Property Hotspots Within 60 Minutes From London

A quarter of a million people are voluntarily giving up the city life in London to shack up in areas where there are good schools and affordable homes, according to the Office of National Statistics.

As a way to determine where these former Londoners are moving, Savills analyzed the number of season ticket sales from the main commuting stations. In the process, they discovered 20 property hotspots which are minutes away from the city and minefields for great property investments around London. Here are the rankings:

Travel time from London Average Property Price (2014) Annual Season Ticket Cost
1. Reading 26 mins £283,724 £4,188
2. Brighton 52 mins £334,934 £4,068
3. Chelmsford 35 mins £261,411 £3,728
4. Woking 27 mins £371,238 £3,052
5. Cambridge 52 mins £395,911 £4,264
6. Guildford 37 mins £408,824 £3,400
7. Haywards Heath 44 mins £313,830 £3,808
8 Colchester 52 mins £198,456 £4,796
9. Milton Keynes Central 35 mins £217,162 £4,888
10. Tonbridge 42 mins £318,166 £3,980
11. Winchester 58 mins £414,851 £4,812
12. Sevenoaks 33 mins £589,203 £3,288
13. Basingstoke 44 mins £234,831 £4,188
14. Slough 17 mins £276,270 £2,472
15. Maidenhead 20 mins £427,999 £2,908
16. Tunbridge Wells 50 mins £329,754 £4,364
17. Shenfield 27 mins £363,244 £2,868
18. Oxford 57 mins £411,601 £4,788
19. Redhill 35 mins £305,891 £2,672
20. Bishops Stortford 38 mins £324,324 £3,936

 

Out of all the places mentioned in the list, Maidenhead in Berkshire is the closest from London with 20 minutes travel time, but activity in the town center is kind of slow. That’s why if you’re looking for more life in your neighbourhood, you can also find a property in the surrounding towns of Cookham, Cookham Dean, the “foodie paradise” Bray, or the picturesque town of Marlow.

Real estate agents in Guildford reveal that houses in the area get even more expensive if its located near the station. Richard Howell, sales manager of Hill Clements estate agents, said that a four-bedroom property within walking distance would cost “from just under £1 million to about £1.25 million”.

property hotspots, property investments, estate agents, find a property, remote investorsAlthough Guildford is labeled as the most expensive suburb in the list, its been a magnet for many for many South-West Londoners for decades because of its busy high street, a variety of good schools, nearby pretty towns, a vast countryside, and close distance from the coast and airports.

Like in Guildford, what draws people into Colchester are good schools in the vicinity- particularly Colchester County High School for girls and the Royal Grammar School for boys. It also boasts of picturesque streets like The Dutch Quarter, located north of the city centre, which has outstanding Tudor timber-framed homes and some with Georgian frontages.

Overall, the list also works perfectly for remote investors like us, since it gives us perfect alternatives to London. The money goes where the people are, and if people are moving away from the city you should follow suit.

How To Make Money Off Your Property Anytime

Let’s face it, one of the risks of remote property investing is the possibility of having zero tenants to occupy it. If your Buy-To-Let mortgage depends on monthly rental fees, you can just kiss the dream of a successful property portfolio goodbye!

Thankfully, snapping up a permanent tenant isn’t the only way to profit from remote investment. Here are some ways to make money even if there are no regular tenants around.

Host Exchange Students

During the lean months when your rooms aren’t leased by a permanent tenant, you can still make a profit off your empty rooms by hosting exchange students.

Believe it or not, hosting foreign exchange student could earn you £100 a week by just providing them with bedspace and meals. You could even earn a little extra if your accomodations have an ensuite bathroom!

To know if there are any exchange students nearby try talking to the nearest language school in your area or check out Idiom.co.uk.

Get Your House An Agent

Despite common assumptions, location scouts for movies, television shows, and photo shoots don’t just look for grand villas and picturesque homes. Think about it, not all programs and movies are taped in a sprawling estate. That’s why they try to diversify their portfolio with as many styles of architecture possible to meet their client’s requirements.

Amazing Space, a location provider for UK production houses, revealed that there are 2 big considerations when choosing a location for shoots. First, a huge parking space to accommodate the crew and equipment. Second, a location near the M25, since most production companies in the UK are based in London.

I’m going to tell you right now that this isn’t an easy business to enter, but it’s an instant jackpot if your property for rent is booked. Currently, a booking for a short photo shoot costs £2,000.

Rent Your Driveway

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Having the driveway of your empty property rented out is a great way to create instant passive income if you are unable to find tenants.

Commercial parking lots jacked up their fees at a rate of 12.5 per cent, which is why more drivers are looking for cheaper yet safe alternative parking spaces around cities.

So if you’re remote property investment is near the train station, airport, conference centers, stadiums, or high streets, this gig is a gold mine for your property! These areas usually have high traffic volumes and scarce parking areas, so any rental parking space is always booked easily.

You can earn £200 a month without experiencing any inconvenience from this gig, says staylocally.com.

Offer Short Term Rentals

Short term letting works like a regular lease agreement, but it lasts only for a very short period. This arrangement is common in places like Edinburgh where big events happen such as Wimbledon and other music festivals.

You can look for short term tenants in the these websites- edinburghfestivalrentals.com, wimbledontennislettings.co.uk, londonrentmyhouse.com.

If you are persistent and if you consider all your options, you are more likely to find opportunities to earn even from your ‘tenant-less’ property!

A Picturesque Remote Investment For The Brave

For some people, investing is not just about the money. For some, it’s all about the experience a place can give. Certainly, this is how Mike and Joyce Simpson viewed their cottage on Scotland’s Knoydart peninsula – a.k.a UK’s remotest home.

While some may question why anyone would want to live isolated from the ‘real’ world, I’ve always found a strange sense of security in escaping the rush of the workaday life whilst basking on breathtaking scenery like that of the Isle of Skye.

If you’re someone who likes that kind of escapism, then perhaps you may be interested in forking out £200,000 because Mike and Joyce have announce that they are selling their piece of paradise!

For over 30 years, the couple has lived in relative isolation against a backdrop of the Isle of Skye, but as they put it in their own words, “you can’t live off a view.”

According to property news, the couple is letting go of their remote property with a heavy heart. The Simpsons are selling their house after 3 decades, because Mr. Simpson’s failing health and Mrs. Simpson wants to live in a place closer to their family.

The couple told a reporter from the The Telegraph that Mike first saw the cottage in very bad shape 30 years ago, but they still fell in love with it. Their remote cottage is nestled above the Sound of Sleat, the stretch of water that divides the Scottish mainland from Skye, and they could see whales, dolphins, porpoises and otters from their window.

During their years of isolation, the Simpsons have learned how to live off the land they live in and be self-sufficient. They grow their own vegetables, and Mr Simpson has developed skills as as a scallop diver and fisherman, which is why he regularly takes home lobster for dinner.

No matter how picturesque the view and their lifestyle may seem, the Simpsons are making a very, very big caveat to interested buyers. “This place is not for everybody,” they candidly admit.

To begin with, no roads can be used to get to their cottage. The nearest village, Inverie, is 9 miles away. Travelling to their cottage usually takes either a three-hour hike or an arduous journey by foot, quad bike and 4×4.

Aside from that, the weather always dictates the activities you can do. “Every gale can be a bit of a nightmare. The biggest problem is seeing your dinghy picked up by the wind and being blown three miles across the loch,” Mr. Simpson recalls.

Its inaccessibility and harsh weather are also 2 reasons why they could go on for months without receiving a single mail delivery.

Despite the downsides of living far from civilisation, it's hard not to be awe-struck by the Isle of Skye.

Despite the downsides of living far from civilisation, it’s hard not to be awe-struck by the Isle of Skye.

Mike also shared in the interview that he can’t remember the last time he went to a pub, because it’s so far from their cottage. The nearest pub is “The Old Forge” (considered as the remotest pub on mainland Britain) and it is located in Inverie.

The Simpsons have already chosen to buy a place in Arnisdale which is home to 20-30 residents.

Joyce said in the interview that she’d want the place to go to first time home buyers (maybe a young couple or family), but since times are tough and they won’t be turning down any buyers which give them a very good offer on the house.

Even though the couple is sad that they will be leaving their quiet piece of paradise, they are happy to live near a road and seeing neighbours without having to take an hour long hike, a long ride, or boat ride for the first time in decades.

What’s The Next Big Suburb In London’s Property Market?

Ever wonder where the next big property hotspot will be? Here are three promising London real estate hot spots you may want to check out:

Leyton in East London

Leyton, postcode E10, is one of the suburbs basking in London’s post-Olympics sunshine.

The former Leyton Municipal Offices, which have gone through years of utter disuse, has been converted into a commerical building by well-known community developer Lea Valley Estates. While the local high road shops got a much need facelift through a colourful renovation of local shops’ facades. Needless to say, local businesses have been doing so much better in area, it could make Mary Portas, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Shops,” so proud!

Aside from the lively turn of things for the local businesses, Leyton is also teeming with Victorian and Edwardian terraces with prices ranging between £400,000 to £650,000. Judging these prices by London standards, these remote property investments are definitely a bargain.

For remote investors looking to invest now, there’s a new development called Claude Terrace offering Victorian-style townhouses designed for young families who are trading their flats for a proper house. A unit in Claude Terrace starts at £395,000.

Brockley in South London

Back in the 80’s, Brockley was the property hotpost for every London commuter. But thanks to the Overground extension going through South-East London, the suburb is now home to a hodge podge of new residents ranging from hipsters, yuppies, and even young families!

It’s not just the new residents that’s giving life to this suburb, the introduction of the East London line extension also ushered in a new batch of lively, shabby-chic bars and cafés, plus delis, and a micro brewery – which are all very popular with the locals.

What’s more impressive about Brockley is that despite it’s revival, there’s still a home for every budget in this commuter-friendly neighborhood. Other than the usual Victorian houses that line up UK’s capital, there are also, more modest, semi-basement terrace homes in the area.

Brockley Cross, once known for being a crime hot spot in the area, has been recently renovated and developed into a property with copper-clad flats and an art gallery. One unit in the building starts from £350,000.

Notting Dale in West London

Unlike it’s more famous namesake Notting Hill (which was the title and setting for Julia Robert’s immensely popular romantic comedy) Notting Dale was previously a slum before World War II. A few council estates were built over there in the fifties, but nothing much had changed for the area up until a few years ago.

Fast forward to 2015 and now Notting Dale is home to a few world renowned brands and personalities like: Chrysalis Records, Stella McCartney, Cath Kidston, and the celebrated fashion and portrait photographer Mario Testino.

London’s premier housing association are also creating new property developments in the neighbourhood. Peabody’s More West development brings a mixture of flats for purchase and shared ownership at the starting price of £415,000.

Another perfect development for remote investing is a scheme of four outstanding modern houses in Walmer Road. he houses are clustered in a courtyard and all have rooftop “salons,” terraces, and underground parking spaces.

Your Questions About Seller Finance, Finally Answered!

A lot of people have been asking me lately about seller finance, so I’m making a short blog entry about this little known investment strategy.

What is seller finance?

Seller finance (aka vendor finance) is a loan given by the seller to his or her buyer. Under these terms, the buyers will be giving monthly payments to the seller as though the seller was the bank. But what separates this from usual bank loans is that it opens the possibility of more “friendly” terms such as paying a lower deposit. There are quite a number of investors, such as Rick Otton, utilising this form of financing.

What happens when the buyer defaults in his payments?

Then there will be no title transfer and the buyer will have to move out.

When can seller finance be used?

Whenever a buyer – for some reason or another is unable to acquire bank financing (can’t raise the deposit, doesn’t have a good enough credit history, unable to show proof of income), then seller financing becomes the next best option.

What are the benefits of seller finance?

If you are a seller having a difficult time finding buyers, providing terms that are easier to meet than the requirments of the bank may help improve your prospects. More leads mean more offers and more offers improve the chances of securing a detail. When done right, seller finance can help speed up the sale process.

The obvious benefits for the buyer is that they won’t have to waste their time gathering tons of loan requirements and wait for years just to save the right amount of deposit fee.

Are there any disadvantages in these deals?

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Sellers must screen potential buyers carefully to avoid possible hassles in the future.

On the part of the seller, the biggest risk is the possibility that the buyer won’t have the proper capacity to pay. So if you decide to sell your property using seller finance, you will have to take the time to screen all applications yourself. This can be a tedious process. But if you don’t want the hassle of contending with a delinquent buyer, it’s best to be thorough.

The buyer, on the other hand, may pay higher monthly payments compared to the regular bank loan. Payments and interest will be dependent on the agreed upon terms with the seller. But one of the reasons why monthly payment is higher is because seller finance terms usually take place over a shorter period of time, unlike bank loans that extend up to 30 years.

How do you minimise the risks?

Sellers must take the time to ask pertinent questions. For instance, it’s important to verify that the buyer has a source of income. Granted, anyone can say that they have a job. But those with a stable income are usually more prepared to make a down payment.

Upfront costs in seller finance are already much lower compared to a regular 10-20% deposit required by banks. So if the buyer is hesitant to make a down payment, you should probably be looking at the next prospect.

Moreover, everything has to be in writing so that none of the parties can take advantage of the other. Hence, both the seller and the buyer should have their own barrister. They can explain what their terms should be, and the barristers will be responsible in putting the terms into writing.

A New Property Hotspot Is On The Rise

We usually associate property hotspots with bustling city communities where both population and development is high, but a sleepy market town in Suffolk proved that this assumption isn’t right all the time in last year’s top 10 new millionaire hotspots list.

If you still don’t know it by now, the list is made up of places where more than 5 houses for sale went for over £1 Million every year.

So which town in Suffolk produced record-breaking property transactions in 2014? It’s Sudbury people!

What’s more attention grabbing in this property news is not just the abundance of million pound property deals in this “sleepy town.” Out of the 10 places mentioned, Sudbury is the only postcode in the list not within the capital or the London commuter belt.

Subdbury ranked 6th overall in the list which included Stoneleigh and Headley in Epsom, and New Cross, Bethnal Green, Harrow, Edgware, Brentford, and Berrylands in Kingston-upon-Thames all locatied in London.

According to international estate agent, Hamptons, house prices in Sudbury jumped 12 per cent in 2014. This rate is 3.3 per cent higher than the 7.8 per cent average price increase across Britain.

So how did a sleepy market town turn into a property hotspot in just a short amount of time?

By now, everybody knows that it would literally cost an arm and a leg to buy a house in London. Property prices in the area posted all-time record bests almost every week due to high demand from foreign investors, first time buyers getting help from their parents, and the natural spike of prices after the recession.

house prices, property prices, property news, first time buyers, houses for sale

Demand in places like Suffolk is spiking.

At the moment, an average property in London stands at around £ 500,000. This is why London residents are exploring alternative locations such as the commuter belt, home counties, and even the bottom of Suffolk where they can find a house with the best bang for buck.

Tom Orford, a director from Savills, said in an interview that this spike in Sudbury’s property market is a result of the “Cambridge effect.” According to Orford, as properties in Cambridge become more expensive, people are turning to Suffolk to find houses.

In my opinion, if you are an office worker trying to get a place near the capital, Sudbury is an alright choice, since it’s the market town in Stour Valley and has great commuter links to London.

Caroline Edwards of Carter Jonas in Long Melford added that more buyers from London are choosing properties in West Suffolk not just because they’re cheaper but also for their beautiful architecture and interiors.

Aside from Sudbury, 2 other postcodes outside the M25 area made it to the top 16: Royal Tunbridge Wells and Oundle in East Northamptonshire.

Hot Spots For Investment Properties Overseas

Manhanttan, New York

This one is a given. Property prices in the “big apple” have always been higher compared to other cities around the world. But despite this top tier status, Karen Mansour of Douglas Elliman Development claims that NYC real estate continues to boom, especially in the financial district.

Elliman cites that new property developments like the new World Trade Center is putting the area in the line of significant growth. Current prices for luxury flats in the area of 75 Wall, in the heart of the Financial District, start at £480,000.

Barcelona, Spain

Unlike the Costas and other parts of Spain where house prices have taken a huge nose dive, Barcelona remains one of the top places for overseas property investment.

Why? Alex Vaughan of Lucas Fox reports that Spanish authorities are wooing foreign buyers by putting stylish 2 bedrooms in the city up for sale at the rate of £400,000, a two-bedroom apartment in the heart of old town, however, costs a bit more at £543,000.

If you’re looking to invest in prime investment property at a landmark European city, then now is the best time to buy in Barcelona!

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If you have the money, investing in Tuscany may yield good profits down the track

Tuscany, Italy

To be honest, property values in Italy have been on a never ending rollercoaster ride for the years following the global financial crisis. While the top-tier market for buy-to-let properties remain bouyant, the same cannot be said for the other sectors.

That being said, however, owning a house or any piece of real estate in Tuscany is the dream for a lot of people, so whether the property depreciates in value or not, you would still be the envy of some, if not, all of your friends!

There is demand for well-located pied-à-terre, and some favourable tweaks to the Italian tax system kick in this year. Beauchamp Estates is currently selling classic villas on a private estate near Arezzo, for £1.5m. If you have the funding for high-end properties, investing in Tuscany can be a very lucrative prospect down the track.

Turkey

The number of foreign investors buying property in Turkey, most notable Istanbul, rose by 78 per cent in the first half of 2013.

Julian Walker of Spot Blue International Property explains that majority of their clients was initially composed of British buyers, but more buyers from the Middle East are coming into the market. He says that more of them are seeing Turkey as a good place for property investment.

Zell Am See, Austria

Giles Gale of Mark Warner Property says that there is money to make in Austrian buy to let property, but you have to know where to look for the right property to make the big bucks.

In 2013, property values in the country experienced a 10-15 per cent growth thanks to high demand for top-quality developments and low supply. Apartments at the Alpin See resort in Zell Am See are currently on sale from £300,000.

An Intro To Remote Investing In The UK

Some of you may have heard of remote investing but are quite unsure how it works. In simple terms, remote investment is the act of investing in real estate even though you don’t live in the same place where the property is located. You may think it’s crazy to buy a house somewhere far, far, away like in the heart of a mountain range or an overseas property. But, believe it or not, there is a good demand for these kinds of properties.

The key is finding a property and match it with a determined buyer, and you’re going to hit the jackpot.
Take for example, Clare and David Mangon. They are formerly of Thames, Oxfordshire, but they were willing to shed £200,000 for a barn-like house made of ancient stone- called Ellers – in a really, really far off portion of northern Yorkshire Dales where winters are harsh and the company of other people is very hard to come by as houses are located long distances away from each other.

You might wonder why the Mangons were willing to stay in this area. But according to Clare, despite the obvious weaknesses of the location, they immediately “fell in love with the place” when they laid eyes on it for the first time.

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Remote investing is slowly gaining popularity in the UK

For a growing number of people who are getting worn down by the daily grind of urban life, there is a certain appeal for old, remote properties along with the simplicity that comes in more rural areas. As an investor, realising this growing trend can be very rewarding.

More and more people have gotten into remote investment in the past few years, and this is gaining popularity not only with UK residents, but also with a lot of people living overseas.

Castle Estates, a residential letting agency in Glasgow, says that more than 67.6 per cent or more than two-thirds of the landlords in their listing are remote investors.

What’s more astonishing in this revelation is that out of these remote landlords, 15.3 per cent of them live overseas.

The agency’s head shared that these remote investors live in Australia, Thailand, Switzerland, South Africa, and Canada.

How To Keep Track Of Your Remote Property Investments

Remote investing can be a very profitable venture when done right. However, not all investors are willing to invest remotely because they are unsure on how to keep track of the property. However, this concern can be addressed with these simple strategies:

Self-Managing Vs Hiring A Lettings Agent

Self-managing remote investment properties is, probably, the most popular system used by remote investors.

When you “self-manage” a property, by the way, this means you’re going to: oversee the screening of potential tenants, hiring of local handymen to take care of maintenance, and management of the entire property all on your own, even if it’s located hundreds of miles away from your home.

Believe it or not, some investors drive, take the train, or even ride an airplane just to check on their investments and their tenants, because it’s a cheaper alternative to hiring a third party or leasing agents.

As I’ve said earlier, hiring a lettings agent could take a chunk out of your potential profits, but the upside is you don’t have to make the constant trip to the other side of the country just to evict a tenant or make sure that the house is still in a good condition. Another advantage of hiring a local lettings agent is that they can make sure that the handymen you hire aren’t ripping you off on the price of their services.

But before you rush into hiring third parties, know that many remote investors have been duped by bad letting agents over the years! One of the many horror stories being circled around is of a letting agent, who used the property entrusted to him into his own, personal love nest!

A close friend of mine, who also invests remotely, says that the total profit dictates whether he would go for self-management or hire a lettings agent.

If flying solo would lead to higher profits, then he would take the trip to the moon and back as often as he can, but if hiring a lettings agent would produce the same profits, then he has no problem with a stranger looking after his investment.

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Finding property near family or close friends can make remote investing much more convenient

Keep It Close To Family

I’ve already discussed that remote investment requires the constant trip out of town. Not only will this cost you energy and time, but also money.

A strategy I’ve picked up along the way is to find a property near family relatives or close friends, so that when you’re going to make the trip out of town, you can stay over at their place during your visit.

You’ve hit 2 birds with one stone, essentially, since you were able to monitor the status of your investment property, while seeing your families and friends when business is done.

Look Out For New Technology

Mobile communication apps, like Instant Messaging, Skype, or WeChat, has made it easier for people to reach one another, these innovations have also helped remote investors connect with their buyers, tenants, and handymen from anywhere in the country within minutes.

One company called, MaxMon, also offers a new application for Android phones that gives owners daily reports on the status of their remote property investment. It also promises to alert the owner of intruders and critical environmental changes that could cause huge damage on your property.