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HOUSE&HOME INVESTMENT IN PROPERTY has always been a top priority for the British Asian community and this practice has its roots in the culture and tradition prevalent in the Indian sub-continent. Bequeathing property to the next generation is a time honoured South Asian custom and has been passed on for generations. Whatever the impact of Brexit, one can be rest assured that the market will continue to attract the Asian community, be it first time buyers or investors. As the Brexit negotiations progress over the next two years and barriers brought down, the property market is bound to stabilise and sellers confidence buoyed. At the time of writing this piece house sales in London are still down 20 per cent year on year but one can take comfort in the fact that the huge demand for property in London and the shortage of it will attract buyers nevertheless, if not locally, from further afield - the weakened pound making this easier. Last year’s visit by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi led to more than £9 billion in commercial deals between India and the UK and this will further encourage property investment from Indian buyers looking to set up their businesses in UK. North of England the market is looking bright, after years of decay, and that is comforting. The other factor that will impinge on the property market is the impact of Brexit negotiations on jobs and this is especially so for London. After all the South Asian community continues to have a huge appetite for property investment in the capital. A hard Brexit is not in the best interest of the nation. Whatever the outcome of events, the swings and roundabouts of market forces are bound to ensure that sanity is maintained, at least for the foreseeable future.
WELCOME TO OUR 7TH EDITION of Asian House and Home. I hope you will agree we have been getting stronger with each successive edition, both in terms of content and layout. We are in interesting times in the property market; a state of flux, caused by events which the reader will be all too familiar with. Soon the London property market will be pricing out its own communities and the average household will not be in a position to afford to buy a property in any ward in London. The consequence will be families who live and work in London will need to relocate to towns outside of London. The focus will be in towns where train stations are being constructed to make London commutable. One example is Luton, where the journey time will be 22mins and you can purchase a home for £250k. As a result, Luton has been identified as a top-performing town across the UK for house price growth over the last year. Property values in Luton have jumped by nearly a fifth (19.4 per cent) over 2016 and are nearly £42,000 higher typically than a year ago, according to Halifax with house prices surging at more than double the 7.5 per cent annual price growth seen across the UK, generally over the year. The other focus will be on the Help To Buy Scheme which will allow those with lower incomes onto the housing ladder. The recent white paper designed to fix the broken housing market is been debated but the issue will not be addressed unless there is true meeting of minds. That of the developer and the government. Merely imposing an agenda on the market will not work. The commercial viewpoint of the developer must be understood and addressed if there are to be any real changes on the ground. I sincerely hope you enjoy this edition. If there are any comments please feel free to email the editorial team.
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This month in Asian House & Home… 6 LANDLORD NEWS A lowdown of the latest property news 12 NEW BUILDS Insight into standards 14 SCHOOL CATCHMENT It’s a wise move to invest well!
FABULOUS PERIOD PROPERTIES
21 INHERITANCE TAX Making the law work for you
17 VASTU Visitors bring good luck
28 ECO HOME Green up your home 29 OUTHOUSES Unleash your creativity 34 HOTSPOTS Great travel updates for you
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Rachel Dimond Editor
Rachel Dimond, Contributing Editor has brought her wealth of editorial experience to Asian House and Home. With her extensive background in publishing, she has enjoyed guiding the team throughout the development and rebranding of this issue.
35 AUCTIONS Sharp advice from the experts
42 OVER COFFEE Zach shares his secrets to success
INDIAN HERB GARDEN Yogesh Patel Executive editor Yogesh has a passion for anything property related! He helps SMEs and private clients with their property taxation matters and supports them grow their business in a tax efficient way. Yogesh works for Godley & Co, a firm of Chartered Accountants & Tax Specialists. He is a Chartered Tax Adviser and accountant drawing on over ten years of advisory experience, including 7 years’ experience at PWC. After graduating from LSE, Yogesh worked at Blackrock Investment Managers, analysing property investments both in the UK and overseas.
SPRING 2017 I ASIAN HOUSE & HOME
A LOWDOWN OF THE LATEST
PROPERTY NEWS From upping the standards to longer term tenancies. WORDS: RACHEL DIMOND
ASIAN HOUSE & HOME I SPRING 2017
SPRING 2017 I ASIAN HOUSE & HOME
you give me an update on the recent legal changes? Q Can
THERE IS NO BETTER WAY TO GET A GRIP ON WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE PROPERTY WORLD THAN SPEAKING TO THOSE RIGHT IN THE THICK OF IT. I GRABBED A QUICK LUNCH WITH KURT STEINMETZ, AND HE COMMENTED ON SOME HOT TOPICS OF INTEREST TO OUR READERS.
The government’s current tax changes surround the landlord’s rental income, such as the decreasing mortgage interest relief and increased stamp duty on second or more home purchases. There have been quite a few recent changes around the landlord’s requirements like the Right to Rent checks, Retaliatory Evictions and Deregulation Act 2015, and the Section 21 requirements. I’d say a majority of landlords out there are neither aware of these nor doing the right thing.
the latest on energy efficiency? Q What’s
the property crisis, for one thing. I feel it’s important for my clients and followers to have an overview, so I’ve written one, as anyone interested in property could do with a quick introduction and overview.
April 2018 will see commercial and residential Energy Performance Certificate requirements change again. The minimum energy efficiency standard will be set to Landlords: an EPC rating. Several landlords getting it right? and property owners aren’t even I’d say a majority of aware of this, let alone be landlords out there are prepared for it!
What gave you the property bug, and Q why do you love what you do?
My father and his side of the family have always owned a lot of property, so I’ve been in and neither aware of these around property since an early age. changes nor doing the What are your I love the day-to-day work, from right thing. views on the latest advising a client on the purchase of Housing White Paper? a small one bed in zone 3 yesterday A lot of us in the property sector, to closing a £1million plus deal today. I including myself, had been awaiting the love my clients - some can be eccentric and release of the white paper for quite some time. require special attention and it can be fast-paced and However, the document’s contents were somewhat stressful at times, but generally it’s rather interesting of a damp squib, as more needs to be done to ease and enjoyable.
HOUSING WHITE PAPER 2017 February 27, 2017 An overview by Kurt Steinmetz
he government’s much anticipated housing white paper 2017 has finally been handed down and it seems clear the government is keen to bring institutional investment to the rental market. A key point in the paper states that ‘Encouraging more institutional investors into housing, including for building more homes for private rent, and encouraging family- friendly tenancies.’ Should we be worried? Not necessarily, not unless you’re a rogue landlord, but it’s definitely something to have on your radar. The 106-page report goes on to state that more needs to be done to prevent homelessness, but predictably, the details
ASIAN HOUSE & HOME I SPRING 2017
of how this will be done appears to be lacking. It goes without saying that in a country as wealthy as ours, we should do a lot more to help this issue. All in all the white paper seems to have been watered down and we can’t pretend we’re anything other than underwhelmed with it. We’ve digested the long-awaited document and picked out the five key points for consideration.
Perhaps the most radical and important announcement for landlords was that the government will now be encouraging “family-friendly” tenancies by ensuring they are longer-term. Currently
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more than four million households rent their home from a private landlord which, according to the white paper, is nearly twice as many as 10 years ago. Demand for rental accommodation is clearly sky high and the paper claims this is because it’s “nigh on impossible” for tenants to save the deposit for their own property. The government hopes longer tenancies will make renting safer and more secure. In previous white papers there was still the provision for adding in break clauses, which meant that either party would be able to end the term before the three year period. The majority of tenants and landlords enjoy the flexibility that comes with renting, and fixing long-term contracts will somewhat hinder this freedom. More importantly, current tenancies across London average around 22 months, with very few ended by landlords. We therefore see fixing longer tenancies having little impact on how people view renting in London. Longer tenancies will only apply to rental homes provided by housing associations and institutional investors. However the government has stated that they will be working closely with the British Property Federation to “ensure these longer-tenancies become widely available”.
2 Affordable rent
There was more good news for renters as the government announced they are now encouraging more investment in building homes for ‘affordable rent’, and will encourage councils to get more involved too. The paper defined “affordable rent homes” as 20% below market values.
electrical checks 3 Mandatory
The government also announced in the white paper that they were considering mandatory electrical checks for rented properties. Does that mean more red tape for landlords? At the moment the law provides an obligation for landlords to ensure that their electrical installations and equipment are safe. However other than in Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) there is no requirement to produce a yearly or 5 yearly certificate in the same way that the rules are clear on gas safety checks. The vast majority of landlords care about ensuring their properties are safe and well maintained, but at present there is too much confusion on what exactly their obligations are.
ASIAN HOUSE & HOME I SPRING 2017
We always advise our clients to have an annual Portable Appliances Test (PAT) and a 5 yearly full electrical check, but unfortunately many landlords don’t do this and risk facing issues with their electrics during the tenancy. According to the white paper, the next steps on these initiatives will be sent out by the government shortly.
Britain building more homes 4 Get
The white paper starts with a passionate pledge from Prime Minister Theresa May: “We need to build many more houses, of the type people want to live in, in the places they want to live… This will slow the rise in housing costs so that more ordinary working families can afford to buy a home and it will also bring the cost of renting down.” So what exactly are the government’s plans to encourage house building and deliver 1 million new homes by 2020 as they promised pre-election:
•“We will encourage housing
private rented sector, and doing more to prevent homelessness and help households currently priced out of the market.”
ISA & Starter Home Initiative 5Lifetime
The government may have ditched their “ownership at all costs” mantra, but the white paper still announced new measures to help renters get a foot on the property ladder. The Government will introduce the Lifetime ISA in April 2017, as a welcome relief to the increased tax burden on the nation. This ISA will help renters save for a deposit and entitle them to a 25% bonus on up to £4,000 of savings a year. Their savings and the bonus can be put towards a deposit for a home, or withdrawn when they reach 60. In addition to a Lifetime ISA, the white paper also declared that they will be launching the Starter Homes Initiative. The scheme will help first-time buyers under the age of 40 to buy a house with a 20% discount on market rates. Buyers are only eligible for the scheme if they have an income of less than £90,000 in London or £80,000 elsewhere in the UK.
associations and local authorities to build more.” Councils will now be required to come up with a 5 year housing plan based Theresa May: on the housing need “We need to build many in their area, and more houses, of the type people face an annual audit to ensure want to live in, in the places they they’re hitting want to live… This will slow the targets. rise in housing costs so that more
Green Belt battle 6 The
To build or not to build on the green belt, that is the question! The much heated discussion has been raging for quite some time, ordinary working families can with many MPs •“Ensure that afford to buy a home and homes are built arguing that building it will also bring the cost of quickly once on the green belt renting down.” planning permissions was necessary to free are granted.” The up the space the country time permitted between needs for house building. planning permission and the start The white paper has ended of building is the debate, confirming that Green belt being reduced from three protection will not be weakened apart from to two years. “exceptional circumstances.” As Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, said, “The green belt is 13% of the land. We can solve this •“We will diversify the housing market, opening it up to smaller builders and crisis without having to take huge tracts those who embrace innovative and efficient out of the green belt.” methods.” A £3 billion fund is to be created to encourage small firms to build more houses.
•“Finally, because building the homes
we need will take time, we will also take more steps to continue helping people now, including by improving safeguards in the
KURT IS BASED IN LONDON AND RUNS HIS OWN CONSULTANCY CALLED SPACE PROPERTY CONSULTANTS WWW.SPACEPROPERTYCONSULTANTS.CO.UK
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NOT BUILT TO LAST… New build homes have a shelf life of 30 years. Is this fake news or a worrying decline of standards? WORDS: RACHEL DIMOND
here has been a flurry of news items about government’s strategy to break the stranglehold the defects found in new build homes of a handful of large developers. However, some by less than happy customers. Some housing associations are themselves now very large say there will always be a few problems, due to mergers, such as Clarion, a merger between given how many new homes are built. However, Circle and Affinity Sutton. This group developed prolonged inconvenience suffered by new owners is Orchard Village, a total of 387 homes, the majority not something to ignore. At the very least, everyone being social rented. involved can learn and hopefully improve practices. It is a scheme that may be demolished and We take a quick look at some of the concerns. rebuilt due to the catalogue of ongoing defects, Bovis Homes recently allocated £7million to repair including leaks, mould, windows not opening poorly built new homes: The interim boss publicly or closing, staircases coming away from walls, apologised to the unhappy customers. broken heating systems and worse. In 2013, on The Home Builders Federation and The National its completion, the then Tory committee and local House Building Council (the main warranty providers) government minister, Nick Boles, put it in the top annually conduct customer service surveys and the five new housing developments in the UK. Not scores in terms of overall satisfaction so much fake news as just fake are usually four or five stars. work, it seems. Persimmon, which owns the Suggestions that Church Homes Brand has Where does the fault lie? new builds won’t last more seen its rating go down to Design plays a big part, and than 30 years are worrying, 3 stars. when corners are cut this especially as the Government Research by Shelter might well explain some of has announced a commitment confirms that half of the the problems. However, most to building 1m new homes in buyers of new build homes building companies employ England by 2020. have had major problems. sub contractors, who range from These can vary from an issue with exceptional, reliable and skilled utilities and fittings not completed to craftspeople, to ‘cowboys’, with many deep-seated construction faults. in between, whose work will vary daily due to Suggestions that new builds won’t last more than a number of factors. Supervision may also slide if 30 years are worrying, especially as the Government speed of build and economy are key drivers, which has announced a commitment to building 1million is the case today. new homes in England by 2020. From 2014-5, there was an increase of 25% more new builds. Quality of Materials Some of this is down to poor quality of Is this due to a monopoly of large manufactured materials, or choices based on developers? harsh budget constraints or greed for maximum There are 19,000 fewer building firms than when the profit. In comparison, for example, many windows recession struck in 2009 which itself puts an enormous in Europe have an advanced design where both weight of responsibility on the major developers. sides open, and they open all the way out. Also, 15Housing minister Gavin Barwell announced 20% of houses in Germany are pre-manufactured in that housing associations would form part of the factories, which reduces the chance of error on site.
ASIAN HOUSE & HOME I SPRING 2015
Training & regulatory procedures
Many of those who work in the building industry in England have no formal qualifications or professional status like that in Germany, which is highly regulated and has strict rules on construction and energy efficiency. (The ‘master craftsman status’ in Germany is a licence, which can be revoked if the work is substandard.) In England it takes less than two years to train as a plasterer, bricklayer or other tradesperson and obtain NVQ qualifications in compliance with the industry standards. The average construction apprenticeship lasts 20 months, although a 3-year degree course is planned for September 2017, which might help improve matters.
The legal stuff
Property is excluded from the Sale and Supply of Goods Act, which offers legal rights when there’s a problem. Most owners of new homes must rely on the 10-year Buildmark warranty provided by the National House Building Council. However, if a defect comes to light in the first two years the builder is obliged to resolve it; after that you have to claim on NHBC insurance, which only covers structural issues. Home owners only have a couple of years to identify, report and resolve non-structural flaws that might take months to come to light, and looking for faults is not something you think to do with a new home. In France, home owners can take legal action against the developer for 30 years and the builder is held responsible.
WHAT YOU CAN DO Look at the site. An unreliable builder may be very disorganised. Request an independent snagging company inspection before completion. Make sure the builders are members of the NHBC. Get legal advice early on contracts, and ensure a cancellation clause if the builder does not complete by a specified date. Ask first phase residents about their experiences if you are buying in the second or third phase of releases. Avoid buying in June or December when developers may cut corners to get sale money in before their half yearly accounts are due.
The Brexit factor
Brexit will also impact the industry although exactly how is uncertain. Although many European workers have been employed up to now, it is generally assumed it will not be as easy to employ them in the future. Perhaps that means standards will go up, although it is common knowledge that most Europeans are highly skilled and work hard. As with most things Brexit, this has to be ‘watch this space’.
Developers and building companies with integrity, a long track record of satisfied customers and a solid, well trained work force will learn from customer feedback, continue to apologise and rectify faults when these occur. Cheating in all areas of life is on the increase so the reputation and subsequent profit margins of the honest developers are guaranteed, especially if more companies flouting decent standards are named and shamed. However, the pressure to build more homes, in a short time span, at low cost will certainly test everyone.
SPRING 2017 I ASIAN HOUSE & HOME
CATCH YOURSELF A
GOOD SCHOOL Facts to assist your school versus property choices. WORDS: RACHEL DIMOND
ou and your family will reap multiple rewards neighbourhood school, with no selection process, from a good state education. The prospect became the norm. of capital appreciation for buying near a high The1988 Education Reform Act gave parents the performing school has never been better. legal right to choose which school their child went to. One in four parents with school-age children Competition between schools ignited and goverment have either bought or rented a new property to polices supported this, leading to the controversial secure an address in the catchment area of the league tables of school performance. Basically it best schools, according to a report by Santander, ended the culture of children going to their local October 2016. According to the survey, London school and introduced new selection criteria, with has the highest proportion of parents (46%) doing the dice loaded in favour of those who are property this and they are willing pay a premium of over smart and able. £70,000 to buy a house close to a good school. The premium of moving to the right area for a good According to the OFSTED annual report school is the equivalent of a private education for one (2015) the Greater London region performed child for 14 years, but you get to keep the house… particularly well.15 London boroughs Catchment logistics were in the top 20 for the The most straightforward way percentage of secondary ONE IN for parents to ensure that their school students attending FOUR PARENTS children attend an outstanding good or outstanding WITH SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN HAVE EITHER BOUGHT OR RENTED OFSTED rated school is to first schools. Seven out of A NEW PROPERTY TO SECURE AN buy or rent a house within its the nine local authorities ADDRESS IN THE CATCHMENT catchment area. In most cases, where this is the case AREA OF THE BEST SCHOOLS local authorities require evidence are in the capital, such as REPORT BY SANTANDER, of council tax payment and Westminster and Kensington OCTOBER 2016 electoral-roll registration as proof & Chelsea. of address – meaning there is little to Some back story… stop parents renting or buying a property Prior to 1988 most children went to one of and using it as a basis to apply, so long as they three schools within their local area depending are not paying council tax on a second residence. on 11 plus results. There was fierce competition Devious ways round this are now under increased to get into the grammar schools - the two surveillance. secondary options were somewhat looked down Areas are shrinking fast on, though many who went there flourished Many catchment areas have been reduced due vocationally. The rigid selection procedure to better state education and soaring population. unfairly excluded many from the chance to In Greenwich, Lewisham and Kensington & Chelsea, succeed academically and by 1975 most schools 80% of schools couldn’t meet the demand for amalgamated to became Comprehensives. places last year. The 11 plus system ended and the free
ASIAN HOUSE & HOME I SPRING 2017
STATE IS DESIRABLE Good state schools have recently outperformed many private schools. The Tatler has had a state school guide for 3 years now. Universities have a keen interest in state educated applicants. It is free and, in theory, accessible to all. Secondary school places are offered on the basis of selection criteria and catchment area. Most have a sibling rule. A poor state school might become outstanding if the leadership changes, and vice versa. (There are surprises and shocks in school performance just like the stock market) Parents and children affect the overall performance as demographic factors also shape changes.
Sibling provision reduces availability. Catchment areas can shrink to one road, so it is wise to consult each school, as they all have different rules which can change over time. Catchment areas are decided by exact distances, usually in straight lines, rather than roads.
Some families choose a basement flat over a first, second or third floor flat, as the child in the basement takes priority over those on the higher floors in the same building, as they’re closer to the school. More than a hundred London schools now report catchments of less than 300 metres. Some refuse applications if you are more than 92 metres away. Places might go to those cheating the system.
Local authorities are clamping down on the merest whiff, so it’s very unadvisable. If you do, you need a very thick skin as those at the school gate will know who you are. Giles Coren, the Kentish Town columnist, reacted with understandable fury after his daughter failed to get a place at Eleanor Palmer school, literally a few metres from his house.
A double six: work on strategy
Move before you are ready, to ensure you are in the right place. This should be a at least 2-3 years before your child needs the school in question. Renting or buying a second home are both good options. This way you are free to move once you get a place. You might even choose to move from the catchment area within years. Recent research has shown that more than a quarter of all families (27%) who move to be within a catchment area leave as soon as a school place is secured for their child. Take any property in the right geographic area rather than looking for the ‘right’ house or flat. You can do it up, convert or adapt, as and when, secure in the knowledge your property will increase in value.
Any property very close to a good or outstanding school will appreciate in value and sell fast. This trend is not going to change as two thirds of London schools are oversubscribed, according to current research by Savills. Explore options: Barnet still has the most good secondary places, with Bromley and Hounslow next, so house prices will continue to rise in these areas. Some people don’t want to be near a school, so if
they’re still living in these areas, they’ll be keen to sell.
The average premium paid to buy near the school of choice in the UK
The average premium paid to buy near the school of choice in the UK is 44% based on reserach by HouseSimple.com. using Zoopla sold price data. In Harringay it is 45% which adds nearly £200,000 to the average house price in the area. So instead of £442,017 you will pay £635,833. Areas vary: Only half of Patshull Road falls into the catchment area for Eleanor Palmer and Camden School for Girls. Very few properties sell at that end of the street so it’s difficult to generalise about prices, but a town house sold in March this year for £2.2 million compared to an average price for a terraced house in Kentish Town of £1,344,245. The average terraced house in Muswell Hill sells for about £2 million, with stamp duty on property at that price adding £153,750 to the overall cost. Assuming day school fees of £6,000 term, it’s eight and a half years of private education for one child for the same price as the tax on your new home. At this you might be tempted to consider private schools, but remember, while your property gains in value, school fees are gone forever.
of Londoners have either rented or bought a new property to secure a school place
Bexley has seven high performing schools and an average house price of £300,000. Compared to Hammersmith and Fulham, where house prices average one million with few good school options, this looks like a place to invest in. Edmonton still has property prices in the region of £300,000 where Latymer School, a highly rated grammar school has a fairly wide catchment area. Primary schools: Areas with the highest density of outstanding OFSTED rated schools are Kensington & Chelsea (average property price 1.49 million), Hackney, Lambeth, Hammersmith and Fulham. Tower Hamlets was rated the best value for money with average property prices £575,000 to buy, according to Portico 2015, with Lambeth the best value for renting at £1,733 a month. These areas are highly sought after and good investment options.
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HOME Making tradition relevant today. WORDS: RACHEL DIMOND
Vastu Shastra derives from traditional Indian wisdom. In ancient times kings and rulers used Vastu principles to obtain success and safeguard their wealth. Most people knew how Vastu helped overcome many problems of everyday life. Temples were, and still are constructed according to Vastu principles. In our times, people make use of Vastu when constructing offices and homes, to ensure they provide a peaceful, effective atmosphere fit for purpose. Some people see Vastu as an Indian version of Feng Shui.
Do you want to ensure your guests are content? Do you sometimes worry about how to maintain harmony in your home when guests stay? Why do some visitors seem to take over and outstay their welcome? Guests come from a wide variety of different backgrounds, and each person is unique, but VASTU wisdom has some answers to the above dilemmas.
An ancient and wonderful tradition
The most popular B&B in England has just closed its doors and many of its satisfied customers will be sad. One of the reasons it ranked so high was that every visitor was welcomed with open arms and treated as if s/he were a very special guest. In Vedic times this was the norm, and today in India it is still customary in many places for visitors to be warmly welcomed, given water, food and a place to rest, regardless of inconvenience or cost. Jesus also confirmed the importance of Vedic hospitality: he said we should welcome the stranger into our midst, as if he were the Lord himself. In today’s world it can be hard to hold onto this tradition. We don’t always have time to care for ourselves, so to care for visitors has become more of a challenge and even a pressure. Perhaps we have encountered some abuse of our generosity. Many say there are too many strangers everywhere and we can’t welcome them all. But when you invite a guest into your home, good fortune enters in too. So those who value the importance of hospitality will reap the benefit.
The time-space dilemma Most of us have complex lives; the school run, work schedules and daily logistics can pose difficulties when we invite someone to stay. So planning is essential. Think about what facilities you have. Is the spare room used as a guest room or in regular use as an office or kids’ play area? Perhaps it’s even an alternative bedroom if you or your partner work different shifts. You might even have a lodger there. According to Vastu, however, the best scenario is to keep one room in your home specifically for guests. If you are embarking on building a house, one priority is to make sure you have a dedicated guest suite or room. And according to Vastu, positioning and designing this room is key to its success.
DESIGNING THE GUEST ROOM
Do your best to ensure that the room is an airy, clutter free and efficient place for your visitor. This will make them and your family more content during the stay. Situate the guest room in the North West or South East of your property - this will create harmony. The North West represents the air or wind element and ensures a short and happy stay. It helps to avoid the guest becoming over dominant. The master bedroom or kitchen should not be visible from their room at any cost. Ideally, the bathroom door should not be opposite the bed. Place photos or paintings of movement, such as flying birds, or animals running, on the walls. Wind chimes will enhance the wind element of this room and can be placed near the windowsill. It is best if the owner’s belongings are not kept in the guest room.
WHITE, VIOLET, GREY, LIGHT BLUE, CREAM, SOFT PINK OR CORAL RED ARE POSSIBLE CHOICES OF COLOUR IN YOUR GUEST ROOM.
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BEING NAMAN PATHAK
The fire in my soul would never give me peace. WORDS: SMITA SARKAR
he most powerful weapon on earth is the human of Economics put him in good stead to overcome the soul on fire, according to Ferdenand Foch; and it challenges that London had to throw at him. is this fire in the belly that has made 28-year-old He is the owner of affiliated businesses that provide Naman Pathak carve out his way in the highly him with back and front-end support for his core real competitive world of London’s real estate market. estate business. His estate agency business looks at As a property developer, Naman has single-handedly sourcing, rental and sales for his properties as well as for developed 60 residential units across London, totalling a others, whilst his recruitment agency provides personnel gross development value of circa £20 million in the last to the banking industry as well as the construction trade, three years. including many of his development sites. His ambition for the next five years is to construct Naman realised that in the intensely competitive an iconic building that his children will look up to and be London market, location and quality of stock determine proud of. And he wants to earn more money than his early success and, even in the dry world of bricks and father Atul Pathak, the UK’s largest McDonald’s franchisee, mortar, it is only human relationships that really matter. owning and operating 29 outlets across London. Naman believes that one of the best ways to get good “It is not about the money. My father is my idol and stock is by maintaining good relationships with solicitors, we always have good banter about business. I have had agents, accountants so when good sites become such a head start in life thanks to him, from education to available, they are the first person in the market to know. work, so I need to go above and beyond the amazing “We have good relationship with many councils in things he has achieved in his life,” smiled London, not through just the real estate Naman. business alone, but also through my After graduating, Naman was father’s McDonald’s business and that Naman says having a great time at Cognizant is a huge advantage because councils We have a huge social Technology Solutions as a are also relationship-driven. If they aspect to our developments. know the good work you are already consultant, but the fire in his soul It is not just about what would never give him peace. doing in the Borough, they are always the council terms as ‘social willing to push the boundaries for you “I had a great time there but I did not think I could fulfil my because they know it will also benefit housing.’ We also look at ambitions in the corporate world. developing the local area them.” When I thought of business, I Although big companies have and community. did not want to join Dad’s business huge funds and financial power, the because everything was effectively relationship aspect in this business cannot be already there. I wanted to see what it takes to undermined. It is not just knowing people, Naman build a business from scratch.” has been successful because he knows his strengths Naman always had an interest in real estate so he and vulnerabilities acutely. looked at a family plot of land and developed a set “The kind of stock we develop is at the sweet spot of number of units after recognising the disparity in the the market with 20 - 30 units as opposed to 100 -150 quotations by some builders. units for bigger conglomerates. This reduces the risk from “I wanted to get to grips with the inherent costs of a timescale perspective, both in terms of construction the trade” This started his exciting new journey, but the and eventual sale.” going was not easy for Naman to begin with. With a strong track record of success over a short “London is a very competitive marketplace. You period, Naman has a strong cohort of investors backing are competing with buyers from all over the world who him. He specialises in up and coming areas within the are willing to work for smaller margins because of the M25, particularly those impacted by Crossrail, and is now location.” exploring new growth areas outside of London such as However, Naman’s training at the London School Birmingham and Manchester.
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“The lower end, meaning £500k and below, is always protected by the government with schemes for first-time buyers and the like. Besides, people always need to move home whether the economy is doing well or not so well – so that justifies the demand for the level we develop our stock at.” “The point of focus for my company in the next three years will be to build a brand and build a stronger presence in that market. My personal growth plan is 100% growth year on year over what we did in the last two years. And by the end of next year I aim to roll it up to a formal fund.” Naman’s growth strategy is underpinned by flexibility and innovation. His business ethos and philosophy are clear and simple- work hard, work with honesty, and always think long-term.” “Transparency is the key to our business. This trade is not as simple as the McDonald’s business- I cannot buy a burger over the counter, pay for it there and leave. And this makes it all the more difficult for investors not to get their fingers burnt if they invest with the wrong developer. Our approach with investors is that of complete transparency, typified in our new website which is being redesigned, whereby each investor has their own log in for each project. Each and every line item of our costs are outlined, each and every design is shared, and moreover, people can question me on any single line item should they wish, even at 12am on a Sunday!” Naman is also a keen learner and always looking for new ways to innovate. For example, for a typical one bedroom flat of 50 square meters, developers would usually provide an open-plan kitchen/lounge, a
separate bathroom and a bedroom. Naman is exploring various ways for consumers to personalise and define their living space by use of moveable walls. If you want a bigger bedroom, you can move the wall out. If you have guests coming in, you can make the bedroom smaller; innovating to make it work for the end user. Naman’s real estate development plans reflect his desire to give back to the community and he marked himself as a promising property developer, entrepreneur and philanthropist. “We have a huge social aspect to our developments. It is not just about what the council terms as ‘social housing.’ We also look at developing the local area and community.” One of their propositions to the council is to refurbish and regenerate the area with essential shops used by the local community – in line with the new development they are creating. Not only does this enhance the street scene, it also makes the community a part of the development process as the company involves the community as much as possible in the design process. “We have been flexible with our approach on commercial space. We do not just give it out to big brands, that is too easy to do. Instead, we look at providing a consultative process for the community to be a part of. These premises should add value to the community so they should always be a part of it, and our open approach has brought out so many great ideas, from nurseries to even polyclinics, providing multiple medical services to the community under one roof.” Naman redefines philanthropy. “I think being a philanthropist is not just about raising money, it is about giving your time to those less privileged.” He has taken up quite a few young apprentices in his office. “Most of them are fairly rough around the edges. The first day they come in- their ties not done up properly, they talk with a rough accent, they will give you a flimsy handshake. But a lot of them have a lot of drive, determination and a great work ethic, something that many ‘polished’ kids do not. Some of these kids just need a chance and I am proud that we have provided several youngsters with that opportunity, some of whom are still with us today.” His personal passion for motivating and encouraging others has recently led him to open a training academy, The Corporate Training Academy, in which he gives a session on Sales and Networking on Saturday afternoons. “I want to help students of ages 16 - 22 with their career direction because it was something that I struggled with at that age.” Naman is warm and amicable but describes himself as stubborn. “If I set myself out to do something, I will do it. There have been times when I have risked quite a bit, not knowing if I would have the funds for completion or whatever else the problem may be. But I always back myself because of the amount of research I carry out on a site. By the time I make a commitment, I know exactly how to maximise that site’s potential. More than that, I have a quiet inner belief that always serves me well,” signs off the young entrepreneur.
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IT’S ALL ABOUT
SHARING Overview of an affordable housing option. WORDS: RACHEL DIMOND
orget about trying to climb onto the property ladder. There’s a cold wind blowing, and the first rung is out of reach. Shared ownership has been around since the early 1980s. However, it’s now an accepted part of the housing market. A recent report revealed that the number of shared ownership purchases has risen by more than 130 per cent in six years.
Shared ownership is where you buy a share of a home from the landlord, usually a Housing Association, and rent the remaining share. You need a mortgage to pay for your share, which can be between a quarter and three-quarters of the home’s full value. You pay a reduced rent on the share you don’t own. The initial deposit will be much lower than if buying a home outright. You can buy a bigger share in the property, up to 100% of its value.
Eligibility restrictions on the shared ownership have lifted. So, from April 2016 anyone who has a household income of less than £80,000 (outside London) or £90,000 (inside London) can buy a home through shared ownership like this. It’s only available on properties that have been built for that scheme by a housing association using Government subsidy, but there are a number of Housing Associations with properties like this in London and it’s well worth looking into as an option.
London: Share to Buy
Share to Buy is the official intermediate housing programme instigated by the Mayor of London. It helps low and modest income Londoners to buy or rent at a price they can afford. USEFUL INFORMATION: WWW.SHARETOBUY. COM
Share to Buy offers affordable home ownership for many in London. Share to Buy, once known as First Steps, is the official intermediate housing programme instigated by the Mayor of London. It helps low and modest income Londoners to buy or rent at a price they can afford. There are eligibility criteria for share ownership, based on earnings and other criteria depending on the area you want, and /or the demand for this kind of affordable housing. So, for example, if you can afford to buy on the open market you won’t be eligible. However, if you have been, or are in the Armed Forces, you will be given priority.
What are the costs?
Fees: c £4000 for solicitors fees and mortgage arrangement, plus your mortgage, rent and service charges. The rent and service charges are set by the Housing Association. These will vary, but will be proportionate to the services you recieve. Rents will rise annually but service charges are variable and can go up or down. This is an area to examine as carefully as your mortgage offer.
Staircasing the way up to full home ownership
If you share the ownership of your home with a Housing Association, staircasing is the word used for when you are able to buy another share of your property, or even buy it outright. You agree a percentage to staircase with the Housing Association. For example, you may decide to increase the percentage you own from 50% to 75%. Or you may buy all of the outstanding shares to own 100% and then be rent free. Note: some leases do not allow you to purchase all the shares in your home. So check with your Housing Association for confirmation early on in the process. You will need a valuation. This is not an estate agent valuation. The Housing Association you are renting from will instruct the valuer, but if you wish to appoint someone independently, then remember, you are liable for the fee. A remortgage will be based on the valuation. You will have 3 months to proceed with the sale, before the valuation is out of date. Full details of staircasing procedures will be contained within any Shared Ownership lease
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INHERITANCE TAX DO YOU QUALIFY FOR THE £1M THRESHOLD? Important changes coming into force and how they may affect you. WORDS YOGESH PATEL
any home-owners in London and southern England could see their inheritance tax threshold increase to £1m from April 2017, thanks to new government legislation fulfilling an electoral pledge to “take the family home out of tax”. With London properties fetching more than £600,000 on average, the change should be widely welcomed by those fortunate enough to be on the capital’s property ladder, provided they have read the small print and then make sure they get the necessary tax planning advice. Taking a wrong turn here could mean missing out the enhanced IHT threshold. From 5 April 2017, the law brings in a new residential nil rate tax band (RNRB) that over the next four years will increase annually for each individual from an additional £100,000 to £175,000 in 2020/21 (see table oposite).
TIMETABLE FOR PHASING IN ADDITIONAL RESIDENTIAL NIL RATE BAND TAX YEARS
MAX ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE PER PERSON
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What is the current inheritance tax threshold?
Currently, there is a nil rate inheritance band of £325,000 per person (or £650,000 per couple) on which no inheritance tax (charged at 40%) is paid. This band can be set off against your total estate on death regardless of type of assets included in your estate and assuming that no lifetime chargeable gifts have been made in the previous seven years.
What has been announced?
In its simplest form, a married couple (or civil partners) with children will be able to benefit from an inheritance tax threshold of up to £1m rather than £650,000. The revised band provides up to an additional £350,000 (£175,000 each) in allowances (ie £140,000 of tax relief) on the death of the home owner. It’s not all plain sailing, however. First, not everyone can qualify for the additional £350,000 threshold and second, the government will be phasing in the new RNRB over the next four years (mainly to manage the tax revenue loss from this policy) – families will only be eligible for the full additional allowance from April 6, 2020.
Check the small print as there are some important caveats to what seems a generous tax break:
The revised tax band is only available if you die on or after 6 April 2017. Only your direct descendants can benefit.The home must be passed down to your spouse (or civil partner) and, on their death, to your children (whether biological, adopted or step-children - this does not include nieces and nephews). On your death, the value of your total estate (not just of your home) must be less than £2m, otherwise the residential nil rate tax band allowance (and any transferred RNRB allowance) will be reduced by £1 for every £2 of estate value over £2m. In fact, any additional allowance will be wiped out if your estate is worth more than than £2.35m.
You will also need to consider the following points:
Downsizing – the new law recognises that as people get older they need less space: if you downsize later in life or you sell/gift away your home after 7 July 2015, your beneficiaries will not be disadvantaged and may still benefit from the additional allowance. The RNRB is only available if you have lived in and owned your own residential property (it does not apply to any other property such as a residential buy-to-let investment).
MARITAL STATUS DETERMINES TAX ALLOWANCE To benefit from the full £350,000 relief you need to be married. When someone dies, any unused RNRB allowance can be transferred to the surviving spouse to provide an inheritance tax threshold of up to £1m, as calculated below:
2 X £325,000 NIL RATE BANDS + 2 X £175,000 MAIN RESIDENCE BANDS = £1M TOTAL ALLOWANCE. The above still applies if one of the married couple dies before 6 April 2017, even though the RNRB wasn’t available at that time. Those who are unmarried (single or living with a partner) will not be able to transfer their nil rate band or RNRB to a partner, resulting in an inheritance tax threshold of £500,000, as calculated below:
1 X £325,000 NIL RATE BAND + 1 X £175,000 MAIN RESIDENCE BAND = £500,000 TOTAL ALLOWANCE
For your family to benefit from the maximum tax-free allowance of up to £350,000, you first need to be married and willing to bequest your home to your children. Second, when you or your spouse dies, any unused RNRB should be transferred to the surviving spouse. Where Then on their death, the transfer will there’s a will… enable your beneficiaries to claim An up-to-date one the total RNRB allowance available of up to £350,000 (see box oposite). is essential. However, if you are unmarried or have a long-term partner, you will only be entitled to £175,000.
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ESTATE PLANNING AND UTILISING THE RNRD ON 1ST DEATH Sanjay dies and leaves an estate worth £1.5m to his wife, Gita, which includes his share of the family home, worth £400.000. Gita dies five years later with a total estate worth £2.5m. As Sanjay gifted his assets to his wife, he did not use his inheritance tax nil rate band and the new RNRB Given Gita’s assets on her death were well over £2m, she will not be able to benefit from any of the £350,000 RNRB allowance. If Sanjay, on his death, had left his share of the marital home to his son, Arjun, when the total allowance available to him was £500,000, this would have mitigated any inheritance tax liability that would now occur on Gita’s death
Significant thought needs to be taken on the likely value of the estate of the surviving spouse. If the surviving spouse’s estate on their death is likely to be worth more than £2m, it is worth considering estate planning and using the RNRB allowance on 1st death (see box above):
Gifts Rather than gift your home, you may want to
gift other assets to reduce the total estate value on your death to less than £2m. This will still allow your estate on death to gain from the RNRB. You also may want to think twice before gifting your home just before death: the gifted property will not qualify for the RNRB as it must be owned by you on death to qualify for the additional band allowance.
Wills An up-to-date will is essential and, given the new RNRB rules, ensuring that a qualifying residential property is being left to the surviving spouse or children is key in helping prevent any problems arising over qualifying for the additional tax threshold. Paper trail Keeping proper records and documentation will become increasingly important to show that a property, at some point, was your residence, in case HMRC were to challenge your claim for the RNRB allowance.
“A tax policy that The advice above sadly only could have been legislated scratches the surface. The in a few lines has in fact legislation is new, complex added more than and is likely to require careful 20 pages to tax consideration when estate legislation” planning. A tax policy that could have been legislated in a few lines has in fact added more than 20 pages to tax legislation. It begs the questions as to why those who are unmarried and without Our expert YOGESH PATEL, children are not allowed to benefit A CHARTERED from the additional allowance and TAX ADVISER AND ACCOUNTANT why the RNRB has really been WORKING AT GODLEY & CO, A CHARTERED designed in this way. DISCLAIMER
THIS ARTICLE IS INTENDED TO BE A GENERAL GUIDE AND CANNOT BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL ADVICE. NEITHER THE AUTHOR NOR GODLEY & CO LTD ACCEPT ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR LOSS OCCASIONED TO ANY PERSON ACTING OR REFRAINING FROM ACTING AS A RESULT OF MATERIAL CONTAINED IN THIS PUBLICATION
ACCOUNTANCY PRACTICE BASED IN HARROW. YOGESH ADVISES PRIVATE CLIENTS AND ENTREPRENEURS ON VARIOUS TAX AND ACCOUNTING MATTERS. FOR MORE INFO CONTACT YOGESH.PATEL@GODLEY. CO.UK
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How to distinguish one period property from another WORDS: YOGESH PATEL AND MAYA GUDKA
Is your dream home a big, ‘modern’ property? Or do you fall for the timeless aesthetics of period properties? Have you had a great ‘feel’ for a certain house or street but had no idea when it was built? Here we take you through the nuts and bolts of different period styles, as well as considering the commerciality of old houses; so that you can be more conﬁdent of your desired property style and that of your current home.
About period properties…
There is no formal definition but it seems that anything built pre WW1 seems to be classified as ‘period’. London and many of the older UK cities have a wide mix of houses majority of which have been built over the last 175 years. One style did not stop when another started – but each period does have its unique style as fashions changed. The different architectural styles generally fall into the following categories [refer to call out box on page 26]: A survey conducted by Savills showed that the Georgian style is the most preferred period home for the UK home-owner. This is mainly due to the grand façade of the exterior, high ceiling and solid build. Old cities like Bath, Brighton and Edinburgh have a large stock of Georgian houses and are eye wateringly expensive. The Georgian era was followed by the Victorian Industrial Revolution, resulting in a boom of solid, terraced properties to house the UK labour force who were migrating from the farmlands to the urban areas, especially the major UK cities such as London, Manchester and Glasgow. Victorian terrace properties can be found across London, from Camden to Beckenham and from West to East London. Some smaller properties will have easy access to the backyard or garden, and others will only have access through the front door. 1900-1915 was then the relatively short Edwardian
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era. Edwardian style properties revived a number of style inﬂuences from the past in a bit of a mismatch, including the exterior panelling from the medieval times and the large dimensions of Georgian homes. Inter-war suburban housing turned its back on urban slums and instead fuelled aspirations of a new way of life: home ownership in quiet, leafy surroundings. This style of housing took design elements from the ‘Arts and Crafts’ movement, but relied on mass production to make such houses affordable. A large majority of the North West London suburbian houses are mock Tudor style. These were built as part of the last major boom in property building shortly after the world war.
Period pros and cons
Those who have a special interest in period houses in London are drawn not just by the location, or the size of a house, but by its history and architectural merit. And for many, the challenge and pleasure will lie in bringing the original character out through refurbishment. Fire places, solid wooden ﬂoors, bay windows, high ceilings and decorative coving, as well as potentially generous gardens with mature plants and trees will all lend internal and external character and charm to your home. It may be less energy efficient however – though you may well be able to
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STYLE OF HOME
add solar panelling to help with this. It may require more maintenance or significant works – so do obtain detailed surveys when considering purchase. On the other hand, the solid walls of some of these periods will make them robust. Of course, listed buildings and conservation areas have their own rules and will limit future development.
What you need to know 1 GEORGIAN (1660-1830) Think high ceilings, large rectangular windows and symmetrical facades, highly desirable properties offering traditional charm whilst plenty of living space
Given the never-ending housing shortage, it seems the only solution is to build up-wards or more densely populated houses. But these aren’t always ‘built like they used to be’. Amidst this, period properties, like anything vintage, will always be desirable, inimitable and therefore also commercially valuable.
2 VICTORIAN (1830s – 1900) The era of the terraced property: these were designed for their strong build quality. The bay and sash windows let more light in than the Georgian windows. Add intricate cornicing bordering, high ceilings, ornate fireplaces in every room, patterned tiles and stained glass - and you have a style that will never go out of fashion, commanding 10-15% premiums.
REFURBISHING OR EXTENDING YOUR PERIOD PROPERTY:
AVOID CONTEMPORARY CLICHÉS Certain features crop up frequently in contemporary projects. Bi-fold doors, for example, are loved for their ability to blend inside and out. But if you wish to bring your Victorian home up to date in a more subtle way, source more timeless options to bridge the time gap. Eg. French doors and large windows either side may be more sympathetic to the original period.
TO ADDRESS ENERGY EFFICIENCY, CONSIDER INVESTING IN A NEW PERIOD-STYLE DOOR Doors and windows account for 33% of your home’s energy loss. Many period homes come with a wooden door - one of the most inefficient door materials for retaining heat. A composite door is an alternative - manufactured using 21st century technology but featuring period design character. Different manufacturers offer differing efficiency ratings. You are looking for the lowest U-value rating available.
FOR SOLID WALLS, USE TRADITIONAL MATERIALS that are compatible with the way your property was originally built, i.e. lime-based mortars and plasters, rather than anything containing modern cement. Old buildings with shallow foundations are affected by seasonal ground movement and because cement is brittle it can develop small cracks and trap rain. Not all builders are familiar with lime, often preferring to stick with mainstream products. So check that those you employ have the necessary skills.
Experts YOGESH PATEL & MAYA GUDKA, PERIOD PROPERTY ENTHUSIASTS
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raft C & s Art -1910
ian g r o e G -1830
Edwa 1900- rdian 1915
4 4 EDWARDIAN (1900-1915)
Spacious interiors with decorative coverings, fireplaces and large leaded glass bay windows. Buy an Edwardian property if you want a spacious and simple home with the quirks of a period property
5 INTER-WAR SUBURBIA (1930s) The period of explosive suburban development - design features included semi-detached houses with bay windows, steeply pitched roofs, front and back gardens with a garage. There were also mock Tudor timber beams on the front faĂ§ade taken from the Arts and Crafts movement
6 ART DECO (1925 â€“ 1940) Unique retro style with white stucco walls, small windows and flat roofs
3 ARTS & CRAFT MOVEMENT (1860 TO 1910)
eco D t r A 1940 1925-
A style to re-establish the skills of craftsmanship threatened by mass production and industria-isation. It used medieval architecture with its rich variety of ornament, embodying those individual craft skills being lost through the copying of standard forms with an element of eccentricity.
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MANGLE & WRINGER KITCHEN CLEANSER
300g, £5.80, www. mangleandwringer.co.uk
own health and wellbeing by thinking holistically (and sometimes more simply) we can make ethical choices that save us money, reduce our carbon footprint and increase our health and wellbeing. For starters anyone can enjoy the benefits of the right houseplants, not just for aesthetic purposes either. The Peace Lilly - along with the humble Spider plant was researched by NASA scientists and found to remove formaldehyde from the air to a radius of 30 feet. They do say have one plant for each piece of electronic equipment though so beware, your lounge could start to look like Kew gardens! Forget conventional air fresheners also, and avoid the wall mounted ones which emit synthetic fragrance, its known that air fresheners can be toxic in the home and contribute respiratory problems, insomnia, headaches and fatigue. There are so many pollutants in the average Go natural Forget conventional home that it’s unlikely we can rebuild an eco-home, but we can make conscious air fresheners choices in what products we choose. & avoid the wall mounted ones which If you’re wondering what the problem is with a quick squirt of air freshener, emit synthetic be aware that just fragrance the word ‘parfum’ or fragrance on a bottle or aerosol can mean that up to 200 different synthetic chemicals are contained within the product. The humble spider plant can remove formaldehyde from For DIY air freshening simply the air to a radius of 30 feet. WORDS: JANEY LEE GRACE half fill a plastic plant spray bottle with filtered tap water and add a couple of drops of essential f you’d said the word ‘Recycle’ to a guy in oil. Eucalyptus and tea tree are the 1950’s he’d have thought it meant getting ‘antibacterial’ while lemon or citronella back on his bike when he’d fallen off, and yet are zingy and refreshing, add a drop of the average household back then would have vodka or vinegar to preserve or change the left us looking barely lime in the ‘green and eco water regularly. stakes’ that’s not because they were conscious For general cleaning go old style, the usual eco warriors but rather that there were minimal suspects, Bicarbonate of soda, white vinegar and choices, ‘make do and mend’ was the mantra a microfibre cloth work wonders but with the around the home and sustainability and rebest will in the world the best ingredient of all use was just a way of life. is the one we have all forgotten, it’s the most As our personal and national carbon effective of all – Elbow Grease – you can get a footprints have grown larger most of us great workout and burn a few calories at the know we need to opt for sustainable choices same time! in our personal life, but I’ve met many a carbon Check out the great natural eco cleaning offsetting Eco warrior who falls short with their products too from Mangle and Wringer – old green credentials when it comes to their homes. style recipes handed by a 1950’s housekeeper It is actually very simple to tick the ‘eco’ box, www.mangleandwringer.com I love the all-purpose we all know about re-using and recycling cleaner. After all that hard work you will need some waste, paper and packaging, but have you nice handcream, go luxury with the gorgeous thought about your cleaning and personal spelt hand cream from AEOS, (active energised care products? Just by looking after your organic skincare) www.aeosskincare.com
GREEN up your home I
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Garden outhouses are today what Double Glazing was in the 1970’s. WORDS: KISH BHUDIA
She-Shed is the new term given to exclusively female only out houses, which are used for flower arranging, arts & crafts/hobby rooms, and yoga studios, and maybe home offices too.
he garden shed has for years traditionally been a man-cave for the man about the house. It was his escape and retreat from ‘her’ indoors, and used for many a purpose, from gardening, car repairs, hobby-room, or a place for the lads to hang out and brew their own home made alcoholic beverage whilst listening to the football on the radio. They were timber clad, with a felt covered roof and a fairly drab interior. But today, out houses have become a newly discovered quarter of the garden suburbs.
‘….for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house… ’ In layman terms they can only be used as ancillary space for the occupiers of the main house. Falling foul of these rules may result in enforcement action and ultimately demolition, as has been highlighted on many TV documentaries. Several Councils have such an infestation of these outbuildings being let by unscrupulous landlords to unwitting tenant, they have set up special Enforcement teams to target this problem.
Fun, fashionable & free from red tape
Popular uses are games rooms, gymnasiums, music rooms, sauna/Jacuzzi, and very commonly, home offices. But the tables have also turned, and the SheShed is the new term given to exclusively female only out houses, which are used for flower arranging, arts & crafts/hobby rooms, and yoga studios, and maybe home offices too. You can even build a his and hers outbuilding if you stay within the guidelines.
They are fun, quirky, contemporary and provide an amazing amount of extremely useful floor area. 30 square metres can provide a room measuring 6m x 5m, which is the size of a standard double garage. So we are not necessarily talking small sheds anymore. They don’t have to be expensive. They can be built without planning and building regulations consent if they: are less than 30 square metres in floor area are less than 50% of the garden area have a maximum roof height of 2.5m are built from non-combustible materials if within 1m of the boundaries. Watch these parameters as larger structures may be subject to local authority consent.
How to use them: Not for sleeping or letting out
There are restrictions on the use of the buildings, and they must not provide sleeping accommodation, or be used for letting, or for running a business. The permitted development rules state any buildings within the curtilage of the dwelling house must be
Make the most of your down time
Enjoy the fruits of your creativity!
The uses are boundless and down to the individual’s creativity, but remember, the actual building itself need not be a boring timber box either. The combination of varying shape, orientation, form, materials and colour can result in some extraordinary garden structures that also add visual appeal when viewed from the house. Garden outhouses are today what Double Glazing was in the 1970’s, but please don’t be bland - put some imagination into it and make it your unique space. Remember some of the world’s largest brands started life in the garden shed, such as IKEA, Walt Disney, HP, Apple, Harley Davidson, Dyson, and Amazon to name just a few.
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BEGINS AT HOME
Creating a home that enables you to have mindful eating practices. WORDS: MAYA GUDKA
ur home is where we start our day and where we end it. It is generally a constant in our lives. It can be a sanctuary, or a rut, reinforcing our habits and routines, good and bad. Do we consciously use our homes to support our health and energy? Or are we trapped by habits such as zoning out on handheld devices and staying up too late? For many of us with busy schedules, a lot of our time at home is in the evenings when we are tired and our willpower depleted. We have limited energy to rethink the way we operate in our homes. What if we redesigned our home routines, one by one? In her book Better than Before, Gretchen Rubin talks about the ‘Essential Seven’ areas that people most want to make changes in: healthy eating & drinking, exercise, finances, rest & relaxation, effectiveness, tidiness, and relationships. Four of these areas do the most to boost feelings of self-control and therefore strengthen all other habits. These are sleep, move, eat & drink right and de-clutter. The good thing is that these habits are intertwined - tweaking one area will likely help another. In my last article, I focused on de-cluttering. Here I talk about changing our eating & drinking habits. There are countless books, articles and magazines devoted to healthy eating. Let’s face it - most of us know what we need to do. Less sugar, more fresh unprocessed food, limit alcohol etc. I certainly knew what I needed to do, but somehow I had largely remained in the same habits for the last 5 years. I wanted to feel confident that I was able to nourish myself, rather than turning to wine and junk food at the first sign of stress. I seemed to have no problem ticking off other goals but just couldn’t crack this one.
‘Habits mean we don’t strain ourselves to make decisions, weigh choices. Life becomes simpler and many daily hassles vanish’ GRETCHEN RUBIN
ASIAN HOUSE & HOME I SPRING 2015
From comfort eating to mindful eating So what helped me finally make the changes? Rather than plunging in I made sure I had set up the conditions for success using these principles: MAKE IT FUN Food plays a huge role in our Asian culture and Asians are good at expressing their love and care for each other through food. Telling a comfort eater that they shouldn’t be in love with their food is just not going to cut it. Mindful eating gave me ways to embrace my love of food and creativity – making pretty plates, planning a weekly menu full of foods that get me really excited, and having a conscious kitchen full of nourishing, delicious foods that are ready to throw together.
DON’T TRY TO DO EVERYTHING AT ONCE I allowed myself a period with no other pressing goals – I decided that improving these habits was important enough to take priority. KNOW YOURSELF Rubin shares 4 personality types that each respond differently to habit formation. What works for you probably won’t work for me. However, any self-knowledge about your personality will help. For example how do you approach other areas of your life, what do people say are your strengths and weaknesses? I know from a work personality test that I’m very impulsive. So it makes my life a hundred times easier if the ‘yellow stuff’ – the sev, gantya and chewdo are not in my eyesight! SHARE I shared my habit change plans with a few people - my husband, my coach, and a close friend who is a nutrition student. Having these people on hand for the inevitable bumps will provide accountability and support. You may want to take it further and share your progress on an app or social media – I used a private account on Instagram. MAKE IT EASY I then used the concepts below to take the effort out of the process. They are not about discipline or willpower, they are about making life easier for yourself. Try them - if they worked for me, a breastfeeding (i.e. ‘hangry’!) new mum of two, I’m sure they will work for you! KNOW YOUR BIGGEST TRIGGERS I love to have a sweet treat with my afternoon chai or coffee. This ended up being far too many dunked digestives. I knew I needed some accompaniments for my hot drinks so I experimented with some healthy baking and had some healthy treats on hand for these moments. I also love a glass of wine on the sofa after a stressful day, but after one glass all healthy intentions go out of the window, so finding alternatives to this was key to transforming my habits.
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WHY NOT TRY: Adding some basic baking ingredients to your next online order so you have everything ready when you want to try a new creation There are some amazing no sugar baking recipes out there today - indulgent, nutritious and delicious, they include ‘mug cakes’ - which are so quick, they satisfy even my impatient nature! Some yummy mocktails as wine alternatives Doing something entirely different – such as an indulgent aromatherapy bath
Sort out your home environment
Research shows that our environment has a bigger effect on our habits than our individual willpowers. If your habit cues are unchanged, you’re making a lot of demands on your willpower. We need to make life easy for ourselves.
Try a healthy smoothie with turmeric, vanilla, cinnamon and coconut milk
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Try vegetarian quinoa recipe with colourful bell pepper, tomato, onion and fresh herbs
WHY NOT TRY: Having the fruit bowl on display and the junk food out of reach (or preferably out of the house!). I’ve really noticed the difference with my daughter who now gets tempted by an orange. Having healthier snacks ready for weak moments – I love popcorn, dark chocolate or making peanut butter & date smoothies – much better than the magnum ice-creams of the past! Reconﬁguring your ‘relaxation areas’ - for example, move the sofa from directly facing the TV, as this might encourage mindless munching.
Food prep is a big buzzword these days. Preparing ahead helps during busy, hungry times. And systemizing takes the extra decisions away. WHY NOT TRY: Chopped veg in the fridge ready for making curry, soup or steaming Peeling garlic, soaking dahl, cooking bowls of quinoa and brown rice in advance Overnight oats, a total game changer – they taste fantastic and save so much time in the morning. Simple instructions @mayagudz A weekly menu – this took me a long time to prepare, but has been transformative. It’s full of healthy foods that I love and that work for the family. It also has lots of snacks, ready for my afternoon and post bed-time wine and junk cravings! Online ordering, diarized – enabling you to have your healthy usuals ordered in 5 minutes
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Technology is addictive and distracting. It can also be a great aid in habit change. I spent some time retracing my ‘on the sofa’ digital journey - rather than Facebook, WhatsApp and email checking, I put the apps that were beneficial to my healthy journey on the first screen of my phone. WHY NOT TRY: Logging your food diary on a food app like MyFitnessPal. Research has shown that keeping a food diary alone, without any conscious effort to make changes to the intake, doubles weight loss efforts. Over time it unobtrusively shows you where you can make the most effective changes Find your type on Instagram. In my case, following mums who were throwing together healthy meals really helped. I couldn’t identify with Deliciously Ella or other celebrity chefs who had long complicated recipes and ingredient lists. In fact, when I stopped using Instagram for a while due to a full phone, I found my habits dipped a bit! The Mindful Eating hypnosis app from Surf City Apps 4 months later, I rarely drink wine alone, I generally have a stash of dark chocolate or home baked stuff with my hot drinks instead of buying cakes or wolfing down the digestives. I’ll never be one to hold back or deprive myself when out or at home, but it’s reassuring to know that the core of my diet is good for me. With a great system in place I’m making less food decisions and more yummy creations! Next time – we will tackle sleep!
‘When we change our habits, we change our lives’ GRETCHEN RUBIN
Our expert MAYA GUDKA IS A LEADERSHIP & STRATEGY PROGRAMME DIRECTOR AT LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL (LBS), AN EXECUTIVE COACH AND HAPPINESS CLUB FOUNDER. SHE WRITES ABOUT HER EXPERIENCES FOR LBS’S BUSINESS STRATEGY REVIEW AND PSYCHOLOGIES MAGAZINE. FIND OUT MORE AT MAYAGUDKA.COM & @ MAYAGUDZ ON INSTAGRAM
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F CUS ON…
HONOR OAK Tallying up the costs of a commute. WORDS RACHEL DIMOND
DID YOU KNOW?
6 miles south east of central London, once home to the famous comedian and poet Spike Milligan, this is a fairly untapped area worth looking into, particularly for its travel links
GOOD FOR FAMILIES This is an upcoming area not far from Nunhead, a sought after location near Peckham. It offers a range of good accommodation at more reasonable prices than nearby Clapham, with a range of independent and state schools.
Honor Oak Park Overground Station Zone 3. Annual travel card to Zone 1: £1,520
171 goes to Holborn and 172 to St Pauls - both via Waterloo and Aldwych
IT IS WITHIN EASY REACH OF THE SOUTH CIRCULAR
LATEST NEWS Honor Oak Park station benefited from the London Overground East London Line extension, completed in May 2010, with direct trains to Whitechapel (19 minutes), Shor editch (23 minutes), Canada Water (10 minutes), London Victoria and London Bridge (11 minutes). From 2018/19 Whitechapel will directly interchange with the Crossrail service. From 2018 this station may also benefit from the Thameslink Project which could mean direct trains going to Hertfordshire via St Pancras International.
There are several areas to look out for such as Duncombe Hill, Lowther Hill, and the houses off Forest Hill Road. Rental properties are mostly two bedroom and in short supply compared to family homes, where two and three bedroom homes start from about £470,000
How it got its name Honor Oak is named after a picnic that Queen Elizabeth 1 took beneath an oak tree in 1602, on her way to Lewisham. 34
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HAMMERED! Experts cautions on the gaps at property auctions. WORDS: SURESH VAGJIANI
Look out for misplaced Lots
What I mean by this is that often vendors pass on properties to auction houses based on their relationship with them. They may not be the best auctioneers for the Lot. Let me share a personal experience of a misplaced Lot. A property in Central London was put into a small auction on the outskirts of London. I made money by exchanging with a property in one auction and simply placing it back into a bigger one, without even visiting the property.
Look for Unknown variables
The Auctions are crowded with first time buyers, novice investors or wealthy housewives. They do not like unknown variables. Like tenancies, an unknown tenancy can make a property go for half the price that it should sell at ordinarily. This happens at times when the person from whom the property has been repossessed will not pass on the details to the receiver. This means the property will be sold with an unknown tenancy. The asset now becomes valuable to the person from whom it was repossessed as they have the piece of paper to turn the unknown variable into a known. Purchases can still be made in such situations, but do ensure that the variables are found out in due course through the proper channels. The following examples illustrate the need for due diligence and how small mistakes can become very expensive.
a property that had been sold multiple times, but the purchaser failed to complete time and time again. What had happened here? The property was a flat in W2. Impulsive buyers bid for the property, in the hope they were bagging a deal as nothing sells for less than £300,000 in W2. So when the hammer fell and they managed to buy a property for £200,000 they were completely elated. They paid the 10% and went to see the property (not having viewed it prior to auction). To their amazement it was the size of a cupboard. It had the utilities connected as promised but the
I made money by exchanging with a property in one auction and simply placing it back into a bigger one, without even visiting the property
Given the huge popularity of auctions there are many on the other side of the fence who use the Auction Rooms as a dumping ground. One story I heard was regarding
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minuscule size made it impossible to rent out. They decided not to complete and chose to default on the 10% they had already paid. The owner then released it again for the next mug at the auction. This is how he kept making money from this property!
Quick conversions A builder purchases a single property and converts it into two flats within 24 hours. This time it is fine if you go for a viewing, as it has all the ammenities – a kitchen, bathroom units etc. However they are not plugged into the mainsand the units have just been
placed in the property to give the appearance of two flats, hence increasing the value and the potential rental income. Bidders too eager to grab a bargain see two flats going for cheaper than the market price. This has been done time and time again, t and such properties sold at the auctions, netting the traders a good sum of money. THE INFORMATION BELOW WILL HELP YOU SAFELY BUY AND MAKE A PROFIT FROM THE CURRENT DOWNTURN IN THE PROPERTY MARKET.
Potential purchasers should always check that they have read and understood all the legal documents and the terms & conditions attached
A QUICK GUIDE TO BUYING RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY AT AUCTIONS:
FIND OUT THE BACK STORY Hard copies and online catalogues containing information on properties, legal updates and dates of future auctions can be easily obtained. You must go through them carefully before getting into the auction room.
IDENTIFY LOTS A list of properties can be found at the front of the catalogue. Look through the catalogue and identify the Lots that interest you. Remember to check that some Lots are offered with vacant possession, while some are tenanted or may be part-vacant.
CHECK GUIDE PRICES Guide prices are mailed with the auction catalogues but are subject to change till the time that the guide prices can be obtained from the relevant auctioneer’s site. Please note that guide prices are not necessarily the figures at which a property will sell. They are only indications of the seller’s minimum expectation.
LOOK OUT FOR CHANGES Occasionally changes may need to be made to the Lot information or the Special Conditions of Sale. These can be found in the Addendum section.
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VIEW THE PROPERTY This can be done as a group viewing or through an estate agent. REGISTER YOUR INTEREST If you find an interesting property, it is worth enquiring with the
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auctioneer to check if it can be sold prior to auction. The auctioneer may alert you if they are currently going through any offers.
OBTAIN A LEGAL DOCUMENTATION The vendor’s solicitors prepare legal packs containing (wherever applicable) special conditions of sale, title deeds, leases, office copy entries, searches, and replies to pre-contract enquiries that are normally available for a small charge. These will help make an informed decision. You could contact the vendor’s solicitor for - further legal information. Legal packs will usually be available for inspection in the auction room. Remember that your buy is subject to all documentation and terms of contract, whether you have read them or not.
GET A SURVEY A survey is recommended prior to the auction. You should call Sow & Reap to arrange this .
ARRANGE YOUR FINANCES If you need to arrange for a mortgage, it is important that you obtain an agreement from your lender in principle, before the auction day. Most building societies and banks will instruct a surveyor to prepare a valuation report before making a mortgage offer, so you will need to make your mortgage application as early as possible. Usually, you will be required to complete your purchase by up to 20 working days after the day of
MAKING AN OFFER PRIOR TO THE AUCTION You can make an offer for a property at any time up to the date of the auction. If your offer is accepted, you will have to be in a position to exchange contracts and pay your deposit immediately. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us to facilitate your purchase.
UNDERSTAND ALL TERMS & CONDITIONS Buying property at an auction is different to buying property privately and we strongly advise potential purchasers to check that they have read and understood all the legal documents and the terms & conditions attached.
AUCTION UPDATE Essential advice as prices for quality lots are now stabilising. WORDS: NILESH PATEL
What we have seen in 2016 following Brexit is an increasing divergence in pricing between secure, bluechip properties with long leases and riskier ones in secondary locations. Yields of ca. 5%, which were previously reserved for London investments, are now being paid for quality properties nationwide. The trend continued in the ﬁrst national commercial property auction round of 2017, but ﬁnally this pricing appears to have stabilised. The auction houses’ 90%+ sales rates suggest sellers’ and buyers’ pricing expectations are in line, a sign of price stability. For anyone thinking about commercial property investment following the recent buy-to-let tax changes, the following properties are solid investments under £1m which we sold in the open market in February.
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AUCTIONS GUIDE PRICE:
£300,000 (8.3% - 7.7% GROSS)
LOT 33 (ALLSOP) SPAR, KELLOE, DURHAM DESCRIPTION: Freehold, single-storey, 1,921 sq.ft. convenience store with basement storage on a 0.2 acre site with 5 car parking spaces TENANCY: Let to North East Convenience Stores (owned by James Hall & Co, a distributor to 600 Spar stores in North England) for 10 years from 21/07/2016 for £25,000 p.a. FR&I lease. LOCATION: Central location in Kelloe, a small village 6.8 miles south-east of Durham in North-
East England OUR COMMENT: We advised our client to sell this small, bluechip investment via Auction, given it ticked many of the boxes of your typical private investor i.e. small lot size, 10 year lease, strong covenant, whole building & parking. Whilst the location is fairly rural, it is the only convenience store in the village. The eventual buyer was a local investor who saw off 3 other local bidders in a 4-way telephone bidding war!
IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A COMMERCIAL PROPERTY INVESTMENT IN 2017 VIA AUCTION OR PRIVATELY, DO CONTACT ME ON NILESH@ PRIDEMANAGEMENT.CO.UK OR 0203 113 2142. WE HAVE A NUMBER OF OFF-MARKET INVESTMENTS AVAILABLE NOW, AND WILL BE ACTIVELY BUYING AND SELLING IN THE UPCOMING MARCH AUCTIONS.
£600,000+ (5.6% GROSS)
£705,000 (4.8% GROSS)
£450,000+ (6.9% GROSS)
£587,500 (5.3% GROSS)
LOT 37 (ALLSOP) INDEPENDENT VETCARE, BRISTOL DESCRIPTION: Virtual Freehold, ground floor 1,808 sq. ft. Vet Practice with 8 car parking spaces TENANCY: Let to Independent Vetcare Ltd for 15 years from 18/03/2016 for £31,000 p.a. FR&I lease. LOCATION: Affluent suburb of Bristol, within a commercial parade on an arterial road leading into the city centre OUR COMMENT: A well-located property let for 15 years to a strong covenant is a rare find these days, and the medical
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usage makes it even more attractive. We initially sounded out a few of our private buyers about this in Autumn 2016 and put it under offer at a lower price to a SIPP investor. Regrettably, their SIPP was unable to transact in the timeframe demanded by the seller (not an uncommon occurrence) and we booked it into auction. The eventual buyer was the original SIPP investor he liked the property, had done his homework and did not want to let it go.
LOT 17 (BARNETT ROSS) 3 SHOPS, FLAT & REAR WORKSHOP, KENTON, GREATER LONDON DESCRIPTION: Freehold building comprising 3 shops, a rear workshop, a 1st floor flat & disused 2nd floor, with parking for 4 cars TENANCY: Commercial units let to independent tenants (Dry Cleaners, Minicab, Computer Shop, Music Studio) on FR&I leases & flat let on an AST. Total rent: £33,720 p.a. LOCATION: Busy and popular London suburb, right next to Kenton Station OUR COMMENT: There is potential to convert the disused
2nd floor into another flat in the medium term, and doing so would increase the yield (and value) significantly. We advised the seller to place this in the Barnett Ross auction expecting it to greatly appeal to their property-savvy local buyers, and there was huge interest. Whilst demand for residential buy-to-let property has waned following recent tax changes, many investors are looking at shops with flats where those tax rules do not apply.
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INDIAN HERBS AT YOUR LONDON HOME
Forget those tired supermarket herbs. Join the trend and grow your own! WORDS: SRI DIMOND
ot so long ago, peaches grew in walled gardens in London, as despite the winters being cold enough to freeze the Thames, summers would be hot. Window sills these days can create a greenhouse effect, due to very efficient double glazing. Temperatures stay steady and direct sun is not necessarily needed or wanted. Conditions are ripe for the growth of herbs, especially those that like warmth. So here are five delicious herbs that can be grown indoors and/or outdoors. Green fingers help though are not essential, but patience works wonders, as does talking to your herbs and remembering exactly how much water they like and when. And feel free to sing to them too! Good luckâ€Ś
1Mint or Pudina Pudi
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This is a staple herb for Indian, Asian and fusion recipes, and grows easily in the UK, although it prefers to be in a fairly well drained soil and have a reasonable amount of sun. If happy it will take over your garden, so do take care to plant it in a large pot if you donâ€™t want Mintaggedon! Alternatively, grow your mint indoors on a windowsill. It makes a delicious chutney, is a delight with yoghurt and of course is always a
reviving yet calming tea. Just pour boiling water over 3 or 4 leaves taken from the top of the plant. TIP Be careful not to overwater. HEALTH Excellent for digestion.
2 Coriander or Dhania
Also known as Cilantro or Dhania, Coriander is the welcome fresh green addition to most Indian dishes. It can be grown easily on a sunny windowsill. You can buy seeds or just take some from your dried coriander berry jar and place in a pot or tray, covered lightly with some soil. Once these take root they will grow fast so make sure you cut and use, to prevent them going to
greek u n e F eds se seed. This can be when they’re just 2 inches high. If it’s the seeds you’re after, however, wait until small white ﬂowers have appeared and the seeds produced have turned brown. Dry, in sun if possible, then store in a sterilised container. TIP Sow just before winter comes and you will benefit all through the cold season. Sow new seeds every 2 weeks or so. HEALTH Coriander enables the body to rid itself of heavy metals taken in from food or through airborn particles, especially in urban environments with heavy traffic fumes.
3 Curry leaves or Kadi Patta
Fresh curry leaves are not easy to ﬁnd, and dried ones seem to have lost much of their ﬂavour. Murraya koenigii is the plant whose leaves are used in Indian cooking, quickly fried in oil and added to a curry as a ﬁnish or garnish. A popular ingredient in almost every Indian kitchen, this can grow in a reasonably sized container. It is slow growing, so best to start with a plant at least 2 feet tall if you want to use some leaves straight away.
Even though it’s a hardy plant, it can be fussy at times too. TIP Does not like frost so keep indoors when need be. Does not take direct sunlight either, as in the wild they grow on the forest ﬂoor. Diluted, leftover curd or buttermilk make an excellent fertilizer for it. HEALTH Some say it encourages hair growth among many medicinal properties.
5 Fenugreek or methi
Like coriander, you can grow fenugreek or methi, for the leaves or seeds, both of which will give your recipes a distinctive mustard ﬂavour and aroma. You can grow fenugreek from the seeds you buy in the supermarket, spread evenly over a seed tray ﬁlled with compost. Cover the seeds very lightly with more compost, and place a clear lid or polythene bag over the seed tray. Place somewhere light, bright and warm and seeds should germinate in just two to three days. TIP Soak the seeds before placing on the seed tray HEALTH Helps with digestion and inﬂammation - so good for mouth ulcers - and much more! An energy packed source of health and well being.
4 Basil or Tulasi
Tulsi is a revered plant in India, also worshipped worldwide in homes and temples. She is not the easiest plant to grow but once strong roots appear she will grow for years. If well developed, clip the branches periodically when the plant is young, but not in a delicate stage. This encourages growth and the plant becomes healthier and lush. Pick any dried seeds off the plant and bury them in the soil. These will grow and can be transplanted once strong enough. TIP Tulsi needs lots of sunshine so take care not to grow in shade and water every day, but moderately. HEALTH Tulsi has a soothing fragrance which quickly eases bronchial problems. Crush a bunch of Tulsi leaves with ginger to make a paste and mix with honey; swallow a teaspoonful when you have a cold.
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Zach Reynolds Coffee with
WORDS: RACHEL DIMOND
What do you think makes a great Conveyancing Solicitor?
Commitment, attention to detail, organisation, and motivation. I would also add great personal skills and the ability to stay calm under pressure. Being decisive, the desire and passion to succeed are all essential.
How did you get into property law?
I was qualifying as a trainee when the property partner at the firm resigned, and I was offered the opportunity to essentially be in charge of the property department. I had previously planned to go into the corporate law area.
Could you describe a typical Monday Morning?
I wake up around 5:00 am and start the day off with the intention I have for the day. I think of the impact I would like to make and what my stake is in the day. This helps me take informed decisions. Next I head off to the gym for an hour. It’s the one place I can switch off completely as I’m open access with texts, calls, emails. I value this time and find it an oasis of calm. I surface with a protein shake, ready to hit the desk and get things going.
Do you regularly work late?
I usually work in the office until about 6:30 pm. I work late if there are deals to be done.
How has your job changed in the last decade?
Well primarily, it’s the speed of technology that has hugely changed things . Email has completely transformed the workflow. I would say this is for the good, and maybe also the bad. We receive papers immediately, but that doesn’t change the time it takes to read and analyse them. Because we have
ASIAN HOUSE & HOME I SPRING 2017
received the papers, a client often expects an answer to be immediate, and when this is not the case, it can get frustrating for them. However, an email sent in haste could make a client feel uneasy, quite unnecessarily, so it’s important to be cautious and thoughtful while communicating. Emails have make everything a lot more transparent, which is a good thing.
Do you believe there is a quality issue in conveyancing at the moment?
I do not, no! I think if you are cost driven, it may increase the chances of having issues of quality. But if you are prepared to pay a reasonable amount, you can buy quality. It always amazes me that people could be spending millions on property transaction but try to cut costs and save a few hundred on conveyancing. It just doesn’t make sense to cut these corners. At the right level there are plenty of good quality conveyers.
Could you give a positive and a negative view on any law changes or legislation that affects you?
Well the negatives are easier to focus on, as there are more of these. An example is the stamp duty land tax changes - these have made it very expensive to buy second homes or buy to let properties. After some thought, I would say that the real positives were the home information packs (although no longer in force) as they provided some great information early on in the transaction. I also feel that the advanced due diligence is great because this really sorts out qualifying clients and stops the waste of time, as relevant paperwork has to be shown upfront.
If we were celebrating a year from now, what would your successes be?
Could you tell me about some of your proudest moments?
I would love to celebrate a good year for my team, new additions to the team, members being promoted, achieving targets and having a great team who are passionate and love what they do! Taking a more general view, I would love to see a more active market - with changes to the stamp duty land taxes.
My firm won an award for being the best property team. That was a great moment. I am proud of my team and all their joint and individual awards. Personally I am proud that 20 years ago I was starting out with a strong intention to become a ‘someone’ in the Central London Property market! Now I feel I have achieved this. The objective now is to transform the way clients and agents experience relationships with (property) lawyers.
So to tie up – any comments?
It really is the relationships in this business that drives me. The emotion involved in an investment, the gut feelings, the responses, and creating successes. It’s a highly dynamic, busy and fast world and it’s incredibly exciting when you focus on the relationships!
Zach Reynolds started working with Child & Child in April 2016, with six solicitors from his former team. He leads the residential property department at Child & Child and is one of the market leaders in the prime Central London market, focusing on premium conveyancing for high-net-worth clients, investors, developers, and banks. Zach has built up a first class commercial property practice acting for developers, investors, listed property funds and property and logistics companies in connection with multi-million pound site acquisitions, disposals, investments in hotel, health and retail sectors and residential developments. He qualified as a solicitor in 1998. Over the ensuing 20 years, he headed property departments and developed a reputation as a leading lawyer and team leader.
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