TBS in the Evening Standard – Commuting to London

The top 20 areas to buy a home within 60 minutes of the capital.

Many towns and villages within an hour of London offer commuters a great escape, an enviable choice of homes and top schools. Ruth Bloomfield at the Evening Standard takes a look at the pros and cons of moving to 20 of the best.

Read the full article for Nick Mead‘s comments on Henley:
Commuting to London: top 20 areas to buy a home within 60 minutes of the capital

Equestrian Hampshire

Horses - Countryside - Copy (Small)

Hampshire is a good choice for equestrian property buyers due to the natural topography, stunning downland and rolling countryside. This rural landscape particularly lends itself to equestrian pursuits such as hunting, polo and the various Pony Clubs in the region.

The county is home to the Hackwood Point to Point course which hosts various meetings which tend to be very popular amongst locals, a ‘must’ event in many social calendars and for those further afield with a real passion for the sport.

There are also numerous Pony Club competitions taking place as well as Polo which are a good reflection of the equestrian society in and around Hampshire. The equestrian hot spots in the county tend to vary depending on the level of riding experience, however, they will mainly be found around the South Downs National Park or on the Hampshire Downs.

Where children are being introduced to riding ideally they will have a field attached to or near their house.  Looking after a horse or pony is as important as actually learning to ride. With more advanced Pony Club enthusiasts a couple of fields, stables and preferably a ménage are appropriate. This is similar to the requirements of someone who competes, hunts or enjoys Point to Points. Finally, the professional rider will likely seek a small farm that can be turned into an equestrian property. If the property is intended to be a business then the requirements change again where it is likely they will need 15 plus stables, an indoor and outdoor school, turnout paddocks and sometimes even gallops.

Schools such as Sparsholt Agricultural College which houses a large indoor arena and two outdoor arenas, a variety of stabling facilities, a horse walker and even an equine weighbridge are fantastic for those who are interested in learning more about the equestrian business.

When people come to us wanting to buy an equestrian property with a view to running a business we always advise that one of the most important features to look at is the suitability of the land. When looking after horses the land needs to be free draining with no standing water or flooding in the paddocks.  There must also be a water supply for the horses. In our opinion the second most important feature for this sort of venture is accessibility to areas where one can exercise the horses. This doesn’t have to be on bridleways, it can be arenas, gallops and open spaces such as heathland and downland, which makes Hampshire a great choice. Last, and certainly not least, there must be access to good veterinary facilities, supply farriers and feed merchants nearby.

Property demand outstrips supply for best in class Hampshire properties which means that there is almost always competition for these properties.

TBS in The Times – What’s luxury now? An ‘argument suite’

What’s luxury now? An ‘argument suite.’

Technology is out — luggage rooms, cryotherapy chambers and separate master bedrooms are in, says Ruth Bloomfield at The Times.

Read the full article for Rachel Thompson‘s comments on what is now regarded as ‘luxury’ in London:
What’s luxury now? An ‘argument suite’

Second Homes and SDLT

Beware when buying a house in the UK.  If you already own a house elsewhere in the world, you are likely to have to pay an additional 3% SDLT.

If you are buying your new house intended to be your only home, you could still get caught having to pay the extra 3% SDLT on part if there is a secondary house that comes with the main house.

There has recently been an amendment to the Finance Act (Clause 117) to try to clarify this.

Where there is a second house or accommodation within the principal house, SDLT at the increased rate will not apply on the secondary property if –

  • They are purchased as a single transaction.
  • They are within the same building or in the same grounds.
  • The principal dwelling is at least two thirds of the value of all the purchased dwellings within the grounds.

There are grey areas with respect to what constitutes “grounds” and additional work for valuers and agents in the respect of two-thirds of the value!

Properties that qualify for “mixed use”, no matter how many dwellings, still only attract SDLT at the reduced rate of 5% even if this is an additional home.

As always, good professional advice at all stages is critical and can save time, money and an awful lot of complication.

TBS in Mansion Global – Demand picks up for London’s luxury residential market

Demand picks up for London’s luxury residential market.

Sellers reduce prices to make up for increased transaction costs, new TBS report finds. Published by Andrea Lopez Cruzado on Mansion Global.

Read the full article for Philip Eastwood‘s take on the London residential market:
Demand picks up for London’s luxury residential market.

TBS in The Telegraph – House prices: What have the Romans ever done for us?

House prices: What have the Romans ever done for us?

What have the Romans ever done for us? So asked Reg in Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Well, quite a lot, and their prolific construction skills continue to give back to those who own property in their settlements, says Fiona Brandhorst at The Telegraph.

Read the full article for Nick Mead‘s comments:
House prices: What have the Romans ever done for us?

TBS in Country Life – Post Brexit Country House Market Report

Post Brexit Country House Market Report.

How are buyers and sellers of country houses reacting to the result of the EU referendum? Arabella Youens at Country Life magazine canvases the agents.

Read the full article for Jonathan Bramwell‘s thoughts on the country residential market:
Post Brexit Country House Market Report

The Buying Solution Insight Report – London and Country markets

Available to download above is the new The Buying Solution Insight covering the London and Country markets. We remain positive about the residential market post-Brexit as it will produce opportunities for clients as our guidance becomes even more useful in an uncertain market, especially as we see there being more property available on an off-market basis in the next 6 months.

We hope you find this report interesting and please contact us if you require a more detailed market update or have any specific property requirements.

Do I really need you?

I recently sat down, in the post-Brexit world, with a potential client to discuss her property search. During the conversation she asked “do I really need you?” I smiled, as this is something I’m often asked and in reality the answer is no. I am not essential to someone’s property purchase; anyone can walk into estate agents and buy a property. What I do and what I offer as a buying agent is a luxury, but is it one luxury in which you should indulge?

When the market is moving in an upward trajectory you can afford to make a mistake, as any financial over payment will be absorbed by capital growth. However when there is uncertainty and nervousness in the market, local knowledge, both of the properties themselves and every nuance and sentiment in the marketplace, combined with sound advice, is imperative. In my experience it is very easy to acquire a property but rather more difficult to unwind a poorly bought asset.

I explained to my potential client that recently there have been a number of very low ball offers made, as one may expect, but these have irritated and frustrated the vendors whilst alienating the estate agents. The offers are not being backed up with any evidence and other than some opportunism there is little or no justification for the levels of offers being made. In turn the purchases themselves are frustrated but they are losing credibility. Despite what is reported, there is no blood on the streets of prime central London and with interest rates likely to be staying low for a the foreseeable future people can hold their property, if they choose to do so. Having said that, sentiment and the political landscape has changed and as such if a client is positioned correctly and makes a low, but credible, offer that is well supported there is every chance of picking up a ‘real steal.’ Having said that, you have to be strategic and patient in order to get the result that you need.

I work closely with buyers often over many extended periods of time and take a great deal of care to listen and understand their immediate and long term needs. I identify the best areas, as well as the best markets that will suit their needs and lifestyle. Having found what they are looking for, I negotiate the best in class properties, on the best terms and for the best price, but also when the best time to buy is and even offer, considering everything from currency fluctuation, to press reports, using everything to negotiate for my client’s advantage. I strategically position my clients to be the preferred buyer and am able to knowledgeably justify the price. On average I save my clients at least three times my fee, if not more, and can save millions off the asking price.

So I advised my potential client, that the question she should really be asking herself is, “can I afford not to use you?” The answer was no, so now I have a lovely new client!

TBS in The Times – The 12 signs that a street is on the up

The 12 signs that a street is on the up.

Facial hair, chrome door furniture and dog walkers are just some of the clues, says Ruth Bloomfield at The Times.

Read the full article for Sam McArdle‘s thoughts on what signals an area’s potential growth:
The 12 signs that a street is on the up | The Times