TBS in The Times: Return of the savvy buy-to-let landlord

Buy to let Landlords have been stung with higher rates of tax (George Osborne introduced a 3 per cent tax surcharge in 2016) and rising costs but instead of leaving the market in their droves they are switching tactics and are becoming price conscious investors.

The North, Midlands and the South West are all particularly popular at the moment – prices are lower and rental yields can be higher than in London. A study by Benham and Reeves shows that despite the tax changes in 2016 73 per cent of Landlords still believe property to be the least volatile long term investment compared with other asset classes. Put simply, long term investors are keen to pick up bargains and ride out the blips in the sales market.

Although cheaper properties outside of London are attractive to many, those Landlords looking to invest in the Capital (and the South) are doing so in bulk. Philip Eastwood, Partner at The Buying Solution, says; “Landlords are certainly more active than they were this time last year. We’ve seen a notable increase in savvy international buy to let purchasers looking to secure more than five units in new build schemes to take advantage of the reduced stamp duty on block purchases (and make the most of the weak pound). Usually they tend to snap up the two bed apartments as these are likely to rent the quickest. The key though is to purchase buy to lets in developments that will hold their value. Those that have a unique element within a boutique development like a conversion of an old building tend to hold their values when compared with many of London’s cookie cutter schemes.”

To read the full article click here; https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/return-of-the-savvy-buy-to-let-landlord-ckd72j3zl

TBS in The Times – What’s the price of a truly amazing view?

Can you expect to pay a premium for a truly amazing view? Mark Lawson and Harry Gladwin speak to The Times

Views are always in demand and tend to command a premium. Mark Lawson, Partner at The Buying Solution, says; ‘35 percent of our clients will put ‘wide reaching views’ as a specific requirement and towards the top of their wish lists. Importantly a good view can command a premium of between 20 and 35 per cent depending on how special, far reaching and unspoilt it is. A view is so attractive to so many because in the UK whether by the sea or out into the unspoilt countryside it will be ever changing with the tides and seasons. It also usually ensures a level of privacy, peace and quiet and protection.’

The exact premium you will pay will differ from region to region. Areas Of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are particularly popular. Research shows that the Surrey Hills is the most expensive with an average sale price of £800,000. The Peak District and Lake District also have high premiums when compared with other areas in their counties – 75 per cent and 84 per cent respectively.

Although good views of either beautiful rolling countryside, the sea or rivers can be extremely attractive. Harry Gladwin, Partner at The Buying Solution, offers words of advice;

1) If a house has an extraordinary 20 mile view, the chances are it is on top of a hill and is therefore quite exposed to the elements. A house with a view which is breath taking in June may well be absolutely Baltic in January.

2) A view over many miles of open countryside can be wonderful on the day of Completion, but what is the risk it might change? A large chicken farm, wind turbine, new road etc on land which you don’t own could turn a view into an eyesore, so weighing up this risk before purchasing is an important part of the due diligence.

3) The best views are usually the ones you own. Whilst it may not be so far reaching, a ‘middle distance’ view over fields and woodland which you own tends to provide the best of all worlds – more secluded, more controllable and comforting

To read the full article click here; https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/bricks-mortar/whats-the-price-of-a-truly-amazing-view-xgk07v063

TBS in The Telegraph – How to invest in the best new-build property that will hold its value

Buying a new-build flat means you get lots of perks, such as shiny amenities, and the chance to have a hand in the ­design process if you buy off-plan. But in large developments, where a number of flats might come to the market at once, it can be difficult to tell the difference between one new apartment and another.

Thea Carroll of The Buying Solution, says: “You have to be really careful when buying somewhere where there is [what feels like] infinite supply. You may want to consider smaller, ­boutique developments that offer something more unusual, like a conversion of an old building. Also look at the phasing. Does it have a direct view to the garden or the river, or will you end up looking into someone else’s living room? Especially in large schemes where construction is ongoing, you need to consider whether a view that you ­enjoyed when you bought a property might be obscured by buildings which come later.”

Meanwhile Rory Cramer, founder of new build rating site www.homeviews.com for which Thea Carroll is a pro-reviewer, adds that you should consider whether the developer has a good track record and says: “Outdoor space, especially in a city centre, is a clear winner but you need to make sure that space is actually usable. Does it get sunlight? Is it sheltered?”

Read full article here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/buy/invest-best-new-build-property-will-hold-value/

TBS in The Sunday Times – How to… unpack your house

Once you’ve got through the purchasing process there are a few things that can make your life a bit easier once you reach the big ‘move’ day.

Here are a few tips;

  • If possible find childcare for small children and pets
  • Most broadband providers are happy to move your account over but BT for example needs two weeks so it’s worth contacting them in good time
  • Having an ‘essentials’ bag or box with key items such as a kettle, tea, paperwork, snacks and cleaning supplies can help with the immediate requirements
  • Make sure you count all of the boxes before they go into the van – label them clearly if you’ve packed yourself
  • Thea Carroll says; “If you arrive at lunchtime or early afternoon when you arrive, take on the kitchen first as it’s the engine room of the house. If you arrive later the top priorities will be the bedrooms and bathrooms.”
  • Let the older children unpack their own bedrooms as it can make the process feel like an adventure
  • Take photos of valuable items before you move – if something is broken you need to speak to the removal company within seven days of a move
  • A professional unpacker such as Move In Style can be a lifesaver

To read the full article click here; https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/home/how-to-unpack-your-house-xhzdvr7p9

TBS speaks to Eve Johnson Houghton ahead of Royal Ascot

World famous ‘Royal Ascot’ week kicks off on Monday 17th June; it is the centrepiece of Ascot’s year and dates back to 1911 when the June week of races became a Royal Week. Every year Royal Ascot is attended by Queen Elizabeth and other members of the British Royal Family and has become one of the most famous sporting events in the British social calendar. The Buying Solution talks to leading lady racehorse trainer Eve Johnson Houghton, ahead of the event.

What do you love about being a trainer?

Being a trainer is more a way of life than a job or a career.  You live on the job, and live in the job.  If you don’t love it you are going to struggle.  The horses are the be all and end all and trying to get the best and do the best for each horse however good they might be is of utmost importance to me.

How do you and your horses prepare for Ascot?

Preparing the horses is just routine.  You normally aim for a specific race and try to get them in the best form they can be, and as happy and as fit as possible so they can do their best.  Preparing myself is not quite so easy.  Being a woman trainer and having to wear hats is not always mutually compatible!

Which horse do you think has the best chance at Ascot  this year?

Accidental Agent.  He won the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes last year, the first race of the meeting and I am hoping he can repeat it this year.

Which is your favourite racecourse and why?

I love Ascot, for obvious reasons, but I also like Newbury & Goodwood.  They always have good ground and good racing and they look after the owners & trainers well.

Which jockey (living or dead) do you admire the most?

Lester Piggot was The Maestro, but I was always a fan of Steve Cauthen who revolutionised the way jockeys rode in the UK.  He had the most amazing hands (this means keeps the horses relaxed) and horses ran for him.

Who would you rather train the offspring of Galileo, Frankel or Dubawi?

Having never been lucky enough to train any of the above I would be grateful for either.  I also think Kingman is going to be an exceptional talent as a stallion.

Which Stallion do you think will produce the most group 1 winners over the next 5 years


Which younger horse and older horse of yours should we be following?

Kiefer is a horse I very much like and is developing into a lovely stayer.  The older horse is obviously Accidental Agent.


TBS in The Sunday Times – How to install a home EV charger

According to Jonathan Bramwell, Head of The Buying Solution, about 40% of his client base (who are typically looking to spend £2m on a house) have a home charging point on their wish list. “Many will be investing in electric cars over the next five years, so making sure there is at least the potential for one forms part of our due diligence,” he says in an article in The Sunday Times Home.

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) rose 13.8% in the UK last year, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association: that’s about a quarter of the European average, but an increase nevertheless.

A number of government schemes for driving up sales and reducing air pollution are in the pipeline; for example, the Department for Transport (DfT) plans to consult on having charge points built into all new properties. For now, though, powering up the car at home when you have no off-street parking can be problematic, especially if you live in the countryside, where public charging points are a rarity.

Charging overnight at home is convenient and cheap. Once a home charger is installed, it can cost as little as 3p a mile to power up an EV — about a third as much as running a petrol-driven car, according to a report published in December by the International Council on Clean Transportation.

To find out exactly how much recharging the battery of your Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, Renault Zoe or Jaguar I-Pace will set you back, and how long it will take, visit bit.ly/2WLW1MN.

Read the full article here which includes tips on installation and potential pitfalls: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-to-install-a-home-ev-charger-n976r7lw7