Reeds Rains Property Blog

Property News from Reeds Rains

Fun Home Projects – Design Your Own Ceramic Mug or Plate

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image source: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/style/diy-mothers-day-mug/

This is a really fun and simple project that the whole family can  join in. Let the children create their own personalized cups, make gifts for friends and family, put your favourite quotes on a set of coffee cups, the ideas are only limited by your imagination.

 

You need:

  1.  Ceramic cups or plates
  2.  Ceramic pens (also known as pottery pens and porcelain pens). They come in a variety of colours and can be purchased for only a few pounds for a set.
  3.  HB Pencil
  4.  Scissors
  5.  Sticky Tape
  6.  Baby wipes
  7.  Tissue paper or tracing paper

 

Step 1: Draw your design on to the tissue paper with a pencil

Once you get confident you can draw straight onto the cup or plate.

Step 2: Turn tissue paper into transfer paper

Turn over your sheet of  tissue paper, and scribble over the back of your drawing. This will deposit a layer of graphite, so you will be able to transfer the designs.  

Step 3: Transfer the design

To keep your design secure, tape it to your mug or cup (drawing side up). Trace over the lines of your drawing with the pencil, taking it carefully so you don’t rip the tissue paper. Once you have gone over all the lines, remove the paper. 

Step 4: Trace over the design with ceramic marker

If you are using ceramic markers for the first time, just test them on some scrap paper first.  Once the ink is flowing, carefully trace over your design.  If you make a mistake you can use the baby wipes to erase it. 
 
Step 5: Let it dry

Allow the finished mug to air-dry overnight.  Check your ceramic pens for instructions, some just need 24 hours, others a bit longer.  Some brands also require baking for 30 minutes to fix the paint.  Once the ink is fixed it is ready to use.

 

Check out our pinterest board for more  ideas http://www.pinterest.com/reedsrains1868/diy-painted-ceramics/

 

 

What Landlords Need to Know Before Doing Any Home Improvements

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As yet another bank holiday approaches, your mind may be turning to home improvement.

Given the damp and cold conditions of last winter, this is a timely opportunity to check your properties for water tightness.

The options are either to do this yourself, or pay a professional to do the task.

If you intend to tackle improvements yourself, ensure that you are fully aware of your legal position.

Services such as gas and electricity, glazing and aspects of work that affects drainage and connection to the water mains usually require a sign-off by competent bodies who can legally authorise the work and some by your local Building Control Officer’s.

Individuals may carry out work such as fitting flooring, painting and decorating, tiling, fitting a bathroom or kitchen and any form of carpentry.

Those who are inexperienced must establish that they have the relevant skills and are realistic about time-scale.

Fitting laminate flooring, for example, may appear straightforward, but did you realize that the flooring must be left in the intended room for up to 48 hours before laying; this could take half of your planned holiday. It is also vital to consider whether your limited free time is best used in undertaking such projects.

Even small jobs can go awry, especially when working to a deadline. The outlay of an extra few hundred or thousand pounds on employing professionals to improve your property enables you to enjoy your leisure time.

 

RR Your local Reeds Rains office can assist you in finding reliable professionals to improve your home or investment property. Call 0845 450 0865* or email Landlords@ReedsRains. co.uk 

Buy-to-let index - May 2014

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Rent rises drop to less than half inflation 

  • Annual rent rises fall to just 0.6%, less than half the latest rate of CPI inflation (1.6%)
  • Rent rises total 12.9% since January 2010, but less than cumulative inflation of 14.5%
  • Tenant finances improve in April, as late rent drops by £18 million since March

Rent rises across England and Wales have slowed to less than half the current rate of inflation, according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from LSL Property Services plc, which owns the UK’s largest lettings agent network, including national chain Reeds Rains.

David Newnes, director of estate agents Reeds Rains, part of LSL Property Services, comments: “Proposed reforms to the private rented sector are clearly well-intentioned, but will not help the rental market.  For a number of reasons, tenants would be worse off if all the proposed changes were imposed.”

David Newnes continues, “Private renting is not in any form of crisis.  Not only are rents rising more slowly than inflation, but the cost of private renting is also rising in line with household incomes.  Even before the economic weather changed so recently, the last few years have seen rent rises dwarfed by inflation most of the time.  Meanwhile the private rented sector has absorbed millions of households while other tenures have been unable to take up the slack.

“Poorly thought-through proposals could throw a spanner in the works.  Firstly, rents would be higher. When tenant fees were banned in Scotland rents rose 4% in the space of six months.  This is ten times the rate of rent rises in England and Wales over the same six month period, where such a ban had not been introduced.   Before this they were mostly flat.

“Secondly, the equal treatment of potential tenants would also suffer.  If tenant fees are banned and the landlord and letting agent have to bear the cost, there is every possibility letting agents and landlords will start pre-vetting tenants.  Furthermore, if tenants have no advance financial commitment then there is nothing to stop them pursuing multiple tenancies at the same time and just taking the first one that completes, dropping the others.

“Finally, it should be remembered how not all landlords are ‘fat-cat investors’.  Many only have one property used as their pension.  Others are ‘accidental landlords’ and rely on the rent to pay their mortgage.  If tenants drop out at the last moment, this could mean hardship.  Missed mortgage payments would lead to possible repossession.  New landlords would be wary of entering the market or extending portfolios.  Many would exit – and again that would be bad for tenants.

“Far more effective would be if politicians focused more on encouraging the supply of new homes.  Parliament should be debating how to help increase investment in the private rented sector even further”

David Newnes continues: “Improved mortgage lending is helping landlords to expand their portfolios in many areas of the country.  And while every corner of England and Wales has its own local market, the overall trend is clear.  Landlords are prospering – and tenants are feeling a parallel benefit.”

Read the full Buy-to-let Index - 2014 here 

Scotland House Price Index

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Scottish housing recovery stronger than in North of England 

  • Scottish house prices only 2.4% below April 2008 peak, compared to 8.1% in North of England
  • Average prices in Scotland up £6,435 in a year – highest annual rise since October 2010
  • House prices set a new record in Aberdeen City, up 17.1% over the last 12 months
  • Q1 2014 sales up 25% compared to Q1 2013 fuelled by home movers and increased supply

Donald MacLellan, Chairman of Walker Fraser Steele Chartered Surveyors, part of LSL Property Services, comments: “For households all across Scotland, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The average price in Scotland is now only 2.4% (£3,900) below its pre-recession April 2008 peak. The recovery in Scotland has now taken a stronger grip than in the northern most regions of England. Just south of the border lies a reminder of the challenging road back from the depths of the recession, with the average price in the North of England still lingering 8.1% below its 2007/2008 pre-crisis peak. As the independence vote looms on the near horizon and the debates become more ferocious, it will be interesting to note if this has any impact on current trends.

“The Help to Buy scheme and buoyant demand from first-time buyers have been the catalysts spurring the Scottish market on. Sustained growth is bedding down across the country, and on an annual basis average property prices have risen in 66% of all areas of Scotland. The flagship success story is Aberdeen City, where average house prices reached a new record of £219,117 in March 2014, after 17.1% annual growth. The revived confidence at the bottom of the property ladder is rising through the rungs, emboldening home movers to take the plunge after years of hesitation. The highest increase in sales has been in classic family semi-detached homes, increasing by 28%. As activity levels strengthen throughout the price ranges, overall sales in Scotland are up 25% in the first three months of 2014 compared to the same period last year.

“Housebuilding initiatives and replenished supply are also greasing the wheels on the highway of recovery. New waterside developments and a fresh wave of housing stock in Inverclyde have helped raise average house prices in the area by 19.6% over the past year, the highest annual growth experienced in Scotland.

“However, there remains a note of caution and the recovery still requires nurturing. There are corners of the country where the ‘feel-good’ factor has yet to be seen. In Midlothian, average house prices have dropped 10.8% annually and two of Scotland’s seven cities suffered monthly house price falls in March 2014. By keeping interest rates at a historic low, the Bank of England is maintaining the steady cost of borrowing and supporting housing market growth. But whether the uncertain fiscal impact of an independent Scotland will have ramifications for the wider recovery remains to be seen.” 

Read the full Scottish House Price Index - 2014 here

House Price Index - April 2014

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Average house prices climb £1,200 in April - setting new record 

  • Average prices now at £263,113 peak – £54,000 above recession low point in April 2009
  • House sales up 40% year-on-year, with 72,000 transactions in April
  • Sales activity fuelled by increases in first-time buyers and buy-to-let landlords
  • East Anglia joins ranks of London and South East with prices exceeding pre-recession highs

David Newnes, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents, owned by LSL Property Services plc, comments: “Average prices across England and Wales have risen £1,200 during April, setting a new record. Prices have now climbed over £54,000 (26%) above the recession rock-bottom of April 2009, when the nation was gripped in the gloomy depths of the financial crisis. 

“As the floods and bad weather at the start of the year become a distant memory, sales in April have returned to more normal levels. Total house sales stand 40% higher than at the same point last year, totalling 72,000 in April. Activity is largely being fuelled by increasing numbers of purchases by first-time buyers and buy-to-let landlords, as consumer confidence sweeps the country. Low inflation and healthy wage growth are energizing household finances, and infusing aspiring buyers with greater optimism. 

“Considering the regional picture, while London may be forging the way with 13.2% annual house price growth, the rest of the country is definitely following the trail. Growth is emanating out from the capital, and prices and activity are progressing steadily across all regions. There are success stories from Reeds Rains branches all across England and Wales – with Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottingham all witnessing house price inflation above the national average. East Anglia has become the third region following London and the South East where house prices have reached record highs, and have exceeded their pre-recession peak. In a key indicator of the vigour of the recovery, over the last twelve months prices have risen in 89% of the unitary authorities across the country. 

“But supply levels need to keep pace, thus allowing the wheels of the housing market to continue turning. Constrained supply in the capital has already moderated total London sales over the past twelve months. Demand shows no sign of slowing: more house building is imperative to keep the momentum going, and to ensure that price rises are sustainable, in particular for first-time buyers – who remain the key ingredient at the lower end of the market, oiling the cogs of growth. 

“With the more stringent Mortgage Market Review (MMR) lending conditions now in place, and tighter regulation and stress tests on banks, the borrowing process is slowing, but this isn’t a setback for the market so long as the government encourages a healthy flow of available housing stock.”

Read the full house price index - 2014 here

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