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Nov 15, 2023

Buying property investment on your own? Here's what you need to know!

You can actually invest in property such as buy to let and benefit from both rental income and increased equity as the piece of real estate increases in value. Interest rates are quite low and the potential of property increasing in value is so high today that buying a house might turn out to be a very rewarding exercise. Even so, before you put in your money there’re a number of things you need to know. Take time to understand the market fully Investment experts recommend that no matter how lucrative and potentially rewarding a property is you take time to understand it.  You must understand the benefits fully and the potential risks there in.  For instance, if you’re interested in buy-to-let, ensure it’s absolutely what you want and that your investment isn’t better elsewhere. Buying a house might involve committing lots of money to a piece of property and seeking a mortgage. In future, increase in house prices will see you making huge gains from the mortgage debt while a fall in prices will see your deposit severely hit without a change in the mortgage. Investing in property has worked for many. To understand what awaits you, take some time to talk to a friend or acquaintance who’ve invested in property before. Location is key  Investing in a property mean you must mind the location. For buy-to-lets, it must be a very attractive and safe place to live in for all types of potential tenants and property buyers, not necessarily yourself. If the area is crime ridden and lacking in critical amenities it won’t draw anyone’s interest. Essentially, you must ask yourself why anyone would love to live in the area and in that property. Perhaps it’s ease in accessing public transport or proximity to good schools. Be fully convinced about the factors that make the property a prime investment. Understand the maths involved  Prior to committing yourself to search for a house to buy take time to understand the prices of houses you’ve in mind and rent involved if you decide to let. For instance, most investors in buy to let seek a rent covering 125% of their mortgage repayments to about 150% and would require 25% in deposits or more. Once you’re clear about the possible rent and potential mortgage rate decide whether the investment is worth it, factoring in maintenance work involved. Don’t forget insurance After purchasing a property with lots of expensive and appealing features most people just want to have it insured. Even so, most insurers will only cover damages for houses that haven’t been occupied for about a month. If you can’t practically occupy the new property you could go for unoccupied home cover available for three to nine months. Hands on or hands off? Do make up your mind whether an agent is better off managing the property for you or if you’ve the time to do it yourself. Note that management fee will be required if you decide to use an agency but you won’t have to deal with emerging problems such as searching for plumbers, painters or electricians. If you did it yourself, you’ll need time for repairs, promoting the property, availing yourself for viewing among others. Make up your mind how hands on you want to be.

Nov 15, 2023

The history of Benfleet

By learning more about the past of where we live, we can all appreciate and love certain landmarks and historic sites more than ever. So here’s a brief overview of the history of Benfleet and how it came to be the town it is today! Benfleet from the start Up until the time of the first Great War, Benfleet was a country townlet of four to five hundred people. Most of them lived in cottages grouped about the lovely (mainly 13th century) Church, with three inns – the Hoy, the Crown and the Anchor – as focal points. Below the Church was the railway station on the main line from Fenchurch Street to Southend. Beyond that was the Creek separating Canvey Island from the “mainland”. Behind the village rose the wooded hill near the top of which the Vicarage had been built in 1852. There were a few outlying farms and a scattering of houses; but the main impression must have been of a sleepy, isolated country parish, overlooking Canvey to the broad waters of the Thames Estuary. The inhabitants mostly made their living by agriculture, with a few boatmen and boat-builders and small tradesfolk. Canvey Island Canvey Island was once little more than a mud-flat, reaching out into the Estuary, partially covered by water at high tide.  In the 18th century, Dutch engineers built a strong earth wall all round it, where half a dozen farmers tilled the rescued soil. Growth of the population After the war the attractions of both Benfleet and Canvey as places to retire to brought along an increasing number of residents, mostly from the eastern parts of London; others found that, with a one-hour train service to London, it was practicable to live in the country and work in town. Further, Canvey’s possibilities as a seaside resort were discovered and exploited to good effect.  For the East End Cockney there was a lot to be said for beaches little more than an hour’s journey from Bethnal Green. By 1927 this post-war “development” was in full spate. Planning was primitive to non-existent; restrictions on type and quality of building were ignored. A dozen or so tracks, compact of grass, weeds or dust in summer, and of squelchy mud in winter, were designated as roads and lined irregularly by bungalows and villas, often of the cheapest materials and crudest design. So it was that by 1927 Benfleet’s population had risen to two thousand, and the majority were new-comers. The Battle of Benfleet The Battle of Benfleet took place between the Vikings and Saxons in 894 A.D. This was towards the end of the Saxon period, and the Thames and other waterways made the area vulnerable to Viking attacks. Benfleet was used as a Viking base. However the Vikings were defeated in the battle by the army of King Alfred under the command of his son Edward the Elder and his son-in-law Earl Aethelred of Mercia. Subsequently a church was built by the Saxons in thanksgiving for the victory over the Vikings. St Mary's church is the most recent church building occupying this site. South Benfleet School South Benfleet School was opened on its current site on April 9th 1926 as an ‘all age’ school, to serve the educational needs of the whole of South Benfleet. The school was built to replace the 'Old School' situated in School Lane near the station (now a car park!). Benfleet Downs The Benfleet Downs are also known as Hadleigh Downs, and they form an escarpment overlooking Benfleet creek and Hadleigh Marshes. The public had been allowed access to Benfleet Downs by the Barnes family who owned some of it. One of the last acts of the Benfleet Parish Council was to purchase 30 acres of The Downs in 1929, with a view to it becoming a public open space. Today the downs and the marshes form part of the Hadleigh Country Park, or Hadleigh Castle Country Park, which affords walks, cycle routes and bridle ways. They give an impressive panorama over the River Thames to the hills of Kent and imposing views of Hadleigh Castle.

Nov 15, 2023

BOOST your property’s kerb appeal

If you didn’t know by now, first impressions count. That “WOW” factor is essential to turn heads. Growing plants is one of the most sure-fire ways to increase that all-important kerb appeal. Height matters Now is the time of year that sweet pea seeds can be sown outside - preferable in a pot with a wigwam to crawl up. You can easily construct your very own wigwam with bamboo and a bit of twine. This is cheap and cheerful but always looks shop-bought. Sweet peas are also great cut flowers, too - before showing off your amazing property, why not pop a few of them in a vase around your home to connect your outdoor and indoor spaces better. Think again when thinking of dahlias and begonias Even though they are fan favourites, summer flowers like dahlias and begonias don’t handle the cold weather very well, and therefore might not be your best choices when planting this time of year. If you want to plant them then keep them sheltered - pot them in the garden shed until the cold weather is out the way for good. Self-sufficient If you’re a landlord and looking for something that’s low maintenance, then look no further than daylilies. Beautiful, bright, and tough, these come in many different colours and look immediately at home along a pathway. If your new tenant doesn’t have a green thumb, these flowers will keep their kerb appeal with no effort needed. For quick colour This is the perfect time of year to start removing those dying (or dead) winter plants. While you’re cleaning up your garden beds and planting your new flowers, why not consider where you’d put things like hanging baskets and new garden pots. Next month, around mid-May, you should consider things that are easily removable if you’re planning to sell. Filling that pot When it comes to looking for plants for your pots, we’re all different, but we all probably want something tall, colourful, and attention-grabbing. Here’s how to plant a pot accordingly... The Thriller The thriller should bring the height - which is why ornamental grasses are often used here. This is a great opportunity to naturally set the theme and colour of the pot. The Spiller The spiller is something that cascades over the edges of the pot. Ivy or trailing begonia will make the whole display feel more bountiful and eye-catching. The Filler The filler’s aim is to fill out the display and cover any bare spots. Lobelia, petunia, and coleus are all great choices here.

Nov 2, 2023

WHY CHOOSE FISKS AS YOUR ESTATE AGENT WHEN SELLING

When it comes to selling your property, choosing the right estate agent can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth and successful transaction. With numerous options available in the market, it's essential to select an agent who not only understands your needs but also has the expertise and resources to maximise the value of your home. Extensive Market Knowledge Our estate agents at Fisks have a deep understanding of the local property market and trends. They actively monitor fluctuations in prices, demand, and property types, allowing them to provide accurate valuations and recommend competitive selling prices. By tapping into this knowledge, you can optimise your property's potential and attract serious buyers. Wide Network of Buyers Owing to their extensive experience in the industry, Fisks have developed strong connections within the local market. They maintain a database of potential buyers actively seeking properties, enabling them to match your home with qualified purchasers efficiently. This network gives you an advantage, ensuring your property reaches the right audience within a short timeframe. Tailored Marketing Strategies Effective marketing plays a critical role in creating interest and demand for your property. Fisks employ a range of marketing strategies tailored to your unique needs. From professional photography and virtual tours to targeted online advertising on social media, our approach increases your property's visibility and enhances its appeal to prospective buyers. Negotiation Skills Negotiating a fair price is a crucial aspect of any property transaction. Our estate agents possess excellent negotiation skills, honed through years of experience in handling various deals. They will negotiate on your behalf, ensuring you achieve the best possible price for your property. Efficient and Smooth Transactions Selling a property involves various legal and administrative procedures, which can be overwhelming for someone unfamiliar with the process. Fisks are well-versed in the necessary paperwork, ensuring that all legal requirements are met, contracts are drawn up accurately, and deadlines are adhered to. Their expertise minimises delays and uncertainties, facilitating a smooth and hassle-free transaction. Expert Advice and Guidance Navigating the complexities of the property market requires expert guidance, and our team are here to provide it. They will offer tailored advice on enhancing your property's marketability, suggest cost-effective improvements, and guide you on how to present your home in the best possible light to attract potential buyers. With their industry insights, you can make informed decisions at every step of the selling process. Continuous Support Selling a property can be a time-consuming and emotional journey. Fisks provide constant support, guiding you from the initial valuation to completion. They will keep you informed about market updates, buyer feedback, and provide regular progress reports. Their dedication ensures you remain well-informed and supported throughout the entire selling process. Conclusion Selling a property can be a daunting task, but with the assistance of Fisks, the entire process becomes more manageable and rewarding. Their extensive market knowledge, wide network of buyers, tailored marketing strategies, negotiation skills, efficient transactions, expert advice, and continuous support ensure that you achieve the best outcome for your property sale. Entrusting your property to our estate agents will not only save you time and effort but also maximise your property's potential and facilitate a smooth selling experience.

Nov 2, 2023

The Home Moving Process Explained

Moving to a new home can be both an exciting and daunting experience. Whether you're relocating to a new city, upgrading to a larger space, or downsizing, understanding the home moving process is essential for a smooth transition. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the key steps of the home moving process, from the initial planning stages to settling into your new abode. Assess Your Needs And Budget Before embarking on your home moving journey, take the time to assess your needs and budget. Determine what you require in your new home, such as the number of bedrooms, proximity to work, schools, and amenities. Establishing a budget will help you narrow down your options and avoid overspending. Hire An Estate Agent If you're buying a new home, you should hire a qualified estate agent. They can help you find suitable properties, negotiate offers, and navigate the complex world of property. For renters, reach out to estate agents or search online platforms for available rental properties. Sell Your Current Home Or Give Notice If you're a homeowner, you'll need to decide whether to sell your current property or rent it out. If you choose to sell, enlist the services of an estate agent to list and market your home. Renters should provide appropriate notice to their landlords, typically following the terms of their lease agreement. Secure Financing For buyers, securing financing is a crucial step. You'll need to apply for a mortgage loan, gather financial documents, and get pre-approved by a lender. This step will help you determine your purchasing power and make the house-hunting process more efficient. House Hunting Now comes the exciting part: searching for your new home. With the help of your estate agent, visit properties that meet your criteria. Take notes, ask questions, and consider the pros and cons of each option. Patience is key during this phase. Make An Offer Once you've found the perfect home, it's time to make an offer. Your estate agent will assist you in crafting a competitive offer that considers market conditions and the seller's expectations. Negotiations may follow, with counteroffers until both parties reach an agreement. Complete The Purchase Or Lease Agreement For buyers, the next steps involve completing the purchase agreement, securing financing, and conducting inspections and appraisals. Once all contingencies are met, you can proceed to the closing table to sign the final paperwork. Pack And Prepare For The Move As the closing date approaches, begin packing your belongings. Label boxes, create an inventory list, and hire movers or rent a truck if needed. Notify utility companies of your move and arrange for service transfers to your new address. Moving Day On moving day, oversee the process and ensure that all your belongings are safely transported to your new home. Make sure you have essential items readily accessible, such as toiletries, medications, and important documents. Settling In Once you've arrived at your new home, take the time to settle in. Unpack, arrange furniture, and personalize your space to make it feel like home. Update your address with the postal service, banks, and other relevant places. Explore Your New Area Familiarise yourself with your new area. Locate essential services like supermarket, healthcare facilities, and schools. Take walks, introduce yourself to neighbours, and start making new friends - only if wanted, of course!

Oct 3, 2023

Garage Conversions: Unleashing the True Potential of Unused Space

Are you tired of your cluttered garage filled with unused items and collecting dust? Why not turn it into a valuable living space through a garage conversion? Converting your garage not only adds square footage to your home but also enhances its functionality and value. In this article, we will explore various ideas and possibilities for transforming your garage into a remarkable space that meets your unique needs and preferences. Home Office or Study Room With the rise of remote work and online learning, the need for a dedicated workspace at home has never been greater. A garage conversion can provide an ideal environment for a home office or study room. Incorporate a comfortable desk, ergonomic chair, storage solutions, and good lighting to ensure productivity and focus. Consider installing soundproofing materials to minimise noise distractions and create a serene work or study atmosphere. Guest Suite Transforming your garage into a luxurious guest suite can provide a pleasant retreat for visiting family and friends. Invest in comfortable bedding, a private bathroom, and a small kitchenette to offer maximum convenience. Adequate insulation, heating, and ventilation are crucial to ensure your guests' comfort throughout the year. Media Room or Home Theater If you are a movie enthusiast, consider turning your garage into a high-tech media room or a home theater. Install a large screen or a projector, comfortable seating, surround sound speakers, and dimmable lighting to recreate the cinema experience within the comforts of your own home. Add a popcorn machine, a mini-bar, or a small fridge to enhance the atmosphere and make it a perfect space for entertainment. Fitness or Yoga Studio For those who prioritise health and wellness, converting your garage into a fitness or yoga studio can be an excellent idea. Clear out the space, install mirrors to assist with exercises, and consider adding rubber flooring for safety and comfort. Equip the studio with your preferred exercise equipment, create storage for yoga mats, resistance bands, and other accessories. Ensure proper ventilation and natural light to create an invigorating and inspirational environment. Hobby and Craft Room If you enjoy arts, crafts, or any creative hobbies, your garage can be transformed into a dedicated space for your passion. Set up workbenches, storage cabinets, and shelves to organise tools and supplies. Customise the layout based on your specific needs, whether it's painting, woodworking, pottery, or any other craft. Utilise good lighting and comfortable seating to foster creativity and inspire your artistic endeavors. Garage conversions provide a prime opportunity to make the most of underutilised space and tailor it to suit your lifestyle and interests. From a home office or a guest suite to a media room or a hobby haven, the possibilities for transforming your garage are endless. Before embarking on a project, consider consulting with professionals and local authorities to ensure compliance with building regulations and obtain necessary permits. With careful planning, creativity, and a touch of personalisation, you can unlock the hidden potential of your garage and create a space that truly enhances your home's functionality and value.

Sep 3, 2023

SAVING FOR A MORTGAGE

Saving for your first mortgage can seem like a daunting task, but with some careful planning and budgeting, it is achievable. Here are some tips to help you get started: 1. Determine your budget: Determine how much you can realistically afford to spend on a home, and then work backwards to determine how much you need to save. 2. Create a savings plan: Once you know how much you need to save, create a savings plan that works for you. Set a savings goal and determine how much you need to save each month to reach it. 3. Cut expenses: Look for ways to cut your expenses so that you can free up more money to put towards your savings. This might mean cutting back on eating out, reducing your entertainment budget, or finding ways to lower your utility bills. 4. Automate your savings: Set up automatic transfers from your current account to your savings account each month. This makes it easier to save consistently and ensures that you are putting money away each month. 5. Look for ways to increase your income: Consider taking on a part-time job or side hustle in order to increase your income and boost your savings. 6. Keep an eye on interest rates: Keep an eye on interest rates and be prepared to act quickly if you see a rate that would be beneficial to you. Remember, saving for your first mortgage takes time and effort, but the end result is worth it. With some careful planning and budgeting, you can achieve your goal of homeownership.

Aug 3, 2023

DIY TIPS TO UPDATE YOUR PROPERTY

Keeping your home in great condition should always be top-priority - not only will it improve the overall look of it, it will also save you money, too... START WITH THE BASICS Before you dive into any major DIY project, start by mastering the basics. Learn how to properly use a hammer, drill, and other tools, as well as how to properly measure and cut wood. Knowing the basics will help you take on more complex projects down the line, while also helping you maximize the life of your tools. REFRESH YOUR PAINT Whether it’s painting a whole room or just giving furniture a fresh coat, paint can do wonders for your home. A fresh coat of paint can add a new dimension to any room, instantly brightening up drab or tired spaces. Grab some brushes, rollers, or spray paint, then dive into a simple painting project. You can find a great array of colors and finishes at most hardware stores that can accentuate your home. UPDATE YOUR FLOORING One of the biggest ways you can instantly update your home is through updating the flooring. Replacing old carpet and tile with hardwood or marble tile can completely change the look and feel of your interior. Carpet can also be easily replaced with very little effort. INSTALL LIGHT FIXTURES One common DIY project is updating light fixtures. Updating or adding light fixtures not only makes your home look great, it also allows you to change the overall feel of the space. If you’re looking to add some warmth and ambiance to your home, consider changing out your light fixtures for something more modern. CLEAN UP YOUR LANDSCAPE Another way to upgrade your home is by improving your outdoor spaces. Clean up your landscape by trimming trees, mowing the lawn, and adding landscaping or outdoor furniture. A great way to elevate that curb appeal is to install new exterior lights. You’ll want to make sure to get a plumber or electrician to install the lights if necessary. In conclusion, there are many ways to upgrade your home through simple DIY projects. By starting with the basics, refreshing your paint, updating your flooring, installing new light fixtures, and cleaning up your landscape, you can improve your home’s look and feel with minimal effort and cost. Remember to always put your safety first, use the appropriate tools for the job, and take the time to do things properly. Happy DIY-ing!