Loft Conversion Benefits for Your Home and Family

Transformation of lofts has now become one of the hottest trends in the home improvement and property renovation industry. This is mainly because of the increase in house prices as well as the added expenses and stress of relocation. But these alone are not the benefits of a loft conversion. Loft conversions or extensions are one of the best ways to invest in your residence. One of the foremost benefits of an attic conversion is that you can reside in the same neighborhood, avoid the need to redirect all of your post, pay for a removal or shifting business and no need to find a new school for your kids.

The advantages of having an attic conversion are never-ending. With lots of home owners increasing the size of their house rather than moving accommodation at the moment, it is in fact a grand way to optimize space that is readily accessible. Find out more.

Enhanced Space

An attic normally occupies about 30% of your floor space. With a worthwhile loft conversion, you can easily add space to your existing living space without moving to a new location or causing any structural changes to your property. It is a cost effective and convenient solution for families looking to incorporate a new bedroom, a guest room or even a game or study area for kids.

Improve the value of house

While most people opt to finish their loft to improve the quality of life, it comes with an add-on benefit of exceptionally improving the retail value of your property. According to industry specialists, a thoughtfully carried out attic conversion will increase the overall value of your property by 30% to 40%.

Fetch additional income

Even if you don’t have a plan to sell your renovated property, a loft conversion can fetch you a steady decent income, particularly if it has a separate entrance accessible from outside. Many college-goers, university students and newly married couples consider refurbished lofts as an economic alternative over living in an overly-priced studio apartment, and renting your loft space is a great way to boost your return on investment.

No need for building permission

A loft conversion typically does not require planning permission unless it involves extensive refurbishment or structural changes. But it’s always advisable to check the latest regulations regarding an attic conversion in order to avoid any kind of confusions and complications.

Minimal or zero maintenance cost, more privacy, and energy efficiency are the other main benefits associated with the conversion of an attic or loft.

How to Buy Your Dream Home and Pay Less

Buying your dream home is fraught with difficulty. Point one, you’re usually dealing with an estate agent who is a trained negotiator and point two, it’s generally a completely emotional purchase. You have been searching for ages, now you’ve fallen in love with this gorgeous love nest and you just can’t bear to lose it. You could be putty in the agent’s grasping, ruthless hands.

Here are just a few common sense tips that will help you to buy your dream home and pay less.

Essential research:

1) There are a number of websites linked to the land registry that give you an idea of prices in the area/street/block you’re interested. zoopla.co.uk is definitely worth checking out.

2) Nationwide publish a monthly report on the UK market. It’s quite detailed and very authoritative. Also, it’s free to get online.

3) Make sure that you know how long this property has been up for sale and the reason why it’s on the market.

Essential approach to the viewing:

Lets assume you’re inside the property and you and your beloved are accompanied by the estate agent. This agent has been hired by the vendor to market the property and is working on a no-sale no-commission basis so it’s not too hard to figure out where his or her loyalties lie. You really like the place.

So what to do?

1) Keep your buying signals down to the minimum. Gushing on about how the TV’s going to fit exactly and how your fabrics will go so well with the carpet etc. is hardly going to strengthen your negotiating hand.

2) Instead, come up with valid objections and fire them one after another to the agent. “The place needs a complete decorating job, top to bottom”, “the second bedroom’s pokey”, “I hate that bathroom suite” and so on.

3) Use your research to let the agent know that you’re no mug. “Property prices are continuing to fall in this area aren’t they. It was about 2.7% last year so I’d be interested to hear your opinion on the reasons why?”

All of the above are intended to dent the agent’s confidence in his price position. Nonetheless, he is likely to say two things, (I’ve worked with estate agents and I know from first hand experience that this is what they are trained to say).

First statement: “There’s been an enormous amount of interest in this property.” This is designed to induce panic so that you make a high price offer for fear of losing it. I recommend you ignore this statement. It’s probably a bluff and even if it’s not then how come the property is still unsold!

Second statement: “Would you like to make an offer?”. Most people will fall for this. Lets pretend that the property is on for £200,000 so, not wishing to lose, it’s the natural inclination for people to offer something quite near to the asking price, say £190,000. This means that they are likely end up paying around £195,000+.

You are not going to fall for this. DON’T MAKE AN OFFER. Fix the agent with a steely look and ask him what the asking price is. Then say something like, “no, I’m not prepared to make an offer at this stage. Please tell the vendor that I’m interested in the property and I’m a serious buyer, but not at £200,000. It’s overpriced. Ask him to get back with his best price.”

Essential follow up actions.

By not making a firm offer you’ve made life hard for the agent as he does not have a firm offer to go back to his client with. The chances are that we can switch his loyalties to us because his primary concern is to earn his commission. Ideally he wants to make a quick sale so he can move on to the next deal.

He’s likely to say something to the vendor along the lines of, “you know I suggested a price of £200,000 to test the water. Well, the market is still soft and times have passed. I do have a vendor who has shown some genuine interest and I think that if we go back with a price of £170,000 then there’s a good chance he’ll go for it.” In essence, the agent has been turned and is now doing a great sales job on your behalf.

Now all you have to do is to wait for the agent to get back with a revised price. If you’re happy with it then accept it. If you think it’s still too high then say so but still don’t make it easy for the vendor by making a firm offer. Repeat this sequence as many times as necessary until you get to the price you want to pay.

This sounds like a hard boiled, high risk buying strategy. It is a tough approach and it needs to be if you want to get the best possible price. And it’s only as risky as you want to make it because you can always soften your line if you think you’ve pushed enough or you just can’t bear to lose your dream pad. So, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Go for it & I hope you’ll be very happy in your new crib.

What Is Refinancing Your Home and Should You Go For It?

Refinancing, when it refers to your home mortgage, basically means re-obtaining the financing to pay off the original debt and start paying the new loan with better terms. The new loan is generally the same size as the old one and uses the same property, your house as security or collateral.

There are several reasons to go for refinancing:

· To switch over to a fixed mortgage from an adjustable one. This will ensure your monthly payments stay exactly the same for the duration of the loan. It is useful if you expect the interest rates to rise in near future.
· To lower the interest rate.
· To reduce the term of longer mortgages.
· To obtain money using the equity of the property.
· To use the cash out to consolidate debt.

Lots of property owners pay interest rates that are too high and are locked into loans that do not fit their financial goals and income levels. Your mortgage payments should not account for more than one-third of your monthly income. How can you judge whether refinance is a sensible thing to do? Weigh the interest savings you will get against all the charges and fees you will pay to refinance. If the cumulative savings are more than the refinance costs, you can go ahead with the option.

The refinance option becomes less attractive if there are huge prepayment fees on the old mortgage. This increases the cost to refinance.

Should you refinance?

This question can be answered by asking yourself two other questions:

· Do you plan on staying in this home for the complete duration of the term of the loan, which is generally between 15 and 30 years?
· Do you have equity in the property? Equity is the difference between the value of your home and the outstanding loan amount or mortgage pending on it.
· Are you getting financial benefit out of the switch or some other benefit like longer term of repayment?

If the answer to the first question is a ‘No’ and to the second and third a ‘Yes’, you can benefit from the home loan refinance. Equity is the crucial element in your decision to refinance. It would be advisable to wait for up to five years before thinking over the refinance option, unless of course your property came with equity.

People tend to resort to refinancing for either cash outs or to decrease their monthly repayments. Often people want both, but that is just not possible. Whatever your motivation, you should have a minimum of 25 per cent equity in your home before you proceed. This equity will be your comfort cushion and will also give more confidence to the lender in your repaying ability, which may mean better interest rates.

Refinancing can reduce your monthly payments, making it much easier for you to meet your expenses.You can also potentially save interest payments amounting to thousands of dollars by the end of your mortgage.