Elements to look for in any neighbourhood

Packing up and relocating to another city, or for that matter, another country, is a major undertaking, so it is imperative to do the necessary research and weigh up all the options before making the final decision. Whether it is as big a decision as immigrating or moving across the country, there are essential aspects that should be assessed in every prospective neighbourhood to ensure that you will feel at home.

Transport

Location is of utmost importance in real estate and proximity to reliable public transport can have a positive impact on the appreciation of the home’s value over time. The majority of people spend a fair bit of their day commuting to and from work every day, so it is important to consider the distance from the neighbourhood to the office. Other considerations would include whether there is access to public transportation, service hours, route and stops.

Studies have shown that home values tend to rise faster in areas that are close to bus, train and underground stops. A tube station within 500 metres adds £42,000 to the price of a London house. If the walk to the station is just another 250 metres – the price drops by more than £10,000, and if the station is a mile away, the price premium disappears altogether.

Local businesses

Consider the retailers and businesses that you often frequent, such as the bank, pharmacy, and grocery store. Are these shops conveniently located within proximity to your prospective new home? While a gourmet deli and coffee shop is a great place to meet up with friends, being near to a grocery store that stocks your daily staples is far more practical. Ensure that the businesses are reputable and that their prices are reasonable. Much of the legwork can be minimised by reading online reviews.

Schools

For a family with children or a couple planning to have children in the future, the quality of the schools in the area is an essential element to consider. In fact, even if you don’t plan on having children it is an important consideration because it will have an impact on the home’s potential appreciation in value. Homes close to schools that are highly sought-after will sell for higher prices. According to government research, being near to a top-performing primary school in London can add £38,800 to the average house price. A study by the Department for Education (DfE) has found prices are 8% higher near the best-performing primary schools and 6.8% higher near the best secondary schools.

Amenities

While proximity to amenities is important because it will influence the home’s investment potential, there is another element that relates to the buyer’s personal needs and wants. Someone who rates culture very highly will want to be near to art galleries and theatres, whereas someone who enjoys the nightlife will want to be close to restaurants, pubs, or dance clubs. A sports enthusiast would want to know the distance to the stadiums and athletic arenas in the area. There is also the matter of free entertainment, such as parks, museums and libraries.

Economy

Not the country’s economy, but rather more specific factors that are influencing a certain area, such as a high crime rate. There will be telltale signs if an area is experiencing a financial decline, such as houses in need of attention, rundown parks, littered streets, and businesses closing down. Many people will want to move out of the area, so look for a prevalence of ‘for sale’ signs.

Using these guidelines will assist you to find the right neighbourhood that will meet all your needs, regardless of whether it is in the UK or abroad.

RE/MAX name used in online scam

 

RE/MAX has received reports of an international online rental scam using the RE/MAX name.

The scam begins with an apartment listing on a classifieds or apartment-listing website. After exchanging several emails with the apartment “owner,” the potential tenant receives wire-transfer instructions to transfer rental deposit funds to RE/MAX or a RE/MAX-branded company.

In one instance, the apartment owner used a false name and provided documents such as pictures of the apartment and his passport ID in an attempt to verify his credibility. However, those operating the scam could use other tactics to lend legitimacy to their operation.

If you are approached online by one of these scammers, please do not send money.

RE/MAX brokerages, offices or agents are not involved in these scams. As a general rule, never send money for an apartment you haven’t seen or to a person you haven’t met. If you believe you’ve been involved in a scam involving the RE/MAX name, please report the matter to abuse@remax.net. In addition, contact the apartment-listing website where you found the ad and report the issue.

If you ever have any questions about the legitimacy of a real estate transaction with a business or agent using the RE/MAX name, please call RE/MAX London at +44 (0) 20 3142 7288. You can also email abuse@remax.net to report any suspicious emails, offers or websites that feature the RE/MAX name, RE/MAX logo or RE/MAX Hot Air Balloon logo.

Unfortunately, the criminals behind scam and phishing schemes are skilled at recreating authentic-looking documents and websites. You may be contacted by a scammer posing as an agent on the phone or receive emails from a fraudulent email address. Once again, the best way to check if you have been approached by a scam operative is to contact RE/MAX London at the information listed below.

+44 (0) 20 3142 7288

abuse@remax.net

http://www.remax.co.uk/important–scam-notice

Carry on renting or buy?

Deciding whether to stay in the rental market or buy is a choice that many people struggle with. Purchasing a home is one of the largest financial decisions you will ever make, so it stands to reason why so many are apprehensive about getting it right. Weighing up the pros and cons will help you make up your mind and know what the right choice is for your current situation.

So what are benefits of getting your foot in the door?

  • The sooner you get into the market, the sooner you can pay off your mortgage and have a home you can call yours. Once the mortgage is paid off, the home is yours for as long as you want it.
  • You will benefit if your home increases in value. Over the long-term property will appreciate in value, creating equity that can be used to help to buy a bigger home or fund your retirement.
  • Decisions regarding the home are yours to make. You don’t have to ask a landlord’s permission to spend money improving the home. Also, spending money on the home will help increase its value, which will benefit you directly.
  • Depending on the situation, it can be cheaper to pay a mortgage than the rent.

While the benefits of owning a home are appealing, there are cons to being a homeowner.

  • A property purchase should be viewed as a long-term investment. It is a big commitment, so you need to be sure you are ready and can afford it for the term of the
  • If the interest rate goes up – so do your mortgage repayments. There needs to be some financial cushioning in the budget if this happens.
  • As the owner, you are responsible for all maintenance costs. Ideally, you should have a contingency fund saved up to assist with emergencies such as a broken boiler.
  • There is also the matter of additional services charges when purchasing a flat, which you won’t incur if you are just renting.
  • Depending on the market, you may have to hold onto the property for longer than you initially intended to.
  • There is less flexibility when you own a home. Moving involves possibly selling, which means more money and planning.

When considering whether purchasing a home is the right choice, a major factor is affordability. Does buying a home make financial sense for you in your current situation? It is important to remember that there is more to being able to afford a home than paying the mortgage. Here are some other costs you will need to factor in during the home-buying process:

  • A deposit – on average first-time buyers put down a deposit of between 10% and 20% when buying their first property. If you opt to use a Help to Buy or shared equity scheme, the deposit requirements will typically be around 5% with the government or developer loaning you the remaining 15%.
  • Survey costs – a survey will let you know of any possible repair costs you can expect to pay in the future. It will give you an idea of how much you will need to invest in the home after you have bought it. Surveys vary in price from around £500 to £1,500 depending on the type of survey and the amount of detail you require.
  • Stamp Duty – any residential property or land purchased in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that costs more than £125,000 (£40,000 on a second home) will incur a Stamp Duty. The amount of Stamp Duty liable will be based on a sliding scale depended on the value paid for the property over the £125,000 threshold.
  • Legal costs – there are a few ways in which solicitors charge their fees, such as a fixed fee, an hourly rate, and a percentage of the property price.
  • Ongoing monthly costs – Council tax, gas, electricity, phone line, etc.

If your goal is to ultimately ditch the rental market and own a home, but you can’t afford it at the moment – save, save, save. If possible, find ways to curb your spending and set up a savings plan that will help you reach your goal. Depending on your career and financial situation, there are also help to buy schemes that will assist buyers to purchase their first home.