property, protecting your investment or finding out more about Living in London’s fully managed property service, email email@example.com or call 0207 231 0002.
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Looking to sell or let your property? Great news, we now offer free online market appraisals with the launch of our innovative new tool. The tool provides a personalised valuation to users from the comfort of their own home - by simply filling in a few details about the home in question, Living in London’s expert property specialists promise to give you an honest sales or rental appraisal within 24 hours.
“Staying ahead of the curve is vital in business,” says Ben Miller, Director at Living in London. “Traditional estate agents who don’t adapt to new technologies get left behind. For a small agency, we pride ourselves in our marketing efforts and with everything moving online, an online valuation tool was the logical next step for us. In the lead up to our 15th Anniversary, we wanted to launch something that would put us on the map for people who may not have heard of us in SE16 and we think the valuation tool does just that.”
With a sleek design to reflect our state-of-the-art website, the tool offers nifty functionality including sliders and graphics that boast our striking colours.
“Opting for a personal valuation tool over an automated instant tool was a big decision for us,” explains Adam Miller, Director at Living in London. “We wanted to offer sellers and landlords the opportunity to find out the value of their home, while still providing the exceptional customer service we’ve become renowned for. We’re thrilled with the response we’ve had from the tool, receiving loads of really positive feedback from users who have then gone on to become clients.”
We’ve been busy promoting the tool across our website, social media and other marketing.
To try the tool out for yourself, click here.
Has Brexit left you feeling uncertain about the state of the property market? Are you a landlord wondering what the Autumn Statement means for you? Or perhaps you’re wondering what 2017 holds for the UK property market? Never fear, Living in London is here! In the wake of uncertainty caused by Brexit, the changes to Stamp Duty tax and the Autumn Statement, we’ve decided to offer free, no obligation property consultations to people in and around SE16.
At Living in London, we always try to keep our clients and subscribers as up to date on current property issues as possible through our social media channels, our blog page, and our monthly newsletter. As we approach the end of a very turbulent year, many are questioning what 2017 will hold for the UK housing market. Now more than ever, homeowners, investors and landlords need reassurance and questions answered. On our free property consultations, our award winning experts will use years of industry experience and area knowledge to answer any questions you may have and provide honest advice, treating your investment as if it were their own.
If you decide to book a property consultation with Living in London, here’s what you can expect:
An initial chat about your circumstances and plans
The more insight you give us, the better. We will be able to provide pointed advice for your personal circumstances, taking into account your needs and desires as well as your financial situation to determine the best course of action.
An accurate market appraisal of your home
We will ask you to give us a tour of your home, paying particular attention to any changes that have been made to the property to provide you with an accurate valuation and pick up on special sellable features. We will use comparable evidence and show you what other, similar properties in the area have sold or rented for and fully explain our reasons for the valuation.
Advice on how to boost the value of your property or prepare it for a tenancy
We’ve been selling and renting property in SE16 for 15 years, so we will be able to determine how your property looks against other similar properties on the market. If we feel your property could benefit from some TLC to boost its value and help it stand out from the crowd, we will give you our honest opinions on work that could or should be done, taking into account your budget and timeframe. Likewise, if there is work required prior to a tenancy, we will inform you of what we think should be done and guide you through the process of what you need to ensure is taken care of, including EPCs, regulations and if you have a leasehold property, checking you have the right to rent. As we are experts in SE16, we will also be able to provide you with the realistic target market for your property and who your property will be of interest to. We’ll more than likely already have buyers/tenants on our books looking for a property just like yours!
Best time of year to sell/rent and the current state of the market in the area
If you aren’t restricted by timescales, we will advise you of the best time of year to sell or rent your property and provide an insight into the state of the property market, giving our opinions on what we expect the market to do in 2017. We advise you on your property investments as if they were our own, providing an honest account of what we would do in your situation, including options you may not have even considered.
Guiding you through your options
If you’re selling under strict time constraints, we’ll help you to plan backwards through the process, informing you of the average marketing times, how long the legal process should take and how to overcome potential stumbling blocks. If you called us for a sales valuation, you may not have considered renting your property.
Without realising, you may have enough equity to buy a new home without selling your current property, in which case we may suggest that it might be more beneficial for you to let it out or ‘let to buy’. Of course you would need to discuss this further with your financial advisor, but at Living in London we like to make sure you’re aware of all your options.
Whatever your plans, we will ensure you’re fully aware of all the costs prior to selling or renting your property, such as Stamp Duty, removal costs, legal costs and mortgage fees.
Questions and concerns
If you have any concerns or questions we haven’t covered, don’t hesitate to ask and we will answer to the best of our professional ability.
Why Living in London?
Living in London has been operating in SE16 for 15 years. During this time, we have developed and nurtured relationships, always aiming to exceed expectations. As a result of our outstanding service, we were voted “Best Estate Agent in SE16” two years running in the allAgents Customer Experience Awards, “Best Independent Letting Agent in London”, and “Best Estate Agent in London” in the Build Real Estate & Property Awards 2016.
With offices ideally located in Marine Wharf and Canada Water Tube Station, we benefit from an unrivalled footfall of 1.06 million passing potential customers each month. Our Marine Wharf office houses our Property Management, Accounts and Marketing teams, acting as a customer service hub, dedicated to marketing your property to its full potential, collecting and making sure rent is paid on time and ensuring all our properties, tenants and landlords’ needs are being met.
Kicking off 2017, we’ve predicted stabilisation in the property market with sustainable growth and high demand. Whether you’re looking to take advantage of the abundance of hungry buyers by putting your property on the market, or simply want to make your house feel more like a home; we’ve put together a series of interior design blogs, full of tips and trends to help you show your property in its best light.
This month, we’ve teamed up with Sophie Stevens, Founder of SGS Architectural Interiors to get her insight into arguably the biggest trend to watch out for in 2017; the return of green:
New year, new beginnings, and a welcome return of green to the interior palette. Traditionally associated with hope and optimism, the trend for integrating green surface finishes or foliage within our homes will come as a much sought after distinction to fast-paced urban lifestyles.
In contrast to the original toxic manufacture of green, blending arsenic and Verdigris, we now associate green with calmness and wellbeing. Letting the outside in has become increasingly popular within our workspaces and architecture, highlighted by a surge in the use of feature living walls and hanging plants.
Progressive and versatile, greens can be combined with a plethora of on-trend shades, such as blush pink or warm ochre tones to achieve an infinite array of styles. It can be used to add warmth and disparity to man-made finishes such as concrete or metal, while still complementing natural materials such as marble, raw timbers and leather.
For something small, adding a splash of green to any monochromatic interior will add an allure of contemporary, refreshing vibrance to a traditional palette. An air of opulence and luxury can be attained in any design with the simple addition of a deep green velvet sofa or chair.
For the brave, embracing the resurgence of colour and pattern in our homes, green can be paired with jewel tones for a rich and lavish complex colour palette to stimulate creativity.
However small, the addition of green is sure to revitalise your home for 2017.
It’s safe to say 2016 has been unpredictable. The UK surprised the world with its decision to leave the European Union, leading to uncertainty for the UK property market, and now with yet another twist, the USA has elected Donald Trump as their new President. So for those of you sat there thinking “what next?”, don’t give the seasonal weather a chance to take its toll on your property. Each year, icy temperatures lead to millions of pounds in claims for damage to cars, homes and businesses. Here at Living in London, we’ve come up with 10 tips to prepare your property for winter, to help you sail through the rest of 2016 with no nasty surprises or unexpected costs. We’re even offering free winter inspections so you can feel safe in the knowledge that your property is taken care of.
1. Don’t let the pipes freeze
Frosty the snowman and pals have it in for your pipes. The icy weather can cause pipes – especially those close to external walls - to freeze, which can then burst and flood your home when they thaw. The best way to prevent this is to constantly have the heating on low during cold spells. Another thing you can do to keep your pipes toasty is to invest in lagging, which is a foam that coats the pipes, reducing heat loss and insulating them to stop freezing. Keep an eye out for any new damp spots and make sure your tenants know where the stopcock is so the water can be turned off in a hurry if necessary.
2. Clear the gutters
Now in the midst of Autumn, it’s only a matter of time before fallen tree leaves start forming blockages in your gutters. It’s important at this time of year to ensure guttering is completely free of debris to prevent a build-up of foliage. This may not sound like something to worry about now but it can become a massive problem if left unattended by causing water to back up and leak into the roof and walls of the house. Another precaution you can take, is making sure that any trees near the property are thoroughly trimmed back.
3. Crack down on damp
When internal walls become wet, they are a breeding ground for damp and mould. Unsightly, odorous and potentially harmful to the health of residents if left to spread; it’s vital that any sign of damp is tackled as early as possible. This means checking your property regularly and asking tenants to report any issues as soon as they are spotted. If you do notice damp, dry the affected area with dehumidifiers to stop condensation, as too much moisture can damage the paintwork and lead to black mould. There are also a few preventative measures you can take, including advising tenants not to hang-drying washing in any ‘at risk’ rooms, regularly airing the property out, and not letting the property get too cold. Providing tenants with a tumble dryer will also mean they’re less likely to hang-dry washing in the property.
4. Sweep the chimney
If your property has a chimney, clear a path for Father Christmas – nobody wants a sooty beard! Apart from helping out old Saint Nick, getting your chimney swept by a certified chimney sweep will prevent build ups of debris which can be potential fire hazards when bad weather strikes.
5. Insulation is key
Now we’ve talked briefly about insulating pipes to prevent water freezing but don’t stop there. Double glazing, wall insulation and loft insulation are pretty common place in homes these days, so if your property doesn’t have these, you may find yourself with a poor EPC score and struggle to place tenants. You may find it even harder to retain tenants in an unnecessarily cold property with subsequently high heating bills. About a quarter of heat is lost through the roof so make sure loft insulation is extra thick.
6. Bleed the radiators
If your radiators are warmer at the bottom than the top, you may have trapped air. Don’t worry, this is an easy fix. Use a radiator key to ‘bleed’ the radiators, letting any excess air escape through the valve. This will cause heating to spread more efficiently in the property and save money on energy bills.
7. Deal with draughts
“Through every nook and every cranny, the wind blew in on poor old granny.” Poet Spike Milligan must’ve known all about horrible draughts when he wrote ‘Granny’. If your property has draughts around windows and doors, you might want to seal these with self-adhesive draught strips or something similar. Apart from saving on the bills, a warm home is a happy home.
8. Check the boiler
If there’s one thing you and your tenants don’t need, it’s a broken down boiler in winter – especially during the Christmas period. A poorly maintained boiler runs the risk of breaking down but also, wasting energy and costing more. By law, under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, it's your responsibility to get a Gas Safety Certificate every year, but it’s also advisable to get boilers professionally serviced at least once a year to prevent things like this from happening. If your boiler is particularly old, investing in a new unit could save you money in the long run and give you peace of mind.
9. Talk to your tenants
Having a good relationship with your tenants is essential when letting a property. You want your property to be well looked after and you want to keep the tenants happy so they renew the tenancy. Talking to them about any issues they notice and getting these fixed as quickly as possible is the best way of doing this. It’s especially important over the winter period as any issues are more likely to lead to greater damage. If your tenants are away over the winter period, make sure they know to leave the heating on low to prevent frozen pipes and damp forming.
10. Play it safe
If you’re unsure of the state of your property, get it professionally checked. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. At Living in London, we’re offering free winter health inspections by way of schedule of condition, complete with a detailed report. To see if you qualify for a free inspection click here.
Terms and conditions
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: 17/02/2017 09:06:03 Author: Living in London Tags: Living In London News
This year, Living in London is branching out around SE16! We are pleased to announce our plans to open a new branch in the coming months in Marine Wharf, a newly finished residential development in SE16, near London's premier dockside land. Marine Wharf is located between Canada Water and Surrey Quays underground and overground stations and benefits from quick access to central London as well as a large commercial space to expand our operations.
The 2,000 square foot Marine Wharf office is situated within the 9-block development itself, built by leading urban developer, Berkeley Homes. Living in London partnered with Berkeley Homes as a preferred seller as the units became available, and we continue to manage and sell a number of Marine Wharf properties. This location will allow us to continue to work closely with those units and provide a space to welcome prospective buyers and tenants for all other properties that come onto the market with us.
In addition to this new office, we will still maintain our unrivalled office location inside of the Canada Water Tube Station, which places us in front of 1 million passing commuters each month. According to our Lettings Director, Adam Miller, "These are very exciting times for Living in London as we're expanding due to our loyal client base in order to keep up with demand. The new office will help us ensure we will provide our clients with the very best service possible". Living in London was awarded the title of #1 Sales and #1 Letting Agent in SE16 in the 2015 AllAgents Customer Experience Awards, and we look forward to upholding this title as we work hard to serve the area.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the new office, please give us a call on 0207 231 0002.
Last Updated: 26/01/2017 10:08:44 Author: Living in London Tags: Awards
Gold: SE16 Sales
Gold: SE16 Lettings
AllAgents UK is a portal that allows clients to leave honest feedback to help progress the real estate industry and raise standards of services. The Customer Experience Awards is the largest free customer award in the UK that is evaluated once a year and we’re chuffed to be considered and awarded such an honor. Thanks to everyone who left us a testimonial!
If you’ve seen our previous blogs, you’re probably well on your way to making great interior design changes to your home to stay on trend, adopting the colour green. Or perhaps you’re ready to buy, sell or rent with a new-found knowledge of the UK housing market and what to expect in 2017. At Living in London, we know trying to find the right tenant or buyer can be stressful, frustrating and not always straight-forward. A happy viewing can speed up the sales or rental process and keep interest competitive, giving you the best possible price. That’s why this Valentine’s Day, we’ve come up with five top tips to make sure it’s love at first sight for your potential tenant or buyer.
The first thing they see
Whether you have an extravagant front garden or a front door in an apartment building, make sure the front of your home is well-presented. Mow the lawn, de-weed the pathway, trim the hedges, invest in some potted plants, and consider giving the front door and windows a lick of paint. Essentially, the goal is to make them want to come in. If the property has communal areas, ensure these are looking their best and contact your management company if necessary. It’s no good having an amazing, spotless, beautiful apartment if by the time the viewer gets to it they are put off by the poorly managed communal areas with paint flaking and stained carpets, or worse still, lifts out of order. People don’t want to spend £500k + on a property that will give their friends and relatives the impression it’s in a poor block.
Let there be light
It may sound obvious, but to ensure your property shines in its best light, turn on the lights and open the curtains and blinds before a prospective buyer or tenant enters. You want them to focus on the appeal of the property, not fumbling for light switches and tripping over furniture. Let as much natural light in as possible. If you’re holding a viewing in winter, you may want to consider investing in some additional sources of light or rearrange furniture to create a radiant atmosphere.
It goes without saying that the property should be thoroughly cleaned prior to a viewing, but something that often gets forgotten or overlooked is de-cluttering. Ensure surfaces are clear in bedrooms, bathrooms and especially the kitchen – the kitchen is a huge selling point. They need to visualise themselves using it as their own so organisation is key. Kid’s rooms can turn into a bit of a warzone so it’s important that at least for the viewing, toys are tidied away. If mould is starting to show around the edges of the bath, you may wish to replace the sealant as this can be quite a turn off. Remember, there are no barriers during a viewing. Prospective buyers and tenants will examine every nook and cranny of the property, so ensure cupboards are well organised and make sure you hoover under the beds.
Don’t air your dirty laundry
Viewings can be short notice so be aware that you could have visitors while you’re away or with little time to prepare. Don’t let rubbish build up, regularly empty the bins and don’t leave last night’s take away on the side just in case someone needs to pop by. Don’t leave anything out that you wouldn’t want viewers to see. This can be anything from personal post to underwear. We also recommend getting into the habit of making your bed look presentable and putting shoes away.
Home is where the heart is
You’re not just selling the property; you’re selling a lifestyle. Viewers have to picture themselves living there so extra touches often go a long way. It’s a bit of a cliché but the smell of fresh baked bread or brewed coffee always go down a treat. If it’s cold outside, turn the heating on so the property is warm and inviting and they won’t want to leave in a hurry. Every aspect of the property needs to be inviting so ensure nothing is neglected.
Top tip from Branch Manager Elizabeth Miller: “Display fresh flowers, pretty perfumes and nice looking bottles of wine to create an air of opulence and luxury when viewing.”
How do you feel walking round the property? Would you want to live here? Presentation and organisation are vital during viewings but for something extra, check that your agent is aware of any special features the property has; the view from a certain window at a particular time of day… Something you could only know after living in the property to accentuate its personality.
For more tips and news, sign up to our mailing list here.
Headed up by Directors and brothers, Adam and Ben Miller, Marine Wharf will be an office dedicated to delivering the best customer service, housing our property managers, administrators and marketing team. The sister office in Canada Water will continue to operate as the face of sales and lettings, covering Canada Water and the surrounding areas of Surrey Quays, Bermondsey and Rotherhithe.
“We’re delighted to have opened our new office in Marine Wharf,” exclaims Ben Miller, Director at Living in London. “Despite Brexit, business is doing better than ever and we’re in a strong position to take on more staff and continue to grow.”
Renowned for our excellent customer service and being ‘more than an estate agent’, Living in London, Marine Wharf offers a stylish interior, including a state-of-the-art board room which boasts our striking logo, contemporary fully functioning kitchen, coloured LED lighting, and even a shower room.
“It’s very important to us that this not only be a fantastic place to work, but one we’d be proud to bring clients,” explained Adam Miller, Director at Living in London. “A lot of thought went into the layout and branding of the office and I think it truly delivers on every level. We’re excited to offer our vendors, buyers, landlords and tenants a customer service hub, where all their needs can be met under one roof.”
Marine Wharf offers services including sales, lettings, property management, and free market appraisals, all of which will all be promoted across Living in London’s website, social media channels and other marketing efforts. Adam, Ben and the team look forward to meeting local residents and encourage those looking to move to pop into the office to meet the team, but also find out how we can market your property or assist with finding your dream home.
Living in London Marine Wharf can be found at: Unit E/F Cadmus Court, Seafarer Way, SE16 7DW, 020 7231 0002.
Landlords are being urged by the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks to conduct mid-tenancy inspections on all of their let properties. The statement was made following the storms that swept through the UK over the last few months as they may have affected the condition and health of the properties, particularly concerning mould. By performing mid-tenancy checks, landlords or their managing letting agents can immediately deal with problems that may escalate by the end of the tenancy, potentially saving money and preventing any surprises.
Living in London uses a trusted inventory company that prides themselves in providing a complete property inventory service. Key Inventories offer mid-term and quarterly property inspections where the condition and cleanliness of the property will be recorded and documented.
A mid-term inspection helps to ensure the landlord or letting agent is made aware of how the property is being kept. It can also be used to identify if any of the property requires repair, restoration, maintenance or is in need of decoration. This is particularly useful for any landlords that are unable or would prefer not to visit a property on a regular basis.
For all existing landlords of Living in London, Key Inventories has kindly extended a 50% discount on their standard inspection services, saving landlords £40 each inspection. To learn more, please email email@example.com and we will connect you with the right person.
*CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNER OF OUR COMPETITION*
The winning name was suggested by Steve on Twitter. Meet Patch the puppy!
Thank you to everyone who entered, we had some great suggestions to pick from! Keep an eye out for more competitions from Living in London.
And they called it puppy love…
Love is in the air at Living in London and to celebrate, we’re giving away a luxury Valentine’s Day bundle courtesy of Debbie Western Flowers. So if you have a significant other you’d like to surprise, want to get the attention of someone you admire, or simply wish to show someone how much you love them this Valentine’s Day, read on!
Meet our new puppy. Isn’t it cute? Sadly, little puppy doesn’t have a name yet, so if you think you have the perfect name, let us know and you could be chosen as the winner!
Join our mailing list to keep up-to-date with all Living in London competitions and offers.
The competition will end at 12pm on Thursday 9th February and the winner will be announced later that day.
You must contact us with the name and address you wish the prize to be sent to by 12pm Friday 10th February or it will go to the next runner up.
The address the prize should be sent to must be in a postcode we cover (SE16, SE8, SE1, SE10, SE14).
Following the events of 2016, it’s easy to see why experts across the country are torn when it comes to the question “what will 2017 bring to the property market?” Uncertainty caused by the Brexit referendum has rolled over into 2017, with many sources predicting that with no surge at the beginning of the year to beat the changes to stamp duty as we had in 2016, prices will likely stabilise or fall across the UK as an average, but pick back up in 2018.
At Living in London, we see things taking a different turn. Whilst we can understand why the media is pessimistic about the upcoming year, we expect to see a slowdown in the market as opposed to a drop off in price and activity. Top institutes across the country agree that 2017 will be a year of re-balance, with The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) predicting a Nationwide rise of 3 per cent in house prices. Property portal, Rightmove is predicting an average rise of 2 per cent, while Halifax predicts a rise of anywhere between 1 and 4 per cent.
We believe 2017 will bring a much more price sensitive market in which properties will need to be priced accurately in order to sell. It is critical now more than ever that you choose a local agent known for giving area specific, honest advice over whoever gives the highest appraisal. Overpricing a property in 2017 could have a detrimental effect on whether the property sells at all, striking up several red flags with buyers due to a lack of interest and time spent on the market, even with a price reduction. You may then be required to price the stale property lower than its value in order to regenerate market interest – a huge waste of time, and unfortunately, money.
2016 saw a total rise of 6 per cent across the UK despite challenges. With housing and affordability already stretched, a slowdown in the market may be just the thing we need for more sustainable growth and realistic prices. Housing demand is still drastically outweighing supply, especially in London’s first-time buyer and second-stepper markets, which helps to keep prices competitive. Reduced interest rates mean mortgages are at record lows, keeping the market moving for first-time buyers. Gathering a deposit is still the greatest barrier for first-time buyers, so actions such as the Government funded Help-to-Buy scheme must continue to help millennials move out of their parents’ homes and onto the property ladder.
Higher end properties were hit hardest last year with the market facing the effects of the changes to stamp duty, along with Brexit uncertainty. However, we have seen considerable interest from overseas buyers, attracted by the weaker pound.
The changes to stamp duty in April caused a great decline in the number of buy-to-let transactions agreed in 2016, while bringing in only half as much as the Treasury had expected by November according to The Telegraph. To put this in perspective, data collected by Rightmove shows buy-to-let transactions actually declined by 30 per cent overall and a whopping 50 per cent in London. Many figures working in property hoped for the changes to be revoked in the Autumn Statement to restore some faith in the property industry and keep the market rolling. Instead, landlords and investors are set to face further challenges in 2017 through tougher affordability checks for buy-to-let mortgages and the start of the withdrawal of tax relief on mortgage interest.
As a result of this, The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) expects activity to slow but not grind to a halt. Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist said it was unlikely that investors would completely lose their appetite for buy-to-let. “You do have to bear in mind the alternatives,” he said. “Also the mentality of property investment is quite embedded despite these changes.” [Quotes from The Guardian] Rightmove is also predicting a 4 per cent increase in rents due to less availability of stock, so we advise investors and landlords not to panic or be deterred by the upcoming changes, just use due diligence with financial forecasts and planning.
It’s important to acknowledge that while it’s great that the experts are predicting a rise of between 1 and 4 percent, this is the UK average. Prices and activity in Scotland is going to be nothing like the London market, and likewise the differences between the sale of a small one bedroom flat and a million-pound house will be extreme. If you’re looking to invest in 2017, look for an area that can offer steady price and rent increases. We’d also recommend looking into areas that are planning change or redevelopment and choose an agent that knows the developments like the back of their hand. We predict that Canada Water will be a very strong investment location in 2017 due to the Canada Water Masterplan in which Southwark plans to build a brand new town centre, 3,500 homes and over 2,000 student flats.
Essentially the laws of the housing market will always apply to any market, in any year, throughout any conditions. Research the price of your property before inviting any agents around to value your home. This is easily done by using SOLD prices of properties in your street, block, development or postcode. Research the agent you intend to use, make sure they operate in the area, have a local office, a proven track record and are reviewed well. Finding a buyer is one thing but knowing the certain nuances, legal work, and how to progress your sale efficiently, effectively and to a time frame often eludes agents who rarely deal with such issues.
Make sure you like and can have a good working relationship with the company you chose. When you call for them can you speak to the correct person? Do they return your calls/emails in a timely fashion? Can they support their claims? And finally, do you feel confident that they will give you the service you deserve? If you answered no to any of these questions, it might be time for a change.
At Living in London, our aim is simple – to exceed the expectations of our clients. If you feel we’ve delivered a fantastic service and you would happily recommend us to a family member, friend, colleague, or anyone who is looking to rent or sell their property, send them our way!
There is no limit to the amount of recommendations you can make, and provided that we sell or rent the property; we will contact you, order your £100 voucher of choice and have it delivered.
Simply copy and paste the below template into an email, fill in your information, and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or print it off and pop it into your local Living in London branch (Canada Water Tube Station or Marine Wharf):
Your email address:
Your phone number:
Name of referral:
Referral’s email address:
Referral’s phone number:
Property address to be rented or sold:
Are they happy to hear from Living in London?
Any additional information:
The Right to Rent legislation, introduced in select UK cities since 2014, was officially rolled out across England on the 1st of February 2016, bringing new considerations to private landlords or their managing agencies when letting a property. We like to keep our landlords up-to-date on anything relating to their investments, so here is a bit more information.
You'll be pleased to know that Living in London was well prepared for this initiative as we're already in the practice of completing thorough tenant checks through our preferred referencing company. We have been and will continue to gather all important documents so you don't have to, ensuring you're fully covered and informed during the lettings process.
A recent report from The Guardian Money found that 7 in 10 landlords were unclear about their obligations to now check the immigration status of new tenants. Those who fail to do so will face fines of £1,000 on the first instance and an escalated fee of £3,000 thereafter. These checks are similar to what employers carry out when hiring an applicant outside of the UK, and will ensure that your tenant is fully able to remain and live in the country.
You can read the full UK.gov Code of Practice here, but here is a sample of key documents that will help prove a tenant's status to let property in England:
- A passport issued by the UK, Switzerland or any EEA country
- An international passport with a government issued visa
- Permanent residence card
- Biometric Residence Permits
- Asylum Registration Card
If you have any questions at all, our team are fully versed on the new legislation and are happy to speak about how we can help. Of course, if we're already managing your property, we will take care of these checks for you both in-house and through our relationship with an industry leading referencing service.
Last Updated: 26/01/2017 10:08:19 Author: Raj, Head of Sales Tags: London Property
Notably, throughout January we experienced a high demand for 1 bedroom flats up to £350,000 and 2 bedroom flats between £400,000 and £500,000. As a result of this high demand, our properties have been getting multiple offers from qualified buyers.
As February closed, we saw the market heating up even more. There continued to be high levels of interest for 2 bedroom flats priced between £400,000 and £600,000, up from £500,000 we saw in January. Now that we're well into March, the market is still maintaining its momentum and is keeping us busy.
In light of upcoming changes to stamp duty for secondary homeowners, there has been plenty of interest from buy to-let-investors who want to complete before 1st April. We are speaking with many investors who were keen to get in their offers and completions prior to this date.
In light of the strength of activity in the market, now is a great time to call for an updated market appraisal to learn about our current investment opportunities, if you would like any further information on buy-to-let properties or just to speak to about how these market trends might benefit you.
First it was the change in Stamp duty and Landlord Taxation taking a large chunk of Investors out of the buying market, then a Vote to leave the EU via Brexit causing many potential buyers and sellers question if now is a good time to buy, and just when everyone was getting past the hangover, now they call a General Election! What next?!
Despite all this, we’ve seen an influx in sales market activity over the past couple of months as people are seemingly bored of all the changes afoot, meaning it’s more important than ever to make sure your property is sell-able. It’s not all doom and gloom though, as research suggests that a spike in market activity will follow the election as it has done in previous years. If you’re thinking of taking advantage of the Spring market or selling after the election, you should start getting everything ready now. At Living in London, we’ve come up with some top tips to help you sell your home for the best price, in the best possible timeframe.
Whether you’re currently living in the property or it’s tenanted, it’s crucial that your property is looking its best before joining the market. Not only will your property be more appealing to buyers, but small renovations could even boost your property’s value and leave it looking fresh without necessarily burning a hole in your wallet. So, give the place a fresh lick of paint and be sure to tend to any repairs – fixing a dodgy cupboard and replacing bulbs isn’t hard to do but could make all the difference to potential buyers. Likewise, ensure any damp issues are dealt with and re-silicon the bathroom to give it a high-quality finish. If you don’t have the time, money or inclination to renovate the property, you may need to price it accordingly and be prepared to take a slight hit when selling.
If any works are required, speak to your agent to get the best advice. They will be able to compare your property to others already on the market and let you know which areas are best to focus on to achieve the highest possible price. Of course, any renovations you make must be profitable so be careful to ensure you calculate your return on investment before going ahead. It’s also important to understand your target market audience so your renovations don’t price you out of your market – your agent should be able to advise you on this.
At Living in London, we have a fleet of handymen and cleaners at our disposal to ensure your property is market-ready and ultimately, sells for the best possible price.
Price it Right
Pricing your property right first time is critical when it comes to selling your home. We’ve often spoken about the damage that overpricing does to the market overall, but what sellers don’t realise is that pricing a property too high will ultimately cost them more in the long run. An overpriced property will quickly go stale despite the agents’ best efforts to advertise and market the property, and the seller will eventually be forced to take the property off the market or reduce the price. Even with a price reduction, the length of time a property has been on the market can be a huge red flag to buyers – who in this market will be more vigilant than ever, noticing and questioning what’s wrong with the property to cause it to be on the market for so long. The seller may even need to consider reducing the price to below market value just to reignite interest – a huge waste of time and money.
“Which?” data highlights this, reporting that properties in 2016 reduced 5% or more due to initial overvaluing took an average of 64 days longer to sell and had an average final sale price of £20,000 less than properties that were priced more accurately to begin with.
At Living in London we offer accurate market appraisals to help you choose the optimum price to sell your property in the current market. That’s why we have the least price reductions in SE16.
Work with your Agent
As you’re probably not going to be selling your home yourself, it’s important that your estate agent is fully briefed on all aspects of your property in order to get the most out of viewings and make the right impression. You should have already picked an agent who’s a local area expert but they’ve never lived in your property – as agents, we don’t know the way the sun hits your balcony on a Summer’s afternoon making it the perfect spot for a glass of wine after work. The more you tell us, the more we can relay to potential buyers. Remember, we’re selling a lifestyle, not just four walls and a roof.
A good agent should get professional photographs taken to show your property in the best light and attract viewings. Always make sure your property is clean and tidy before a photoshoot. The last thing you need is to put off buyers by showcasing photos of your bedroom with dirty socks all over the floor and clutter everywhere.
First impressions really do count and a viewing is where a prospective buyer will be won or lost. At this point, a buyer has usually done their research; they know what they can afford, their ideal location and they’ve targeted your property as one they like enough to come and look at. So far, you’ve followed our advice; your property is looking great, it’s priced well, your agent knows everything there is to know and you’ve got interested buyers knocking on your door so don’t blow it at the viewing!
Make sure the property is clean, tidy and hide any clutter. Open curtains and turn on lights to enhance space. And for an old industry trick, why not try baking bread to fill the house with a gorgeous smell and creating displays such as a fruit bowl in the kitchen, fluffy towels in the bathroom and nice bottles of perfume in the bedrooms?
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When it comes to selling a property, it pays to know what buyers are looking for. If you can provide as many of these features or must-haves as possible, it's inevitable that your chances of selling will increase.
But what are buyers of homes in South East London most likely to be prioritising? Below, using our experience of working as an independent estate agent in the area, we delve a little deeper...
Good, reliable transport links are likely to be a draw for most buyers, but none more so than in London – where many people commute into the City, West End or Canary Wharf for work. South East London is something of a commuter hotspot thanks to its handy location and relative affordability in comparison to more central parts of the capital north of the river.
At Living in London, the areas we operate in – Canada Water, Surrey Quays, Bermondsey, South Bermondsey and Rotherhithe – are blessed with excellent transport links, providing easy access to other parts of the capital.
Canary Wharf is a mere stone's throw away (two minutes on the Jubilee line from Canada Water), while Waterloo can be reached in just seven minutes and Westminster is a nine-minute commute.
Tube, Overground and National Rail are all on offer in this area, while buses, cycling and walking are other popular options. From Rotherhithe or Bermondsey, for example, it's only a short walk or cycle beside the River Thames to Tower Bridge, London Bridge and Borough Market.
As a major selling point, especially in London, good access to strong transport links is hard to beat. It's something that many buyers will prize and is likely to make your property for sale all the more appealing.
Gardens are sometimes smaller and narrower in London given the higher density of housing and tighter streets, but that doesn't mean outside space won't still have appeal to prospective buyers. Green space of any kind is likely to be a popular selling point, so if your home has this it's a good idea to show it off.
All kinds of buyers will be interested in a garden, even more so if it's south-facing.
Of course, at this time of the year, with the nights drawing in and the temperatures falling, the garden is unlikely to see much use. But it shouldn't be neglected or allowed to fall into disrepair.
Shabby, overgrown garden space will not help to get your home sold and could actively hinder your chances. Upon seeing an unmaintained garden, a buyer viewing your property might then be extra aware of any other flaws or issues in your home.
It's therefore a good idea to try and maintain your garden at all times of the year – even more so if you are selling.
Despite all the various transport links on offer, many Londoners still like to have a car on hand. But, in a very busy city where parking spaces are often at a premium, having a car can sometimes seem like more trouble than it's worth if getting a parking slot proves difficult or even impossible.
As such, if you have guaranteed parking spaces outside or close to your property – in the form of a driveway, a garage or a parking permit – this is likely to be a key selling point for many buyers.
Things to do
London is certainly the place to be in the UK if you want easy access to a staggering array of museums (very often free), theatre shows, independent cinemas, shops, restaurants, cafes, markets, leisure centres, green space, music venues and iconic landmarks.
As Samuel Johnson once said, 'when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life' – and if it's things to see and do you're after, the capital is absolutely unrivalled. The buzz, opportunities and cultural prowess of London will definitely be a key factor for people looking to buy here, and it's something you can use as part of your sales strategy.
In the areas where we operate, there is White Cube Bermondsey (a very popular contemporary commercial art gallery), Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, Surrey Quays ODEON, an indoor go-karting venue, Southwark Park and Athletics Centre, the Brunel Museum, the London Bubble Theatre Company, Hawker House street food market and a host of pubs, restaurants, micro-breweries and cafes.
Not to mention the River Thames right on the doorstep, simple access to Canary Wharf and fast commute times to the West End.
Prospective buyers might also be looking for fast broadband speeds and space for a home office if they happen to be self-employed or work from home on a regular basis. The kitchen, meanwhile, is likely to be the most scrutinised room in a home nowadays, while bathrooms, living rooms and master bedrooms will also be closely inspected.
More than anything, of course, buyers will be looking for a clean, attractive, well-maintained home. They'll want the property to be homely and characterful but won't want to feel like they are intruding – so the right balance needs to be struck when it comes to viewings.
For more information about getting your home sold in South East London, you can contact Living in London on 020 7231 0002.
You'll also probably be eager to know how much your home could be worth in the current market, which is where our expert valuations can help.
You need to ensure that your initial asking price is set at the right level to improve your chances of selling quickly, so it's vital that you work with an experienced estate agent with excellent local knowledge to make sure you don't value your home incorrectly.
As we outlined in a previous blog, this time of year is great to sell a home, driven by increased buyer demand, the desire to be in homes before Christmas and the boom that follows the traditional summer slowdown.
And, fortunately for those looking to sell a home in Canada Water, Surrey Quays, Bermondsey, Rotherhithe or South Bermondsey, there are reasons to be optimistic – despite the ongoing Brexit negotiations and the well-publicised struggles of the prime London market.
Buyers seeking greater affordability will be looking away from the centre, to up-and-coming areas with excellent transport links, more reasonably priced property, a good selection of green space and a growing range of places to eat and drink.
Canada Water to benefit from significant investment
The £4 billion British Land project to transform and enhance Canada Water – providing thousands of new homes, a huge amount of workspace and new shops, restaurants, bars, leisure facilities and entertainment venues – is helping to keep interest high in this sought-after commuter hub.
Prices have risen here by around 13% since 2015, according to Rightmove, and the average price currently stands at just under £525,000 – relatively affordable by London standards, which makes it appealing for second steppers branching out from a starter home and young professionals looking to get on the ladder for the first time.
As one of the Mayor of London’s Opportunity Areas, Canada Water is experiencing more investment and regeneration than most. This kind of thing tends to be attractive to potential buyers, who will want to buy in a desirable area where there is the prospect of decent house price growth in the future.
With the first part of the Canada Water Masterplan potentially being completed by 2022, and the project as a whole reaching completion by 2033, the chances of house prices rising steadily are good as demand for homes in one of London’s boom areas grows at a rapid rate. Even now, a number of developments are ongoing, which is further helping to encourage buyers to the area.
Two of its main draws are its transport links and its closeness to Canary Wharf. It’s one stop away from Canary Wharf - one of the world’s key financial centres - on the Jubilee Line, and also plays host to London Overground services providing quick commutes to cultural hotspots such as Shoreditch High Street, Hoxton and Dalston.
Bond Street, in the heart of the West End, can be reached in just 12 minutes, while it’s even quicker to get to London Bridge, Waterloo and Westminster.
As a property seller, you can use the excellent transport connections, the planned developments and the buzz surrounding Canada Water to your advantage. Make sure, on viewings, that you or your estate agent talk positively about the local area and its main attributes, as location is very often a key factor for London buyers and could swing their decision either way.
Affordable residential living in London
Surrey Quays – once a key part of the capital’s shipping industry – might have struggled for identity in the post-industrial era, but it has started to recover in recent years, aided by its strong transport links, relative affordability, quiet, family-friendly feel and selection of good or outstanding local schools.
Flats are most popular, selling for an average price of around £450,000-£500,000, mostly to young professionals eager for easy access to Canary Wharf, the City and the West End. The overall average price is just over £515,000, up by around 15% on 2015 as Surrey Quays’ burgeoning population has been met by increased demand.
The area will also directly benefit from the Canada Water Masterplan, while the London Overground extension – between Clapham Junction and Surrey Quays, which opened in December 2012 – has also helped to draw more commuters here.
Its quieter, more residential feel could be a key selling point, particularly for buyers looking to escape the hubbub of the city. Again, it’s important to utilise the regeneration of Canada Water, the proposed pedestrian and cycle bridge between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf, and the area’s surprising amount of local green space to your advantage when selling a home.
Given the transport links on offer and the ‘away from the hustle and bustle’ vibe, demand for homes should continue to be high. You can use the keenness of buyers to be in their home before Christmas to give some impetus to your sale, too.
A welcome price boost
The regeneration of Rotherhithe – which encompasses Surrey Quays and Canada Water – is helping to make the area fashionable among homebuyers again. The Masterplan and the planned bridge are the two main pillars of its transformation, which could lead to a price boost of 30% between now and 2022, when the first phase of British Land’s scheme is set to complete.
It certainly feels like an exciting time for this part of south-east London, and that also means it’s a good time to be a seller. People want to move to areas with a buzz, and Canada Water, Surrey Quays and Rotherhithe currently have that. You should certainly feel confident of getting a good price for your home in the current market conditions, even allowing for Brexit uncertainty and other variables.
How much is your property likely to be worth?
If you’re selling now, or thinking of listing your home on the market soon, you’ll be keen to know how much it could be worth. To this end, we provide instant online valuations to give you an estimate of your property’s worth.
In the current market, it's absolutely imperative that your initial asking price is set at the right level. You'll need to work with a reputable local estate agent to ensure you avoid overvaluing, which could be detrimental to a future sale.
If you would rather discuss your options in greater detail, you can contact Living in London on 020 7231 0002.
The 2016 results were as follows:
Best Letting Agent in SE16
Gold - Seamus Stanbury
Silver - Rita Sweeney
Bronze - Brandon McCormack
Best Overall Agent in SE16
Gold - Seamus Stanbury
Silver - Brandon McCormack
Bronze - Rita Sweeney
Our double gold award winner Seamus said, 'It is great to be acknowledged for the hard work and dedication that we have all put in. I have had a lot of support from the team which helped make these awards possible. It's a combination of area knowledge, long hours and making sure my clients are always receiving the service they deserve'.
AllAgents People Awards are automatically calculated for all public profiles on their review website. The results are based on the number of positive testimonials each agent receives and the highest overall rating for service provided. The awards are divided into a local level and we were pleased to be represented well across all SE16 categories.
Just last year, Living in London won both the Best Sales Agent in SE16 and Best Letting Agent in SE16 during the 2015 AllAgents Customer Experience Awards. We aim to keep providing the highest level of service to all customers and sharing our passion for property in London.
Last Updated: 26/01/2017 10:08:26 Author: Living in London Tags: Living In London News
In the coming month, we will be incorporating our new Customer Relationship Management platform which will benefit all who work with us by providing a transparent service, accessible by a personalised login.
Take a look around and let us know what you think! We're looking forward to the new opportunities for displaying our client's listings and bringing more value to our landlords, tenants and prospective buyers.
Last Updated: 27/07/2017 16:02:27 Author: Steph Rady, Marketing Manager Tags: The Wharf Property Awards
Living in London is thrilled to announce it has won the New Starter award and been ‘Highly Commended’ in the Office Manager award and ‘Innovation’ award at The Wharf Property Awards 2017. The winners were announced at a prestigious awards ceremony on Thursday 25th May, hosted at the O2 in London.
After being successfully nominated and shortlisted, Living in London was awarded the accolade at a grand awards ceremony featuring a live band, fire dancers and guest speakers, all in line with the event theme “Rock of Agents”. Branch Manager Elizabeth Miller, Head of Property Management Rita Sweeney, and Marketing Manager Stephanie Rady attended the event and accepted the awards.
The judges felt that Stephanie Rady’s efforts in marketing the Living in London brand and boosting its online presence, resulting in a significant increase in website traffic and leads, made her the obvious choice for the New Starter award. Rita Sweeney came ‘Highly Commended’ after impressing the judges during her interview with her tailored approach to staff training and admirable targets. Living in London also came ‘Highly Commended’ in Innovation for its work within the community to deliver regular local area offers to its clients.
“As a new member of the Living in London team, I’m truly delighted to have been recognised for my work,” exclaims Stephanie, winner of the New Starter award. “There’s a lot in the pipeline for Living in London this year as we celebrate our 15th Anniversary, and being ‘Highly Commended’ in the innovation category has confirmed that we are exceeding the expectations of our clients. We plan to continue doing this, while finding new ways to give back to our clients and the community."
The Wharf Property Awards, organised and hosted by Jessica Maddison, Account Manager at The Wharf, was held in Building Six of the O2, London. The evening consisted of a champagne reception, plenty of networking opportunities, a three-course meal with entertainment, including a live band, balloon animals, fire dancers and chainsaws emitting sparks into the crowd, followed by the awards – a truly mesmorising and unforgettable evening!
Living in London was recently voted ‘Best Lettings Agent 2017’ in the Propertywire Awards, ‘Best Independent Letting Agent in London’ and ‘Estate Agent of the Year’ in the BUILD Real Estate and Property Awards, and ‘Best Estate Agent in SE16’ for the second year in a row at the allAgents 2016 Customer Experience Awards.
The winners can be found here: http://www.wharf.co.uk/news/property/the-wharf-property-awards-winners-13088020
To qualify, all you will need is a 5% deposit and a 55% mortgage from a bank or building society. The balance of up to 40% will be covered by a government equity loan. This equity loan is interest-free for the first five years.
What happens after the 5 years interest-free loan ends? After five years, the equity loan will be subject to a fee of 1.75% per annum on the outstanding amount, and from then on the fee will rise each year in line with any increase in Retail Prices Index inflation (RPI) plus 1%.
You can choose to make voluntary repayments of the equity loan, at prevailing market value, at any time. This would mean that when you come to sell your property you won’t owe the government anything, but if you don’t make any repayments, you’ll need to pay back the equity loan when you sell your home.
To learn more or to connect with Living in London's trusted mortgage advisor, please get in touch on 020 7231 0002 or fill out this form here.
The days are getting shorter, the nights are drawing in, the leaves are falling off the trees and the temperatures are starting to dip a bit – all of which means we’re leaving summer behind and entering autumn.
Which, as luck would have it, is arguably the best season in which to sell a home as the traditional post-summer boom in housing activity coincides with a desire from buyers to be in their new home before Christmas. It is typically a very busy period – as both buyers and sellers put their home moving plans into action – and here we take a closer look at why that is.
The holidays are over, the kids are back at school, and people want to arrange moves before the festivities begin. This all means activity ramps up in September, October and November. While summer is generally a quieter period for the property industry, this summer was particularly quiet thanks to the excellent weather, World Cup fever and ongoing uncertainty over Brexit negotiations.
The uncertainty over Brexit is still there – and may cause some people to think twice – but other variables are now in favour of stronger market activity.
Given the desire to be in their new home by Christmas, buyers may also be more eager to push through sales in a fast manner, which will be music to the ears of sellers who dread frustrating hold-ups or delays.
As a seller, you can improve your chances of selling by trying to hold viewings in the daytime (when you can shine the best light on your home), clearing your gutters, drains and driveway of leaves, keeping your home warm and toasty during viewings if the weather is cold outside, and decluttering your property so it doesn’t feel too personal or lived in.
Here at Living in London, we operate in one of the capital’s most exciting and up-and-coming areas. In Canada Water, for example, there is what is known as the Canada Water Masterplan, which aims to create a new urban centre for London in SE16.
The project, devised and led by property development and investment firm British Land, puts forward plans for the 53-acre regeneration of Canada Water. After four years of planning and consultation, the plans were finally submitted to Southwark Council in May.
The green light is expected to be given at some point this autumn. If the plans are approved, work could begin on the first detailed plots in spring 2019 (with a target completion date of 2022). The whole Masterplan, in turn, could be completed and fully functioning by 2033.
It would deliver up to 3,000 homes, in addition to retail, leisure, work, entertainment and community space, with the first three buildings set to be constructed on Surrey Quays shopping centre’s current overflow car parks between Deal Porters Way and Canada Water Dock, plus the empty site at Roberts Close.
The first phase would generate 270 homes as well as plans for 285,000 sq ft of workspace, a leisure centre, shops and places to eat and drink. Proposals for affordable social rented housing have also been included.
As well as bringing visitors, tenants and buyers to the area, existing residents of Canada Water will be given a major boost by the project as it becomes a nicer place to live, work and commute from. At present, it could be argued that Canada Water is mostly a commuter hub – a good base for people working elsewhere in the city. However, new leisure, work, entertainment and food/drinks spaces could help to change all that.
Those looking to sell should also be boosted by the plans, with greater media coverage of the area possibly leading to higher levels of interest from potential buyers.
In nearby Rotherhithe, meanwhile, there has been an update on the proposed Rotherhithe Bridge - a pedestrian and cycle bridge which would connect south east London to the docklands peninsular, making ‘sustainable transport a life changing option for thousands of commuters’.
The low lying bridge, downstream from Tower Bridge, will need to be designed so it can open to allow tall boats to pass.
Now, in response to the recent public consultation on the planned bridge, the team behind the initial proposals - reForm Architects and Elliot Wood Engineers – have relocated their design to its original 2013 northern position. The new location, along with a 20% reduction in the scale and 5m reduction in the height of the bridge, would bring ‘tangible public benefits and cost savings to the scheme’.
The update on their official website added: “We once again publicly offer our innovative bascule design for independent scrutiny as part of the ongoing process which TfL confirm will need to demonstrate that the best design and cost outcome has been achieved.”
The bridge, which has the support of the Mayor and TfL, would be the first bridge built in central London to the east of Tower Bridge. But it has proved controversial, with a high-profile and heavily scrutinised battle over the design of the Rotherhithe-to-Canary Wharf crossing.
Consultancy giant Atkins was appointed by TfL in March to provide engineering and architectural support to the project, but reForm Architects is no longer being considered for the design support contract after another design consultancy, Arcadis, allegedly advised against the bascule-type bridge design. It’s still unclear who will actually be responsible for the eventual design of the bridge, but a planning application could be made in 2019 and Sadiq Khan said in the summer of 2017 that he’d like to start construction as soon as possible.
Autumn, then, has so far been busy in terms of developments to the areas we operate in, but as we outlined above it’s also a good time to sell a home – with demand likely to be high as plenty of buyers enter the market seeking a home before the turkey needs carving.
Do you know how much your property is worth?
The market in 2018 has been an interesting one so far, but how has the performance of London's property sector affected the price of your home and how much you could be selling it for? If you would like an 'instant valuation' to get a better idea of what your property is worth for sales or rental, please click here. Or if you would prefer to discuss your options in more depth, please feel free to contact Living in London on 020 7231 0002.