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Residential Property Investment - buying, selling, renting, managing & financing residential property or real estate from www.thepropertyvoice.net UPDATE: Book & Podcast out now!
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Proptech predictions for 2020: Blockchain, Brexit and the rise of co-living

Proptech predictions for 2020: Blockchain, Brexit and the rise of co-living | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
With uncertainty still lingering in the UK property market around Brexit, emerging technologies set for more widespread adoption and the continued popularity of co-living, what’s in store for the property market in 2020?
Richard W J Brown's insight:
If you like to spot trends, then you might find this interesting. 

Whilst blockchain technology is, in my opinion, still a slow-burner, the general use of technology by property owners and managers and a gradual change of attitude to 'property as a service' has more legs I would say.
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50 Ideas for a Lucrative Side Hustle

50 Ideas for a Lucrative Side Hustle | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
You know how to do something people would hire you for, but only if they know you are available.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Looking for a side hustle this year? Here is a list of 50 ideas of possible income-generators.

As far as property is concerned, consider becoming a Viewber, project manager or deal appraiser.
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12 trends that will change the real estate industry in 2020

12 trends that will change the real estate industry in 2020 | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
The end of the year is upon us, and who are we not to partake in that growing festive trend of predicting what will happen over the next 12 months? We would hate to be considered Scrooge-like, so without any messing around, here are Unissu top predictions for real estate and PropTech in the year 2020. The end of the year is upon us, and who are we not to partake in that growing festive trend of predicting what will happen over the next 12 months? We would hate to be considered Scrooge-like, so without any messing around, here are Unissu's top predictions for real estate and PropTech in the year 2020.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Some really interesting and potentially BIG predictions in here.

Whilst Rightmove and Zillow might be making the headlines for the wrong reasons, according to these predictions, I am more interested in a couple of smaller headlines.

The growing emergence of ConTech, especially in the Build-to-Rent sector, and a very niche one of 'identifying rooftop real estate' using of drones and similar particularly caught my eye.
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Commercial Property Valuations - a Time of Change

Richard W J Brown's insight:
Property valuations will be significantly affected by the PropTech movement. This report by Dan Hughes, a friend of The Property Voice, highlights this very well. 

The report identifies 3 key themes where valuers, valuation firms and, as a result, us investors and property buyers will be impacted in the near-term. The role of data collection, the blend of humans and technologies and how valuers face technological challenges in their businesses are considered in this well-researched report.

Well worth a read.
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How to Find Hidden Cameras in Your Airbnb, and Anywhere Else

In recent months there’s been a number of alarming reports of Airbnb hosts installing hidden cameras in their properties but not disclosing them to the guests staying there. Back in January Fast…
Richard W J Brown's insight:
It's very disturbing to think that we might be spied on when staying in someone's property but in these sophisticated tech days, we cannot rule it out!

I have just downloaded Fing after reading this article and I may yet purchase an RF detector after spotting a few items on our network that I could not easily identify!

If you host short-term lets, then think very carefully before installing any covert recording device that could compromise your guest's right to privacy in your property.
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Longer mortgage terms becoming “standard”: Moneyfacts

Longer mortgage terms becoming “standard”: Moneyfacts | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
Longer mortgage terms are becoming “standard”, according to data collected by Moneyfacts. The data shows that the majority of residential mortgages have a standard maximum mortgage term of up to 40 years. On an annual basis, the number of products with a maximum 40-year term increased from 55.5 per cent to 57 per cent. Historically, …
Richard W J Brown's insight:
As I have been predicting for some time...and at over 50% of the residential mortgage market was perhaps a very safe prediction anyway!

If you look at the two main parameters here: mortgage term being 'up to 40 years' and the maximum age upon completion of the mortgage typically being age 70...it does imply getting on the housing ladder no later than age 30. So, any stay at home or renting 30-year olds might want to shop around for the lenders who will assume you will live a bit longer ;)

Look out for inter-generational mortgages starting to mushroom up at some point as well.

What's it all for? Affordability, that's what. However, longer-term mortgages also mean much higher 'total cost of financing' your home, so do the maths before going as long as you can.

Oh...one small point...more lax credit policies from lenders does prop up house prices, which can lead to a property bubble being inflated, which would then lead to a credit crunch as well as a house price crash. Right now it should be OK, but it's like the boiling frog sat in a slowly boiling pan of water...at some point it is going to boil over...
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The new island solving a Nordic housing crisis

The new island solving a Nordic housing crisis | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
The city of Copenhagen often tops global rankings for quality of life. But its growing popularity has put a strain on housing supply, so city planners are working on an bold solution.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
This is really interesting and shows how some are way ahead of us in the UK in terms of urban planning and funding.
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10 Life Quotes That (If Applied) Will Change the Way You See The World Forever

I think I have the answer. Life quotes have a way of piercing through the b.s. and noise surrounding us. Life quotes are the Gordian knots that cut through that noise and reveal the essence of life…
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Love this article...because it really made me think...deeply.

Hope you enjoy it too...
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HS2 railway to be delayed by up to five years

HS2 railway to be delayed by up to five years | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
It will be between 2028 to 2031 before the first trains run on the London to Birmingham route.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
This is what you might call burying bad news among other media attention. If you have been banking on HS2 lifting your property values...you will have to rethink that idea now, as it will be delayed by up to 5 years (phase 1 to Birmingham) and longer for the remaining phases.

I am unconvinced that deadline will be met either...ahem...remember Crossrail?

So, don't hold your breath.
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Who are the 1% in Britain and are you one of them?

Who are the 1% in Britain and are you one of them? | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
The IFS asked who are the 1%, how much does it take to get into that bracket, and are some earning so much that even within that single per cent there is a great disparity?
Richard W J Brown's insight:
A really interesting analysis into the 'top 1%' of income earners here, thanks to Rob Dix for sharing it. In particular, there are significant variations by gender (sorry ladies), location, (sorry Wales) and age (sorry non-Baby Boomers).

I was going to give the magic number of £120k pa...however, when you do drill into the numbers, that number flexing depending on the specifics of sex, age, location and so on as a kind of moving target.

I am going to try and dig out the data for top 1% by wealth, which is going to be even more interesting...
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Landlord possession statistics for England and Wales released

It now takes private landlords an average of 22.5 weeks from making a claim to the courts for a property to be repossessed to it actually happening.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Do you have 5 month's of your BTL operating costs (including mortgage) AND a further sum to cover court and legal fees set aside?

Many don't, but that's how much you will need in the event of the average court repossession claim.

A sobering thought isn't it?
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Which countries sell citizenship and how much it costs

Which countries sell citizenship and how much it costs | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
Fancy living in a European capital, or gaining citizenship of a Caribbean island? If you have deep enough pockets, the world is your oyster, says Alex Rankine.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
A fascinating article on 'Golden Visas', which have been trending among Brits in these Brexit times...
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Homes of the Future

Homes of the Future | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
The megapolis of Tokyo is the most populated in the world – with over 38 million citizens. In spite of its speedily greying population, urban density remains high, and affordable housing is a challenge for young professionals. For many, it’s hard to find rents for under 80,000 yen ($740, £590).

That’s why some of them are choosing to live in tiny, tiny loft apartments – apartments that look more like cupboards than anything else.

By Shiho Fukuda and Keith Bedford
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Micro-living...Tokyo-style! These 'apartments' are 9m2 BUT they are affordable and serve a purpose in the housing market, especially saving on commute times and costs.
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Expert Property Market Forecasts for 2020

Expert Property Market Forecasts for 2020 | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
2020 insights from UK expert property specialists on a range of sectors including buy-to-let, build-to-let, finance, social housing, crowdfunding, housebuilding, planning, commercial property an
Richard W J Brown's insight:
No less than 63 property industry commentators with their views on the #property market for 2020, all in one place!

You will notice that I have not used the term expert, at least not in my own case, as when it comes to making forecasts and predictions, it is an inexact science. However, you can see what I have to say at number 23 on the list.

Enjoy the read...
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The Green Man Hotel

Richard W J Brown's insight:
I was interested to hear about a carbon negative hotel...there are some really interesting building and operating elements in here for those with an interest in sustainability.
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Average transaction time stretches another 15 working days as it takes longer to complete –

Average transaction time stretches another 15 working days as it takes longer to complete – | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
Sales taking 15 working days longer than a year ago to get from under offer to completion
Richard W J Brown's insight:
This is both interesting and frankly very surprising! 120 working days is 24 working weeks, which at almost half a year does seem incredible.

I have certainly witnessed some extended delays in some of my purchases, sales and refinances. There are so many moving parts on a property purchase/sale, that delay is actually built into the system!

One tip if you are selling; consider ordering the local authority search yourself and get your solicitor to pass it across to the buyer on acceptance of the offer. Judging by this report, that should trim 6 weeks off a sale alone.

Second tip: remember that nobody is as interested in your transaction as you are. That means YOU need to be the 'transaction progressor' or the chaser in other words...
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8 Timeless Skills to Learn Now in Under 8 Hours to Change your Life Forever

10,000 hours of deliberate practice is the amount of time it takes to be a top performer in a highly competitive field, according to Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers. In the past 13 months…
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Such a good article! Change your life with 8 practical skills that you can learn in 8 hours each.

Priceless :)
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Museum of the Future: The building designed by an algorithm - BBC Future

Museum of the Future: The building designed by an algorithm - BBC Future | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
Even in a city building as quickly, and as much, as Dubai, the Museum of the Future is known as one of the most challenging construction projects ever attempted.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Fascinating and beautiful...a blend of art and science is going into this building design.
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The ‘parasitic’ homes that could change cities

The ‘parasitic’ homes that could change cities | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
As urban centres face housing shortages and skyrocketing prices, parasitic structures could open the door to a whole new way of living in cities.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
These mall, parasitic homes makes a lot of sense, especially for short-term stays...couldn't they come up with a more appealing name though?

I have toyed with dropping pods into gardens and even inside buildings myself...I'm keen to explore the area further myself, therefore. How about you, what do you think?
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Independent Legal Advice ('ILA') - Local and Online  

Independent Legal Advice ('ILA') - Local and Online   | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
Click Here to Make an Enquiry and gain access to our network of panel solicitor
Richard W J Brown's insight:
I have just been made aware of this service, which serve a specific niche for those annoying times when you need to seek independent legal advice (ILA) at the insistence of a lender for example.

Most people know that a personal guarantee means they will become liable if the party they are guaranteeing does not pay up. However, lenders need to prove that you truly understand this, so that if they later have to call in that PG, they won't come a cropper and have a court throw it out for them. This is why they insist on ILA.

The bad news is that this can be quite costly to arrange, even if you can find a solicitor willing to do so at all (they earn a few hundred quid but have the burden of being legally liable for quite a large sum of money for years to come). So, this service seems to plug that gap. I hear that ILA cost around £250 for a PG recently, where the call was conducted over Skype. That's not bad, even if it's still a tedious pain in the backside after about the 10th time!
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Startup Stories

Startup Stories | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
Richard W J Brown's insight:
If you are into startup stories, especially with a tech perspective...then this series of founder stories from Amazon might catch your eye.
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The rich are different but they pay a lot of tax

The rich are different but they pay a lot of tax | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
Wealth is a combination of cash and assets and many of us have more than we think
Richard W J Brown's insight:
If you saw my last share, it was about the top 1% of earners...this piece is about the top 1% by wealth. Psst...access to the article is by log in or by answering a few simple questions.

If the top 1% UK taxpayer earns £160k pa, then the top 1% by wealth has total net assets at just over £3m (actually £3.2m per the latest ONS data, which is more difficult to share here). So, let's stick with £3.2m then.

The composition of the wealth is also interesting, with nearly 80% of wealth coming from private pensions (42%) and net property assets (35%) when using the ONS data. This is one of the reasons why I bang on about not neglecting your pension, even when trying to develop a property business...it carries a lot of clout! 

The other two big components of wealth FYI are financial assets (savings, ISAs, etc.) and physical assets (possessions, art, etc.).

So, if you want to be considered one of the top 1% in the UK, you would need to earn at least £160k pa and have a net worth of at least £3.2m. This compares to the average of c£25k pa income and c£250k net assets to put things into perspective.
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WeWork's long awaited IPO submission reveals plethora of facts

WeWork's long awaited IPO submission reveals plethora of facts | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
Everything you always wanted to know about WeWork's business model and financials
Richard W J Brown's insight:
WeWork (and WeLive) is definitely disrupting the property industry and is now about to go public too!

I guess it's easy to 'disrupt' an industry if you can deliver a product or service at a huge loss...you will win market share but what about profitability?

Unlike say Airbnb or Uber, where huge investments are spent on marketing to scale their reach, with limited capital investment and fewer long-term operating costs (no properties or cars to fund), WeWork NEEDS to have heavy financial commitments in real estate, mainly through lease commitments. So, combining heavy losses to grow the customer base and also heavy financial commitments to underpin the operating model sounds like an insatiable need for more investment. For me, that doesn't sound like a great basis for a sustainable investment, so 'I'm out'...although, I do like the concept of flexible working that's for sure.
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Universal Laws of the World ·

Universal Laws of the World · | The Property Voice | Scoop.it

If something is true in one field it’s probably true in others. Restricting your attention to your own field blinds you to how many important things people from other fields have figured out that are relevant to your own. Here are a few laws – some scientific, some not – from specific fields that hold universal truths. 

Richard W J Brown's insight:
Fascinating article, unless Universal Law Number 7 listed here is at play ;)
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Flipping has flopped in England and Wales, new study shows

Flipping has flopped in England and Wales, new study shows | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
The number of homes in England and Wales sold more than once within a 12 month period, known as flipping, has fallen dramatically overall since its peak in 2004, new research shows. Last year 18,630 homes were flipped in England and Wales, some 69% less than the 60,340 homes flipped in 2004. However, between 2017 …
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Flipping property for profit is and has always been flipping difficult quite frankly!

I provide a service called Property Deal Tips and we sift through hundreds of opportunities on the open market each week, looking for flip opportunities. We are lucky if we find one or two that make the grade, which this article goes some way to demonstrating.

Here is a recent example...we found a property on the open market, which after paying 95% of the advertised price would have a mark-up to the end value after works of 40%, which is one of our 'golden rules'. This article tells you that this is exceptional, with the average flip mark-up now being 22% only...which is often not a sustainable level to support a reasonable 'developer's margin' or profit.

That project we shared would generate an 11% developer's margin in around 9 months, so around 15% on an annualised basis, which is hardly stellar. The biggest drags on a flipper's profitability are the cost of improvement works, financing charges if not paying cash and then the pure 'transaction costs' (buying, selling and holding costs). Taxation takes a big bite out of the profits with Stamp Duty of around 3% and Corporation Tax of around 2% of the gross development cost (GDC)...that's effectively a third of the profit here in taxation alone!

The single best way to improve this situation is to negotiate deeper discounts at the front end when buying. Even an additional 5% off the purchase price in this example would boost the bottom-line profit by a whopping 40%!! That is why you often find flippers hunting through repossessions, auction listings and any property listing shown as 'cash buyers only', recently reduced, stuck on the market or with 'no chain'. Better still, find a deal off-market, such as going 'direct to vendor' and you might then be able to bag a deep enough discount to make flipping a more sustainable venture.

I have now pretty much stopped flipping single-family homes in the UK and mostly do this in the USA instead. The main differences there are lower land values (making refurbs add more value), faster conveyancing with less restriction on time to refinance/resell from lenders (meaning shorter project times), and no or low Stamp Duty (reducing the tax-drag). It is still competitive and difficult to find the gems over in the States but still doable.

In the UK, my model is to use a combination of discount at the front-end and added value through the project. Adding value with flipping these days is best done by undertaking more than just a cosmetic makeover or an 'as is refurb'. It requires something more on top, such as adding living space (extension), converting a dead space (garage/loft) or a change of use (office/retail to resi say). This is the new flipping model, where a developer really does earn their crust.

Anyway, I have said way more than I intended to and so this more like a mini-blog post now lol. Thanks to Rob Dix for the heads-up on the article, I do hope my additional commentary is insightful for you.
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