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Image showing man with padlock on mouth The interesting thing about the “housing crisis” all the politicians have been talking about throughout the party conference season is that no one has really mentioned the cause. It’s almost as if it’s arrived like a storm from the Atlantic or some sort of food alert like BSE or foot-and-mouth disease. No one seems to be to blame. It’s just … happened. The truth of course is an entirely different matter and the causes are actually pretty numerous.

Downsize-Your-Home-In-Retirement-300x177 If you’d worked hard all your life and earned the right to enjoy your retirement in a comfortable four-bedroom home with sprawling gardens, surely it would be pretty tough to have a couple of normally reputable organisations suddenly accuse you of “house-blocking”. How could they possibly know why you’ve chosen to stay put? Maybe all that extra space isn’t simply wasted, as recent statements by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Financial Conduct Authority appear to have suggested. Maybe it allows you to welcome family and friends to stay, maybe you want to always have space for offspring should their lives hit a crisis, maybe you have pampered pets. Whatever the reason, it’s no one else’s business to be honest. As the saying goes, an Englishman’s home is his castle and what he does with it is up to him.

teacher There’s been quite a bit in the papers recently about the price people will pay to live in the catchment area of a good school. Santander reckoned it adds up to £30,000 to the value of the average home (www.propertywire.com/news/europe/uk-homes-schools-price) while Lloyds Bank went even higher with £40,000 (www.propertywire.com/news/europe/england-home-prices-schools) Nothing has been reported on just how many sellers have since made a beeline for their estate agents, demanding that they hike the price of their property by the appropriate amount - but, even if they did, it’s unlikely they will have returned home hypothetically any richer.

burn According to an article in the Daily Express this week, people in the UK have paid a total of £17bn in unexpected fees when moving home over the last two years. Yes … That’s right. A massive £17 BILLION, which equates to around £5,000 per mover. (http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/594485/house-buyers-mortgage-house-loan-buyers-home) To be honest, we find the figures shocking. The logistics of moving housecan be stressful enough without finding yourself saddled with significant additional cost. Of course, the problem can be compounded by the value of property these days. When the average house is thought to be worth upwards of £275,000, what’s £5k in the scheme of things?

Tech Back in the year 2000, we were all probably slightly bemused that we arrived in the new millennium without the predicted global collapse of informational technology. After all, we’d all heard so much about the so-called “Millennium Bug”, it undermined our confidence in our computers, even persuading us to squirrel away hard copies of important documents “just in case”. But that was 15 years ago and, in just a short time, technology has come on in leaps and bounds - so much so, in fact, we now trust the internet with our banking, our weekly shopping and even our personal relationships. It’s strange then that there are still some who will warn against using it for significant purchases – not least traditional high street estate agents who are not against warning off sellers considering their online options.Of course, they have a vested interest but many will weave mystery and jargon around the process of selling a house, making it sound so much more complicated than it needs to be.

imagesCA66W4DQ Imagine the scene … You’ve just been shown around a house and you’ve been quite impressed with the roomy garden and the modern bathroom. There are a couple more properties on your list still to see but you like this one enough to see if there’s any leeway in the asking price. It’s on the market for £269,000 but your upward limit is £265,000. “Do you think the owners might take £265,000?” you ask the sharp-suited estate agent with the clipboard tucked under his arm. And, before you know it, he’s suddenly pumping your hand. “Congratulations! You’ve just bought yourself a house…!” It happens. It’s a somewhat sneaky way to close a sale but buyers – particularly first-time buyers - can be so swept away by the sudden excitement of a house purchase they don’t realise that they didn’t actually make an offer. Some might argue that sort of sharp practice is how estate agents earn their fees. After all, they’re there to sell your property and, if they succeed – and succeed quickly – you might not want to ask too many questions about how they did it.

imagesCAO3MDD3 When selling your house, there are some factors that you can't change easily. The location, the neighbourhood and the structural state of the house are all considerations that will effect the value of the property that may be beyond your control. When selling a your home, your focus should be on making every aspect of your property shine as much as you possibly can for potential buyers. To put it simply, when preparing for viewings, image is everything; you need to make sure that people viewing your property see it in the best possible light. Follow these tips and you have the best chance of maximising the sale value of your home:

untitled12 Purchasing a buy-to-let investment property can be a daunting task. Choosing the right neighbourhood, opting for a managed property or going it alone and doing it yourself can all be stressful decisions for prospective investors. However, the recent upswing in the property market and the potential for finding a turn-key investment that provides a steady income mean that it can be a lucrative choice for people looking to safeguard their financial future. With this in mind, there are a number of powerful tools at your fingertips to make choosing a property as straightforward as possible.

Untitled When buying a home, it's really important to find the one that you dream about. Unfortunately, when you do go and visit homes, the reality quickly sets in, as there aren't that many properties that suit your dreams. Some of them have bad smells, stained walls or damp stains, and most people are just unhappy to visit this type of properties, according to a survey that took place on a group of 2000 UK people.

surge A SURGE in the property market has been recorded by a Yorkshire online agent, reporting the sale of four different homes within days of being advertised. MD at Harrogate-based www.elsaleuk.com David Rook, has been letting or selling property for 15 years, but says he doesn’t recall such swift or significant interest in new properties at any point since the 1980s.