The Kitchen Deal Breaker

Many people dream of installing a new kitchen, complete with granite worktops, an island unit and an AGA cooker, but how many people know the true value of making sure your kitchen is up to scratch?

Those in the know often say that a kitchen is the deal breaker room when selling a house, it can literally make or break a sale. It is therefore worth carefully planning any kitchen upgrades you undertake. Here are The House Crowd’s top tips to help you get it right:

-          People are too quick to gut their entire kitchen, often they’ll end up refitting units in exactly the same place. This is because the initial design of the kitchen is likely to be the most practical design. Take time to consider what your new layout would be, will it work?  What do you not like about the practical design of your current kitchen, and how can you solve those problems with your new kitchen?

-          Instead of spending a lot of money replacing everything, why not consider quick-fixes? Modernising unit doors and relaying the floor can save a lot of time and money. Large DIY stores have a good range of upgrade solutions and materials.

-          A common complaint people have is a lack of worktop space. Think about how you can make what you have go further, as unless you’re extending a kitchen, a re-design won’t necessarily give you more space. Solutions like microwave brackets, floating shelves, and flat-folding hinged tables can provide more workable space; there are also amazing new space saving idea available with new kitchens, including pull out work tops that can be put away when not in use.

The House Crowd is a brand new concept in property investment which allows people to invest small amounts via crowdfunding (for more information on the process, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//how-it-works/). We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments (for more information about us, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//about/our-manifesto/). If you’ve read enough and want to invest now, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//invest-in-property/).

Property Investment Predictions For 2013

The Royal Institute Of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have made positive property investment predictions,  forecasting that UK house prices will rise 2% during 2013 and rents will increase by 4% on average.

It also forecasts a rise in the number of property sales. It estimates that there will have been 930,000 property transactions in 2012, and this will increase to 960,000 in 2013.

RICS is also predicting that the number of repossessions should fall to under 35,000 – the lowest figure in 6 years. Simon Rubinsohn, RICS’s chief economist, said: “The average house price in the UK looks set to rise by a further 2% next year, despite the uncertain outlook for the economy.

“More positively, the amount of property sales going through should also see an increase across the country, climbing to its best level since 2007, as the Funding for Lending scheme helps boost the availability of mortgage finance.

“But these tentative signs of recovery in the sales market should not blind us to the very real problems that still exist. Even with the Funding for Lending scheme and some other government policies beginning to be felt in the mortgage market, many first-time buyers will continue to find it difficult to secure a sufficiently large loan to take an initial step on to the housing market.

“Meanwhile, the alternative of renting is becoming more and more costly, with a further increase in rents likely in 2013. Critically, the Government needs to ensure that the conditions are in place that will enable the stock of new housing, whether for purchase or rent, to rise more rapidly.”

The House Crowd view: if these property investment predictions are correct, it should make it easier to sell our refurb/sell projects, though we still believe it will be fairly tough for first time buyers to get a mortgage and it will continue to take a while to find buyers.

It bodes well for our long term buy and hold strategy that the shortage in housing will continue, pushing up rental demand and to some extent rents.

Although we recognise there are limits to what people can afford to pay and we know from the Council Landlord Forums we attend, that LHA rates in Salford /Manchester will only rise by about 1% next year, but as you know we typically achieve 11% yields and have plenty of margin to pay the 6% guaranteed yield.

There is now such stiff competition in the market for investment properties in the £45-£55k price bracket, that we operate in, that we cannot see how prices could fall further. If anything they will probably rise slightly in 2013.

Property investing still perceived as a winner in 2013

So how do people perceive the future of property investing in these interesting times?

The two most important factors for people investing in property in 2013, according to a recent survey, are a stable income and a boost to insufficient pension provision.

“Landlord Today” also reported that confidence in the UK market is robust, with ¾ of property investors stating they intend to buy additional buy to let properties over the next 12 months, as low savings rates and returns on the stock market means property investment compares very favourably with income from other investments.

Many involved in property investing  are taking a long-term view, with 65% stating that rental income for retirement is their main motivation, followed by long-term capital growth (27%).  Just 8% of respondents cited short-term capital growth as their reason for investing. 68% of people surveyed claimed they are achieving gross rental yields of at least 6%, but only 20% achieving 9% yields or higher.

Only 5% felt that property prices have further to fall.  We suspect they have all been spending too much time reading The Daily Mail.

Peer-to-Peer Property Funding

With peer-to-peer lending, individuals provide unsecured loans to those in need of finance, rather than saving their money in a bank or building society. Though quite a recent phenomenon in the UK, peer-to-peer lending is predicted to continue to grow rapidly, especially as the reputations of our high street banks continue to be damaged by seemingly unremitting revelations of malpractice.

Peer-to-peer lending websites, such as Zopa, Yes-secure and Ratesetter have already achieved significant success, with more than £200m estimated to have been lent through Zopa since its inception in 2005.

Whilst peer-to-peer lending has the benefit of cutting out money-grabbing middlemen, the risk of reintermediation is becoming an increasingly likely problem. As peer-to-peer lending companies grow, their marketing, regulatory and operational costs increase, which could potentially cause companies such as Zopa, Yes-secure and Ratesetter to lose the benefits which currently sets them apart from traditional banks.

Despite recent Government support, only time will tell whether peer-to-peer lending will become a norm of borrowing and lending in the UK. Here at The House Crowd, we support the practice of peer-to-peer lending, but would remind those lending their funds that with us you can get a very good return on your money and need do nothing at all!

The House Crowd is a brand new concept in property investment which allows people to invest small amounts via crowdfunding (for more information on the process, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//how-it-works/). We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments (for more information about us, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//about/our-manifesto/). If you’ve read enough and want to invest now, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//invest-in-property/).

Tips for a novice property investor

Taking your first steps into property investment can be an incredibly daunting process, which is why we’ve outlined some key property investor tips for novices to follow.

The obligatory legal particulars can seem convoluted, the amount of time it takes for a return puts off many and the risk of losing your life savings is frightening. However, if done properly with the right preparation, getting into property investment can be a relatively straightforward and exciting adventure.

Here are The House Crowd’s key property investor tips to help you make your first forays into property investment a success:

-          It is important to understand that property investment is a business, not a hobby. You need to be prepared for long hours of research, negotiation and, sometimes, disappointment. Going it alone can provide fantastic returns for some, but only those with a committed business mentality.

-          Property investment is truly a long-term investment and accepting that there may be times when your outlay exceeds your investment income is part and parcel of the process. Be prepared for unforeseen circumstances, such as property repairs, which can affect the time it takes to see decent returns.

-          Beginning your adventure with a small project is advisable. It’s easy to get carried away if you fall in love with a property (remember, you won’t be living there, this is business!) and bite off more than you can chew without knowing if you’re cut out for property investment. There will be plenty of opportunities for tackling big projects once you have gained some experience – though you, like many, may learn that smaller projects can actually offer better rewards!

Remember, with The House Crowd you get a very good return on your money and need do nothing at all. You have no mortgage payments, no bills, no void periods, no tenant problems, no maintenance or repair issues to worry about. And, of course, you can spread your money over as many different properties as you like rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket!

The House Crowd is a brand new concept in property investment which allows people to invest small amounts via crowdfunding (for more information on the process, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//how-it-works/). We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments (for more information about us, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//about/our-manifesto/). If you’ve read enough and want to invest now, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//invest-in-property/).

The Perils of Investing In Repossessed Property

The Perils of Investing In Repossessed Property

Our MD, Frazer Fearnhead has just had an article published in the Daily Mail/ This is Money on the Pitfalls Of Investing in Repossessed Property.

It’s never plain sailing when you are trying to buy investment properties at rock bottom prices, as some property investors have already have found out to their considerable cost.

But if you are a prospective purchaser of BMV (Below Market Value) properties such as repossessions, then you will undoubtedly be interested in the sort of nonsense that goes on behind the scenes.

It is, nevertheless, something The House Crowd will continue to take in its stride so we can deliver high yielding investment properties for all our property investors.


Have a read through the article:

The Pitfalls of Buying Repossessed Property


As a quick summary, Frazer goes into some detail about both the pitfalls and opportunities on offer through investing in repossessed property.

Given the state of the economy, he states, there is an abundance of BMV deals available for investors. Whether through estate agents, auctions, or (if you have the resources to buy in large numbers directly) from asset management companies, there is opportunity to be found.

Nonetheless, it always helps to be a cash buyer when it comes to auctions. A lot of properties may be unmortgageable, and in any case, you will have to prove your funds before agents will even consider accepting your offer.

Investing in repossessed properties offers the opportunity to either refurbish and resell, or to rent out as a Buy To Let investment. However, there are a lot of factors that are necessary for you to take into account before you involve yourself in such an investment.

Check out the full article to find out more. Alternatively, you can always get in touch with us directly. We’re always happy to answer any questions or queries you might have, and to set you in the right direction for your property investment journey.

You can also find out more about investing through property crowdfunding by registering with us by clicking the purple button below, or take a look at our current investment opportunities by clicking on the blue button!

Register Now for more Info

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Kickstarter kicks off in the UK

Earlier in the year, we blogged about the creative project funding platform, Kickstarter, announcing plans to launch UK operations in Q4 of 2012. Now, we’re delighted to report Kickstarter has kept to its word, launched successfully on our shores and begun offering our savvy entrepreneurs, artists and other creative groups a platform on which to pitch for much-needed investment via crowdfunding.

The success of Kickstarter across the pond cannot be underestimated – since its launch on April 28, 2009, over 350,000,000USD has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 300,000 bright ideas.

In our opinion, the arrival of Kickstarter on our shores should be welcomed with open arms. It has the potential to coax the very best of our budding entrepreneurs out of the woodwork and provide a necessary shake-up of common perceptions about the importance of crowdfunding, to our already shell-shocked economy. Furthermore, Kickstarter allows everyday people with great ideas, who are perhaps lacking the self-assurance to commit wholly to their creative idea, to essentially “ask the crowd” to gauge the value of their start-up business or creative visions, and hopefully, obtain that all-important vote of confidence.

Now, more than ever, we need to look to fair and transparent methods of investing together to help give a much needed jumpstart to our stalled economy, where investment funds are becoming as hard to find as a credible political party. Here at The House Crowd, we’re confident Kickstarter is an ideal platform from which to do this.

The House Crowd is a brand new concept in property investment which allows people to invest small amounts via crowdfunding (for more information on the process, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//how-it-works/). We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments (for more information about us, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//about/our-manifesto/). If you’ve read enough and want to invest now, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//invest-in-property/).

£300m Money Pot to Tackle Plethora of Empty Homes

We were extremely pleased by Communities Minister Don Foster’s announcement earlier in the week, pledging to ensure that some 5,000 empty homes could be refurbished and brought back onto the market as the government battles to end the national housing shortage.

Local councils, housing associations and a range of other organisations including community and voluntary groups are being invited to bid for money from a £300million pot of funds, in order to tackle the number of empty and run down houses in the Greater Manchester area, which could help rejuvenate often blighted local areas.

With a nationwide council house waiting list of over four million people, we think this is a great idea, as it will help tackle the plethora of empty run down properties to be found throughout the UK. Furthermore, it will hopefully help alleviate the vicious cycle where one run down home can bring an area down, which can then spiral into whole communities being affected.

Recent government figures show the number of empty homes is already decreasing, having dropped from 300,000 in 2009 to 259,000 in 2012.

At The House Crowd, we purchase BMV properties which are often unliveable in when we acquire them, and regenerate them into attractive homes before renting them out, providing affordable housing in areas that are often desperately short of housing.  And all of which still delivers an excellent return on investment for our investors.  So we’re providing a community service with the help of our investors, whilst still providing them with a better return on their investment than they would find with any bank.

The House Crowd is a brand new concept in property investment which allows people to invest small amounts via crowdfunding (for more information on the process, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//how-it-works/). We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments (for more information about us, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//about/our-manifesto/). If you’ve read enough and want to invest now, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//invest-in-property/).

The Manchester Mortgage

Manchester City Council looks set to announce a ‘Manchester Mortgage’ in the coming weeks, offering first-time buyers in the city a mortgage with just a five per cent deposit on properties up to the value of £142,500.

The scheme, which is similar to programmes already in place in nearby Oldham, Trafford and Rochdale, will see the council help struggling home-buyers access mortgages through Manchester Building Society and the Co-operative Bank, by underwriting up to 20 per cent of their loans.

It is anticipated the scheme will receive final sign-off -with a maximum £6m risk- from the council’s executive committee in late November.

Here at The House Crowd, we believe any reputable scheme aimed at providing a pathway to home ownership should be applauded. However, given that the council stands to receive at least £500 from partner lenders for every loan set up under the scheme, as well as boosts to council tax revenues, it is important to reiterate that programmes such as this need to be implemented with wholly transparent purposes to be successful. Here’s trusting this one is…

The House Crowd offers an alternative solution for first-time buyers struggling to raise a deposit for their first home. For as little as £1000, our crowdfunding property investment model provides a minimum annual return of 6%, in addition to a share of house sale profits – ideal for growing your deposit in order to take your first step onto the property ladder.

The House Crowd is a brand new concept in property investment which allows people to invest small amounts via crowdfunding (for more information on the process, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//how-it-works/). We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments (for more information about us, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//about/our-manifesto/). If you’ve read enough and want to invest now, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//invest-in-property/).

Rejuvenating Manchester High Streets

Rejuvenating Manchester High Streets

In August of this year, we blogged about ‘Town Team pilots’ being rolled-out in the wake of Mary Portas’ High Street Review and the value of such entrepreneurial approaches to rejuvenating Manchester high streets, and across the country. You can read the blog post here.

Following on from this, it has recently been announced that Manchester Council is to inject more than £300,000 to breathe new life into Greater Manchester high streets – specifically, Levenshulme and Cheetham Hill precincts after they both missed out on cash from the Government’s Portas Pilot programme.

Funding for Manchester High Streets

Both of the aforementioned areas did receive £10,000 consolation funding from the Government after bids for greater funding failed earlier this year. However, Manchester Council’s decision to provide far greater funding to promote these Manchester high streets, drive shopper footfall and help bring fledgeling local businesses on to the high street is significant and likely to achieve long-term results.

A council spokesperson has already talked-up the benefits of tackling aesthetically displeasing unfilled premises in the funded areas, however, here at The House Crowd, we believe the true value of the newly announced funding will be to attract further private development, transport investment and leisure facilities – all of which are central to increasing property value and key ingredients for building self-sustaining inner-city communities.

The House Crowd and Property Crowdfunding

Property crowdfunding is now taking the investment world by storm, following our brave debut onto the scene in 2012. We were the first (and continue to be the best) platform for property crowdfunding.

We are proud to offer better returns on investment than many other investment models, and allow people previously locked out of the property market to benefit from the lucrative world of property investment. What’s more, we’re helping bring much-needed new homes across the Greater Manchester area.

For more information on the process of getting involved with property crowdfunding, visit our Crowdfunding Process page.

We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments.

To find out more about getting great returns on investment with The House Crowd, start by getting to know us here.