“Phew, what a scorcher” as the tabloids would say. The hot weather we experienced last week is a mixed blessing; if you’re on holiday, then the warm sunny days certainly bring out the best of the British coast and countryside. But if you’re working either outside or in a non-air-conditioned office then life can be very uncomfortable.  

Read article

Landlords will most likely be aware that from April 2018 the MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards) Regulations will make it unlawful to let buildings (both commercial and domestic) in England and Wales which do not achieve a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of ‘E’.

Read article

Leytonstone Arts Trail 2017 It’s that time of year again when it seems everything is going on (you’ll be spoilt for choice in July). The Leytonstone Arts Trail takes place between 1st & 9th July, with exhibitions, open studios and events taking place across Leytonstone and surrounding areas, featuring local artists. To find out more … Continue reading Local News

Read article

Trading Places' Property Market Report for June 2017.

Read article

From types of paint to floor coverings, bathroom fittings and woodwork, we present our best tips for landlords.

Read article

We understand the disappointment of vendors whose experience of the sales process has fallen short of their expectations. This disappointment can sometimes be the result of setting your expectations too high or perhaps being influenced by having such high expectations in the first place, as a result of poor advice and decision making. It can be difficult trying to adapt mentally, especially if choices and decisions are based on achieving a certain figure. A prime example where this can be particularly stressful is when selling for the final time, with dependence and reliance on the money generated from the sale. Unfortunately, once a property has been on the market for some months, the chances of finding a buyer willing to pay your desired price are reduced.

Read article

The unexpected hung parliament might appear to have once again cast a shadow over the housing market. Or maybe not! We know that the stability and strength proposed by Theresa May might not be delivered after all, but is that really so bad for a market already in danger of overheating? Certainly, the lack of … Continue reading Election Special Market Comment

Read article

This year we welcome our first ever Summer Fest to the borough. The latest addition to the Get Together series sees a new summer festival which combines craft beer and sport. Check out the latest offering from HemingwayDesign, take part in Tour De Waltham Forest and watch some great sports or event have a go … Continue reading Summer Fest

Read article

The Repair Café Leytonstone When: 11am – 2pm Waltham Forest Council has partnered with The Restart The Repair Café Leytonstone lets residents learn how to fix their electrical items, clothes and bikes for free. There will also be free advice on how to upcycle furniture and clothes, which can all be enjoyed over a slice … Continue reading The Repair Café Leytonstone

Read article

Estate agency is an intensely local business. It is essential that agents are fully conversant with the issues of the day relating to property within what is often no more than a mile or two from their office. Ideally, they will themselves be resident in the area in which they are selling.

Read article

Election periods usually add a degree of confusion to the property market, but this effect appears to be less pronounced this time around. Indeed, the level of sales agreed nationally is actually 2% up on that recorded during the run-up to the last election in 2015, albeit down 2% on the same period last year. … Continue reading Monthly Market Report & Newsletter

Read article

EPC Ratings – new minimum rating requirement, less than a year to go The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and Wales) Regulations 2015 mean that, from April 2018, private non-domestic (and domestic) landlords must ensure that properties they rent in England and Wales reach at least an EPC rating of E before granting a tenancy to new … Continue reading Property Gossip May 2017

Read article

Trying to secure finance on a property where Japanese knotweed is growing in the garden can be extremely problematic. If Japanese Knotweed is growing on land adjacent to the property being financed, this too can pose a problem. But what do you know about this herbaceous perennial plant? If you have a garden, here are … Continue reading Japanese Knotweed

Read article

Analysing and understanding the UK property market is notoriously difficult. Conflicting reports and biased perspectives often confuse people who simply want a degree of reassurance that their purchase or sale is well-timed. Many people who currently have no intention of moving are also naturally curious about the value of their home, which is usually their … Continue reading Property Market Report April 2017

Read article

There can be nothing better suited to the internet than property, and hits to property websites far outnumber those of any other industry. The ability to be able to search in the comfort of your own home, usually without having to provide any personal details, is certainly attractive and has transformed the way the public … Continue reading Will the Internet Replace Estate Agents?

Read article

Wednesday’s budget was noticeable for the absence of any mention of the housing market. This oversight was met with derision from almost ever organisation with an interest in the property sector. There has been a succession of housing ministers over recent years, each of which has introduced several, mostly ill-considered, policies which have effectively damaged … Continue reading 2017 Budget Comment

Read article

Theatre of Wine As reported in The Bush Telegraph, Leytonstone has a new addition to the High Road in the shape of Theatre of Wine, an established independent wine retailer with branches in Greenwich and Tufnell Park. They do weekly wine tastings so if you enjoy a drop of “the grape”, why not pop in … Continue reading Local News March 2017

Read article

We love the challenge of matching a tenant to a property, or a property to tenant, and in our opinion the right tenant will usually make for a happy landlord. Letting negotiators/consultants often feel the pressure of having to find a willing tenant, and quickly. A company operating a low basic and high commission salary … Continue reading Right Tenant, Happy Landlord

Read article

No dinner party would be complete without talk of property values, gazumping, or someone who has made a killing, or a loss, on their home. We are obsessed with our bricks and mortar.  More of us own our own home than any other European country – although this is decreasing as values have risen to … Continue reading Don’t Panic Mr Mainwaring

Read article

As we approach Valentine’s Day it would seem that there’s a fair bit of love involved in estate agency! Estate agents are, if anything, matchmakers after all and just as people fall in love with the right person, so buyers also need to fall in love with a property if the sale is to succeed. … Continue reading Cupid the Estate Agent?

Read article

The courts have been busy with private rented sector related cases and in this article we look at three of them. The decision around Section 24 tax changes (not being able to offset mortgage interest at the highest marginal rate of the tax payer) was a judicial review of changes yet to have its full … Continue reading Courting Change

Read article

What is CMP and does your agent have it? Rogue letting agent Manish Manek was found guilty of 17 counts of theft involving tenants’ deposits and rent owed to landlords. He stole £47,000 before fleeing the UK in October 2012. A police investigation found that Manek had been putting tenant deposits and rent into his … Continue reading Property Gossip January 2017

Read article

Household emergencies generally occur during the depths of winter, but we recommend that homeowners undertake winter property check to prevent unforeseen property headaches in the months to come, with January often being one of the coldest months of the year. Here are some pointers: Make sure your central heating system is working as it should. … Continue reading Winter Property Checklist

Read article

Goodbye 2016 and hello 2017, and what a start to the year it has been. Tenant and buyer registration numbers have returned and whilst stock levels remain low, a number of new instructions have hit the market and valuations have been plentiful. Buyers are making offers and tenants are moving again, so for now we … Continue reading Property Market Report Jan 2017

Read article

In part one we considered the benefits of buying to let in principle. Here we consider some practical elements:    Attitude: Buying to let is a long-term investment. So don’t over-stretch yourself, because if you had to sell in the short term you would almost certainly lose money. Choose well:  Follow your head not your … Continue reading Buy to Let Part 2

Read article

Many who receive a good offer for their home turn it down because they have not yet found “the right property” and worry that they will in effect become homeless should they sell first (although we have never known this to happen!)      Of course the problem would become a self-fulfilling prophecy if everyone were … Continue reading Catch 22 – Should I Sell First or Buy?

Read article

The property market depends on fluidity and activity to be regarded as healthy. This year the number of transactions has been light, based on a dearth of supply. This has itself fed the problem with sellers being reluctant to put their property on the market if they only have a limited choice of onward purchase. … Continue reading Property Market Report November 2016

Read article

The Christmas Market Trail A day of local Christmas markets in the heart of Leytonstone set up to support the High Street and local designers and traders. Set over three locations. Stones Throw Market in St John’s Hall, Church Lane Market on Church Lane and Lister Road Market on Lister Road. Each market is offering … Continue reading Local News November 2016

Read article

Four local markets are joining forces on Saturday 3rd December to provide a bumper day of Christmas shopping and entertainment for Leytonstone residents. The Christmas Market Trail will run throughout Leytonstone town centre between 11am-4pm. There will be over 70 craft, vintage and food stalls, plus church tower tours, Santa’s Grotto and children’s craft activities, … Continue reading Leytonstone Xmas Market Trail

Read article

Many people still consider buy-to-let as a viable alternative to pensions and saving investments, and with good reason. The effect of low-interest rates and a historically rising property market make buy-to-let one of the most attractive long-term investments accessible to the public. Obviously there are risks associated with such an investment, though the same could be said of all potential high return investments. … Continue reading Buy to Let Part 1

Read article

Moving day can be stressful enough, but a bit of forethought can go a long way.   For example, many people take the opportunity to clear any unwanted junk out of their homes and lives. Charity shops, car boot sales, and friends can be grateful recipients of some items. Our advice would be to have … Continue reading Making Moving Easier

Read article

Recently Trading Places’ own Gary Butler was interviewed by the Guild of Professional Estate Agents on the subject of “open house” viewings to sell your property. Is “open house” always the right approach? An open house viewing day/event strategy is only beneficial in certain circumstances. Firstly, the market, or at least the property in question, … Continue reading Secrets of Open Viewings

Read article

The sixth annual Gas Safety Week is here and Trading Places are proud to be part of it. It will see organisations from across the UK working together to raise awareness of the dangers of poorly maintained gas appliances, which can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Safety tips Here are … Continue reading Gas Safety Week 19-25 September 2016

Read article

Recently, in the Supreme Court, the five Supreme Court judges overturned the Court of Appeal decision in the Edwards V Kumarasamy case which decided that a leasehold landlord was liable to compensate his Assured Shorthold tenant for injuries caused to his knee as a result of tripping over a communal paving stone when taking his … Continue reading Repairing Obligations

Read article

Most people move house rarely and often have little idea of the etiquette required if the stress of moving is to be minimised. Our job as progressive estate agents is to help buyers and sellers minimise this stress by seeing the world through their eyes and advising accordingly. For example, vendors often go to great … Continue reading The Courteous Buyer and the Wonderfully Eccentric Mrs Friday

Read article

Leeds leading the way Leeds Building Society will now allow tenancy agreements without setting a maximum term of 12 months. A number of lenders are now accepting longer term tenancies, most only allowing to a maximum of three years and Leeds will be amongst the few with no maximum. It’s worth checking the terms of … Continue reading August 2016 Property Gossip

Read article

The property market apocalypse predicted by some following the Brexit referendum appears to have been averted. However, the timing of the referendum, combined with the 1-2 month lag in the reporting of sales figures has made it difficult to assess the real impact. The latest sales figures reported by the Land Registry/ONS suggest a 10% … Continue reading August 2016 Property Market Report

Read article

The term “fair wear and tear” appears on most tenancy agreements. But what is fair to a landlord may not necessarily appear fair to a tenant, and vice versa. With current deposit rules in place, it helps to think like an adjudicator, a topic we have covered previously. In general terms it is usually understood … Continue reading What is Fair Wear and Tear?

Read article

When you market your property, you will naturally want to achieve the highest price today’s market will pay. But how do you know what this is? Sadly, there is no almanac of “correct” prices relating to an address and a date, and online price “calculators” can be wildly inaccurate, so most people will take the … Continue reading Offers in Context and Valuing Up

Read article

As we all know by now, the Bank of England has reduced the base rate to 0.25%, with all nine members of the Monetary Policy Committee voting in favour of the cut. According to data from the Office for National Statistics, those with a variable 25-year repayment mortgage could save around £22 per month and those with a tracker product should see their monthly payments reduce by approximately £24.16 on a mortgage of £200,000 over an average 25-year repayment mortgage (or £41.66 if interest only). On the flip side, savers will be less impressed with the news and it should be noted that some mortgage products may include a “collar” in the small print, stating a minimum level at which their rate will drop to. The BoE are also to buy £60bn of UK government bonds and £10bn of corporate bonds. They plan to introduce a new scheme encouraging banks to keep lending, by allowing banks themselves to borrow at somewhere near to 0.25%.

Read article

George Osborne may no longer be Chancellor of the Exchequer; however he had made several tax changes, which directly impact the PRS, with arguably the biggest of them all still to come. Landlords currently enjoy tax relief on mortgage interest; however April 2017 will see the start of a 4 year plan to change this, with the potential to push lower rate tax payers into a higher rate of taxation. The changes will be phased in as follows: In the 2017/2018 financial year, the deduction from property income (as is currently allowed) will be restricted to 75% of finance costs e.g. mortgage interest, with the remaining 25% qualifying for a “capped” 20% “tax reducer” In the 2018/2019 financial year, that figure of 75% will become 50% (with the remaining 50% qualifying for a “capped” 20% “tax reducer”) In the 2019/2020 financial year, the figure of 50% will become 25% (with the remaining 75% qualifying for a “capped” 20% “tax reducer”). As from 2020/2021 all financing costs e.g.

Read article

As the holiday season gets into full swing and the 6 week school holidays begin, it’s quite usual to experience a summer slow-down. However, this summer will see sellers with even less buyers to choose from as some hold back, hoping prices may dip. As we have mentioned before, it’s important to establish the true reasons for a slow-down and a more traditional (a more evenly balanced) sales market, will often see less activity during the summer months and at Christmas. That doesn’t mean to say buyers stop buying, and with a ratio of approximately three “new” buyer registrations each day in July so far, there is still an appetite to buy property. For those looking to sell in the short term there is a choice, perhaps in some cases dictated by circumstance. Sellers can wait for the autumn market or try to sell now, either way, with less buyers around its worth doing everything possible to maximise your chances of attracting a buyer.

Read article

Having worked in the industry for some 20 years, I have witnessed various types of market; from peaks to crashes as well as everything in-between. It’s a case of using your experience to identify market changes, sometimes subtle, and then adapting the selling strategy and the advice given to sellers. There will be many people working in estate agency who are yet to experience anything other than a strong seller’s market, and when the time comes they will need to adapt and learn new skills in order to be successful in a more balanced, or weakened market. One of the key features in estate agency is providing the seller with feedback. In recent years, subject to a correct marketing strategy, demand has been so strong, that in many instances giving feedback has been a case of putting forward a number of offers (following an open day), then progressing those offers until a sale price is agreed.

Read article

Almost half the UK population own a pet, yet many landlords are reluctant to accept pets! According to research by The Dogs Trust, some 78% of pet owners reported that they had experienced difficulty finding rented accommodation that would accept pets. The Dogs Trust also suggest that some 45% of UK households currently own a … Continue reading Why Let Your Property to a Pet Owner

Read article

A few weeks back, our mortgage brokers alerted us to a new HSBC 2-year fixed rate deal at 0.99% and we are now reading various reports indicating that the mortgage market will become even more competitive post Brexit, with suggestions of 2 year deals as low as 0.95%. It would appear the "long term product" market, such as 5 and 10 year deals is set to grow, albeit there’s a view that early repayment charges are a stumbling block for some would-be long term committers. Click on the following link https://www.mortgagestrategy.co.uk/brexit-price-cutting-push-fixes-0-95/ to read an article by Mortgage Strategy Voices are whispering that a falling pound could actually lead to more foreign investment in some markets, and as is usually the case investors will look to buy at the bottom of the market. It’s a case of assessing when this time has arrived (an obvious point I know).

Read article

Yes, we all know Waltham Forest introduced a selective licensing scheme last year and under their early bird scheme it cost £250 for a 5 year licence, rising to £500 thereafter – only this is no longer the case because as from 1st April 2016 the cost of a 5 year selective licence has increased to £650 so by the time 2020 comes, and on the basis the council extend the scheme beyond the initial 5 year period, how much will a licence then cost? Many landlords saw the introduction of this licensing scheme as a money making decision, whilst others wanted to see rogue landlords punished, feeling it unfair they tow the line whilst the few bad apples continued to give landlords a bad name, and as such welcomed the scheme.

Read article

Earlier this year a landlord was fined over £11,000 for letting a property which had a dangerous gas boiler. Another landlord was fined and handed a suspended prison sentence for installing a boiler that was not checked by a suitably-qualified gas engineer. In another case, a landlord was fined almost £3,000 for failing to provide a gas safety record for two rental properties. There seems to have been a spike in the number of landlords being fined for gas safety failings and there are of course the new rules that came into play last October in relation to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Is your gas safety check up to date?.. and have you issued your tenant with a copy of the current gas safety record/certificate, within the required timescale? Which? Mortgage Advisers have given some tips to help people avoid a long chain, therefore increasing the chances of a successful purchase. 1.

Read article

The Upper Leytonstone Jumble Trail is happening again this year! It's on Sunday 26th June between 11am and 4pm. More information.

Read article

Those of you living in Waltham Forest will probably remember recent reports of bricks being stolen from local churches and even people’s front gardens. Thieves would drive their van into the wall before making off with the bricks, which would sell on for around £1 per brick. The bricks in question are of course the old yellow “London stock” type, some dating back before the Victorian era, and a very popular choice for property owners looking to build an extension with a desire to match the extension to rest of the property. This is not the first time we have experienced an attack on our front gardens. Several years back people were waking up to find their front gate had suddenly disappeared. One week we had over half a dozen reports from confused tenants curious as to the whereabouts of the front garden gate.

Read article

As you look through the pages of most online property advice sites or property-related newspapers and magazines, you are likely to come across one survey or another that seeks to prove how various property improvements add a certain percentage to the value of a property. There has been a marked increase in the number of people undertaking improvements whose motivation is specifically to increase the value of their property prior to a sale. If you are considering such improvements, you should approach such surveys with caution. For example, the public’s response to a previous survey as to which home improvements were most likely to add value were at odds with the view of a panel of property valuation experts and Chartered Surveyors. The public’s view was that a new kitchen would add more value than either a loft conversion or an extension.

Read article