The Property Voice
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The Property Voice
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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Why Dividing Up a Small Room Can Maximise Space

Why Dividing Up a Small Room Can Maximise Space | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
Often, it seems the obvious way to make a small space feel bigger is to knock down walls, but it’s not the only solution
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Some really clever design ideas in here...we don't always have to go fully open plan you know...
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Infographic: 12 Influential Smart Home Inventions, and Why They Matter

Infographic: 12 Influential Smart Home Inventions, and Why They Matter | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
The future of the home is with smart technology - see the key smart home inventions that are set to influence the industry going forward.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
To be honest, the references to The Dead Kennedys and Kraftwerk sealed this share lol.

On a serious note...Smart Homes are here to stay...it's just a question of determining who will be the Kraftwerks and who will be The Pet Shop Boys really ;)
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Mapped: The Countries With the Highest Housing Bubble Risks

Mapped: The Countries With the Highest Housing Bubble Risks | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
Which real estate markets have the highest risk of seeing a correction? These maps highlight housing bubble risks using data from four key indicators.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Not great reading if you have property interests in Canada or New Zealand. Australia and Holland are not that far behind either.

As the piece suggests, some countries are taking steps to limit house price growth, either by placing limits on foreign buyers or with tighter access to credit, as has been the case in the UK.

The best responses as far as I am concerned are:

1. Invest primarily for income, with a big enough income to debt coverage ratio.
2. Force the appreciation rather than speculate on capital appreciation by adding value instead of chasing house price growth.
3. Diversify to spread your risk...spread your bets geographically, by property type and by income model or strategy (BTL, SA, development, etc.).
4. Fix your interest rate long and have a contingency plan ('safety net fund' or other income streams) to avoid any nasty surprises.

Take house prices out of the equation on the downside in other words.
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How much could prime property prices be increased by under new plans by Boris?

How much could prime property prices be increased by under new plans by Boris? | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
In 2014, George Osborne shook up stamp duty thresholds across the UK. Five years later, Boris wants to roll them back.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
I am feeling uncomfortable about this. Do we really need to give tax breaks for the super-rich and super-prime property owners? In my honest opinion, no we don't! I'm all for the middle class strivers retain more, as well as a welfare safety net for those in need but I can't see many equitable arguments for the super-rich to be given greater tax breaks in all honesty.

I don't know if these tax plans are designed to get the Tory party membership to support him in the leadership vote but I can't help but think the wider electorate will see straight through these plans as benefiting those that actually need it the least.
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The Simple Truth Behind Reading 200 Books a Year

During a period of dissatisfaction, a writer follows Warren Buffett’s advice to read 500 pages a day and, 200 books and one year later, he shares his insights on how anyone can make more time to read.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
If you want to read 200 books a year you need to spend 1-2 hours a day reading...simple...if not always easy!
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Investors swoop on British build-to-rent sector - Reuters

Investors swoop on British build-to-rent sector - Reuters | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
“The UK is in the early stages of a secular shift towards institutionally-owned urban rental housing, similar to what we have seen in the US over the last two decades,”
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Key phrase: “The UK is in the early stages of a secular shift towards institutionally-owned urban rental housing, similar to what we have seen in the US over the last two decades,”

Key takeaway: Build-to-rent (and Convert-to-Rent) offers great opportunities as a hybrid between development and BTL. Imagine Buy-Refurbish-Refinance (BRR) on steroids...as that's what it is.
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Housesimple to sell homes for free

Housesimple to sell homes for free | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
The UK’s 5th largest single-brand estate agency, Housesimple, has announced that it aims to save sellers over £3,000 in commission by selling homes for free.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
David Winsper alerted me to this news earlier today. It's hard to imagine how anyone can survive when they do not charge for a service. OK, so they plan to make their money from referral fees on cross-sold services, such as conveyancing and arranging mortgages. But having an estate agency to run as the lead funnel, when there is no guarantee of securing the referral business doesn't sound that sustainable to me.

I'm all for improving consumer choice and value but it has to provide a sustainable long-term solution. Just look at what happened to Emoov is all I can say...let's see what happens...
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Infographic: How Long it Took Billionaires to Earn Their First $1 Million

Infographic: How Long it Took Billionaires to Earn Their First $1 Million | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
For the world's wealthiest self-made billionaires, how long did it take to earn the very first $1 million of their vast fortunes?
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Spoiler...it's surprisingly 8 years on average, or 5.8 years in real estate property. This seems to prove the old adage that we overestimate what we can achieve short-term, whilst underestimating what we can achieve long-term.
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Politicians need to focus on consumers when it comes to housing

Politicians need to focus on consumers when it comes to housing | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
There are times you think ‘be careful what you wish for’. I remember working hard some years ago (with others) to try and raise the importance of housing on the political agenda. Now it is high on every MPs political agenda and I feel we’re heading for a real mess in the housing market. Unfortunately, …
Richard W J Brown's insight:
So much common sense in this thoughtful piece by Kate Faulkner. There are two elephants in the room, not one!

The first, with housing affordability, the equation has TWO sides...house prices for the housing market or rent levels in the PRS and income levels on the other side to derive the housing affordability metrics. By focusing on just one side of the equation, we are missing the point...wages are not rising at a 'normal level', which would be close to RPI (the measure that includes the cost of housing), especially among the lower paid and 'key worker' categories.

The second, people love to beat up landlords and developers when it comes to debating the 'housing crisis'. However, in what other private sector businesses would you expect these private sector organisations to deliver their products at a loss? The problem is that much of the expectation to fix the problem has been increasingly thrust upon the private sector, when much of the problem is a wider social one.

The solution should be to adopt a balanced and inclusive approach, not a 'blame game' or 'vote-grabbing soundbites'. If we really want to fix the housing crisis, then ALL stakeholders should be involved, with suitable policies and incentives that will deliver the outcomes required. We don't have that and have not had that for many years now. If people don't want the private sector landlords and developers to 'profit' from fixing the issue, then the alternative is for Government to provide the necessary homes instead. Of course, that would come at a massive cost and would also increase the national debt and/or taxes. So, it's simply easier to shift the burden onto the private sector but to then give them a good kicking when they behave as most private sector businesses do is simply bizarre.
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Climate change: UK government to commit to 2050 target

Climate change: UK government to commit to 2050 target | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
The UK will set a new legally binding target to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
It is genuinely heart-warming (not global warming) to read this announcement and I am proud today to be British (even if not so proud about the whole Brexit saga)!

Net-neutral carbon emissions by 2050 is the revised and uplifted target (was 80% reduction). OK, so some people are still saying it will be too little, too late...but it sounds like more than the rest of the world has committed to, so its a good place to start and it's good that Britain is taking a lead on this. Not a bad legacy for Prime Minister May to leave behind, even if it wasn't the one she wanted to!

One thing that will be of concern of course is that this will cost more money and lead to changed habits. Higher bills and higher taxes are the obvious consequences of this new target, so let's prepare ourselves for that...for the sake of our children and our children's children.
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Renters would no longer have to pay Council Tax under new plans put to Labour

Renters would no longer have to pay Council Tax under new plans put to Labour | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
Council Tax to be replaced with a new regime – and landlords to pick up the bill
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Imagine council tax being changed so that the property owner (i.e. landlord) and not a tenant has to pay it. Now imagine that this 'land value tax' is a variation of the 'mansion tax', which will be used to 'regulate house prices' and also 'redistribute wealth'. finally, imagine that your solution as a landlord to such increased costs in the form of increased rent is made impossible due to 'rent controls' introduced at the same time.

E voila...you have the designs of future Labour party policy!
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Multi-brand PropTech group targets students ‘throug...

Multi-brand PropTech group targets students ‘throug... | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
A PropTech platform launched three years ago acting as a search system for students wanting purpose-built accommodation is evolving into a large service which, i
Richard W J Brown's insight:
One to watch I reckon...students and Millennials in general should be the driving force behind co-living and similar new modes of renting going forward.
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BBC - Culture - 10 dream homes from the past century

BBC - Culture - 10 dream homes from the past century | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
From a Modernist desert retreat to a camouflaged turf lodge, a new book, Houses: Extraordinary Living, explores the diversity of some of the world’s most awe-inspiring abodes.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Property Porn! I can't decide which is my favourite...it's between Canada and Chile right now. Lots of glass and wood I guess is my thing then...what's your's?
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Next Gen Personal Finance: Home

Next Gen Personal Finance: Home | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
Explore our most exciting release of the summer: the 9-Week Course
Richard W J Brown's insight:
EVERYONE should have a go at playing the Stax game on this site!! 

What a great resource to teach advanced personal finance principles to 'the next generation', which I am interpreting to mean the next generation of investing rather than the next generation by age ;)

Brilliant resource...
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Thinking outside the box

Thinking outside the box | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
The Property Chronicle offers a considered view of the property market. It brings together high quality research and opinion, along with an insider’s take on the property sector.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
More insights from 'friend of The Property Voice', Ben Habib. Fearful and greedy...being applied in action I reckon.
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Room rents up 8% following Tenant Fee Act

Room rents up 8% following Tenant Fee Act | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
The latest research from room share platform, ideal flatmate, has looked at the cost of renting a room across the UK’s major cities during Q2 2019.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Hmm...now that could never be foreseen now could it?
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The property investors guide to refurb finance

The property investors guide to refurb finance | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
Are you one of the growing number of property investors looking to generate better returns on your investment?
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Good to know the different types of funding available for your refurb/works/development project.

Note that some lenders determine the difference between a light and a heavy refurb to be linked to the cost of works as a % of the property purchase price, typically 15% being used as the arbitrary line that separates the two.

Development finance is a great tool that allows you to access funding when the cost of a project starts to form a significant part of the total development cost and can be a real game-changer as a result...making your personal funds stretch further.
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The 3 Keys to Becoming Irresistible – Personal Growth

There’s a routine question asked in job interviews, first dates, table games and so on: What is the most important thing you look for in other people? There’s variations on this format (i.e. “What’s…
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Love this...

Humility is the soul. 
Curiosity is the mind. 
Empathy is the heart.
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Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs unveils 1,524-page development plan for Toronto’s waterfront

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs unveils 1,524-page development plan for Toronto’s waterfront | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs today unveiled its draft Master Innovation and Development Plan (MIDP) for Toronto’s eastern waterfront. The 1,524-page plan proposes thermal energy grids, factory-based construction of timber buildings, and a mobility network with heated bike lanes and adaptive traffic signals. You can download the full plan, titled Toronto Tomorrow: A New Approach for Inclusive …
Richard W J Brown's insight:
This is going to be massive...and yet also quite small in terms of global real estate investment.

Billions will be spent on the new 'smart city' development in Toronto by Alphabet (Google), although it looks like it will be both amazing and impact-full. Of particular note was the level of 'below market & affordable properties' within the scheme, which will be interesting to see how that is delivered. One way is by using 'mass timber' as a building material, which it is claimed is a strong as concrete.

A small glimpse into the future then...
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'I turned a side hustle into millions'

'I turned a side hustle into millions' | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
EBay says more under-30s are notching up £1m worth of sales on its marketplace.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
I love the term 'side hustle' so much as it speaks volumes about those that want to get on and make a difference and to take control of their destiny. I once had a digital business that managed to turn over around £150k whilst I was also working full-time. For me, this meant that my wife did not have to return to work as we started a family...it could have grown into something else as well as is the case with this chap.

So...applying Rich Dad, Poor Dad (Kiyosaki) & Unscripted (DeMarco) principles to this...consider the following plan:

1. Have a main income source, probably from employment
2. Set up a 'side hustle' business outside of your working hours
3. Save excess profits and invest them into income-generating assets, such as property
4. Potentially grow the side hustle into a main source of income
5. Potentially also grow the side hustle into a valuable business that could be sold

What you will have just done is move from employee to business owner and/or asset owner all from spending a little bit of time on evenings or weekends developing a simple solution to other peoples' needs, wants and problems!

Sweet...
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Flat-pack home? Ikea moves in on UK housing

Flat-pack home? Ikea moves in on UK housing | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
The Swedish company's joint venture BoKlok is working with Worthing council to build affordable homes.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
It's an easy (lazy?) headline after all...but this is just another example of how house-building is progressing with technology like modular offsite construction.
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Mayor steps in to get more affordable homes built in London

Mayor steps in to get more affordable homes built in London | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
The number of affordable homes in London got a significant boost when the Mayor intervened to more than triple the number being built on a new development. Sadiq Khan has approved a development with 100% affordable housing and a new hotel. The Kensington Forum Hotel will deliver 62 new homes, all of which will be …
Richard W J Brown's insight:
It just goes to show that everyone can we win when a planning application is looked at in a positive light, so fair play to the Mayor of London for 'calling-in' this one and finding a solution that works for all parties.

Of course the headlines are around how the Mayor managed to get 100% affordable housing into this site. This struck me as odd for a private developer to be able to achieve this, after all, affordable housing is often simply not as profitable to develop. That's when I noticed that the scheme also includes a 749-bedroom hotel and 340 serviced apartments and the original number of housing units on the site has increased by about 50% to 62 as well.

No doubt, the provision of the additional units will have helped to subsidized the cost of building them within the overall scheme. As a developer, I would welcome an engaging conversation with the planners to try to arrive at something that genuinely works for all parties, such as this.
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PropTech boss renews call for agents to offset Fees Ban

PropTech boss renews call for agents to offset Fees Ban | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
The head of an automated payment system for the rental sector says lettings agents can help offset losses caused by the fees ban through th
Richard W J Brown's insight:
I could not agree more. The lazy solution from letting agents is simply to put their rates up to landlords. Well, guess what, those that have done that recently better watch out, as people like me are now looking for a PropTech solution to replace the agent altogether.

The business response to removal of an income stream from one set of customer by increasing revenues to another set of customers is never going to be well-received, especially when the service offers no extra value.

My prediction, rents will increase but so too will the number of landlords switching to self-management, using PropTech as they do. There are no real winners here unfortunately, as tenants will pay more in rent, letting agents will lose margin and landlords will have more work to do just to stand still. Great politics then hey?
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UK property finance company Lendy collapses

UK property finance company Lendy collapses | The Property Voice | Scoop.it
Failure raises prospect of multimillion-pound losses for investors who lent to developers
Richard W J Brown's insight:
Not good news if you have funds invested via the Lendy P2P platform unfortunately. P2P is a great idea...as long as the platform runs it's business well!
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Landlords are Turning their Backs on the Conservative Party, Survey Finds

Private landlords are turning their backs on the Conservative Party, with just one in six now saying that they would support it in an election.
Richard W J Brown's insight:
It's clear where the sentiment lies among landlords, as it is also clear how far the Conservatives have gone to erode the fundamentals of the BTL sector.

The big question remains, who else could you trust to not do a worse job AND stands a chance of commanding sufficient power in Parliament? That's the dilemma and one that the Conservative Party are exploiting to the full.

The best solution is one that was previously missed...a coalition Government. It's a pity that the Lid Dems completely blew it when they had their chance as part of the last coalition that we had. If they could have brought about proportional representation, then we would have a better choice than the apparent two party power-struggle that we now have. That said, it appears that all the main parties are anti-landlord, so perhaps they will agree to bash us some more!

A coalition should mean compromise and less extremism generally, however, which is good for the country overall...so, how do we bring that about again I wonder?
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