Category: ALL THINGS STOCKPORT

Every Stockport Homeowner & Landlord to Receive Up to £5,000 Grant for Roof Insulation & Double Glazing from September

Slide2 2 - Every Stockport Homeowner & Landlord to Receive Up to £5,000 Grant for Roof Insulation & Double Glazing from September

The Chancellor announced on Wednesday 8th July in his mini Budget some interesting news for Stockport homeowners and Stockport landlords. Rishi Sunak is going to give ‘The Green Homes Grant’ of up to £5,000 to cover two-thirds of the costs of environmentally friendly upgrades to your Stockport property, with the homeowner covering the other third. There are also enhanced grants of £10,000 for the poorest households where 100% of the cost will be met by the Government.

This is nothing new mind you. The coalition Government in 2013 announced The Green Deal. That deal was in theory to have been a help for the builders, energy saving and home improvement industry, as the Government hoped many would take up environmentally friendly improvements to save energy (and ultimately greenhouse gases). Yet by the time it was brought to an end two years later only 14,000 households had applied, costing the taxpayer £238m (or £17,000 per household). That doesn’t sound good value to me – yet who am I to comment?

Anyway, let’s not be negative, as improving our homes does makes sense – after all, research shows Brits have the draughtiest homes in Europe. A recent survey suggests UK homes “leak” heat up to three times more quickly than more energy-efficient homes on the continent.

Data from 80,000 smart thermostats across the EU were reviewed to measure how quickly a home at 20°C inside cooled once the heating was turned off (when the outside temperature was 0°C). Within 5 hours, the average British home dropped by 3°C, the French came in second at 2.5°C yet the Germans came in at just 1°C, meaning British homes clearly need more heating (i.e. greenhouse gases) to keep them warmer.

The chancellor has allotted £2bn to the scheme, which pays for two thirds of the cost of the upgrade and stated that more than 650,000 homes would be upgraded.  This could save those households a total of £195m a year in heating bills (or the equivalent of £300 a year per household), cutting greenhouse gases and saving jobs in the construction industry. The grant can be applied for from September and is open to Stockport homeowners and private sector Stockport landlords. Applications must be made before March 2021 and the Treasury have stated about half of the fund would go to households with the lowest incomes (how low is still to be announced), with an enhanced grant of up to £10,000, saving them up to £600 per annum each on their heating bills.

The average Stockport home annually produces 4.258 tonnes of CO2, compared to the national average of 4.101 tonnes

Due to the particular individual nature of the properties in Stockport and their construction type, with suitable improvements in insulation, double glazing and draught proofing, Government statistics state that this could be reduced to 2.491 tonnes for Stockport homes if suitable work (as per the Green Homes Grant) was carried out.

Why is this important? Well UK householders spend £34.735bn a year on their electric and gas bills – this is a lot of money. In fact, looking specifically at Stockport properties…

Stockport householders spend £703.30 per year on heating their homes (compared to the national average of £669.34 per year)

Yet, if Stockport householders carried out the energy improvements that ‘The Green Homes Grant’ suggests their energy bills for heating alone would reduce to £514.30 per year … quite a saving over a decade and beyond (enough to buy a decent holiday – whatever one of those is!).

So, with Stockport homeowners and Stockport landlords being able to spend the grant on loft, floor and wall insulation, low carbon gas boilers, heat pumps, double or even triple-glazed windows, energy-efficient doors and low energy lighting … everyone should win – the environment, the economy and household budgets. More details on the scheme should be released by the Government in August.

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Stockport Home Buyers & Landlords Set to Save £5,456,320 in Stamp Duty Over Next Nine Months

Slide2 1 - Stockport Home Buyers & Landlords Set to Save £5,456,320 in Stamp Duty Over Next Nine Months

The British are infatuated with owning their own property and politicians know that. Margaret Thatcher used it as a vote winner in 1979 when she allowed council house tenants to buy their own home. Coming to the present day, Boris Johnson’s Conservative government have anxieties that the Brits have not been buying nearly enough homes lately and, as with all countries in the world, the British property market was put ‘on ice’ for several months to help contain the Coronavirus, exacerbating the problem. 

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced on Wednesday plans to boost the property market by momentarily scrapping Stamp Duty Tax (a tax paid by homebuyers) when they buy a property that costs less than £500,000.

Interestingly, Stamp Duty was originally introduced in 1694 as a way to raise funds for The Nine Years’ War (1688–1697) against Louis XIV of France and applied to property and some legal documents.

Why is this important? Well the Government recognise that when the property market is working well, the economy also tends to work well, yet one of the barriers to people moving home is Stamp Duty. Even before Coronavirus, Brits were moving 40.21% less than they were at the start of the millennium, and now with this dreadful situation, the natural reaction is for people to stay put in their own homes, meaning another potential nail in the coffin for the economy.

Stamp Duty has raised not an insignificant £166.53bn since 1998, impressive when you consider the NHS costs £129bn per annum. Looking at more recent figures, the Government currently raise £1.045bn per month from Stamp Duty Tax and this statement will remove a good chunk of that from the Chancellors coffers each month, yet the Government knows a healthy property market will help the wider economy.

As Stamp Duty is a transaction tax, it restricts labour market mobility, making people who are thinking of switching jobs think twice before moving. Stamp Duty also holds back elderly homeowners from downsizing to smaller homes, which is an issue for the UK, as we don’t have enough homes to meet supply and also curtails first time buyers as it forces them to use some of the savings on the tax, as opposed to using for a deposit.

Before the changes, the Stamp Duty thresholds were as follows: 

  • Zero percent up to £125,000
  • Two percent of the next £125,000 (the portion from £125,001 to £250,000)
  • Five percent of the next £675,000 (the portion from £250,001 to £925,000)
  • Ten percent of the next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)
  • 12% of the remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million)

and between the 8th July 2020 and 31st March 2021

  • Zero percent up to £500,000
  • Five percent of the next £425,000 (the portion from £500,001 to £925,000)
  • Ten percent of the next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)
  • 12% of the remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million)

Landlords and buy to let landlords will also benefit from these reduced rates yet will still have to pay their additional premium for second homes (as they have since April 2016).

To give you an idea how significant this is, if these rules had been in place exactly a year ago for Stockport properties purchased under £500,000 (i.e. between the 8th July 2019 and 31st March 2020).

Stamp Duty would not have been paid on 2,234

Stockport properties, worth in total £552,076,700

Anyone buying any home in Stockport over £500,000 are also winners in this, as they will save having to pay the first £15,000 in stamp duty (under the old scheme). This is because during these 9 months, stamp duty is only paid on the difference over £500,000 (so if you buy a property for say £620,000 – one only pays the stamp duty on the difference between £620,000 and £500,000 i.e. £120,000).

I’m all for reducing Stamp Duty, which is imposed progressively at higher rates the higher a property costs (as you can see from the tables above). Yet, short-lived changes to property taxation risk warping the property market and generating a ‘property market hangover’ in Spring 2021. I am part of a group of 2,500 estate and letting agents from the UK, and most of us were running at 150% speed before this announcement, coping with the post Coronavirus explosion in demand. 

Now it seems that the ‘feast’ will continue until the end of March 2021 as many more people will move to take advantage of the cut in tax. However, some are suggesting this could lead to ‘famine’ down the line as it will stop people moving into the late spring and summer of 2021. 

History tells us different stories on the influence on transaction volumes from changing Stamp Duty rates. In 1991 the Tory’s raised the Stamp Duty threshold at which house buyers started paying and Gordon Brown did so in 2008 when we went into the Credit Crunch. More recently, both George Osborne and Philip Hammond fine-tuned Stamp Duty so that landlords had to pay an additional Stamp Duty Premium after March 2016 whilst first-time buyers pay less Stamp Duty and the purchasers of more expensive homes (over £1.5m) pay more.

The Stamp Duty changes for landlords in 2016 affected the property market only for a short while and by the autumn, transactions levels had returned to normal. However, in 1991, John Major’s Stamp Duty change encouraged home buyers to bring forward home purchases but nevertheless the property market ground to a standstill again once the benefit ended (although the steps up the 1990’s Stamp Duty levels were much harsher as the tax applied to the whole purchase price, not the margin steps as it had in the 1990’s).

So how much money will Stockport people save when buying a home under £500k?

The average Stamp Duty paid by those Stockport home buyers in the 9 months between the 8th July 2019 and 31st March 2020 was £2,442 

Being objective, I can see why the Chancellor could see this as a suitable way to motivate spending because when people move home, they are more inclined to spend comprehensively on property renovations and the services of solicitors, home removal people, tradesmen and estate agents. So, drastically reducing Stamp Duty will undoubtedly help the UK economy, or at least contain some of the damage from the Coronavirus.  

Also, the experience of being in lockdown will have confirmed to many Stockport people that they need a bigger home or one with a bigger garden. I also suspect other people may be able to work from home on a more long-lasting basis, meaning there could be a shift from the larger cities to outlying towns and even a move to the countryside.

So, these are my thoughts, what are yours?

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A large and potentially very lucrative investment opportunity right in the heart of Stockport Town

Hilton House scaled - A large and potentially very lucrative investment opportunity right in the heart of Stockport Town

Hilton House, which is located within strolling distance of both Stockport Town Centre and Stockport Train Station, is being offered to the market by Colliers.

The 0.78 acre site has the potential to play a significant part in the transformation of the Stockport skyline.

Take a look at the full brochure here .

You can contact me directly for any advice on this site and the Stockport residential market in general – andrew@julianwadden.co.uk

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Rooftop Restaurant and Garden set to open in Stockport

1 THe LandingJPG - Rooftop Restaurant and Garden set to open in Stockport

How exciting does this sound?? A rooftop restaurant and garden, set on top of Merseyway, is opening in Stockport and is brought to you by the wonderful Sam Buckley of Where The Light Gets In.

Read the full announcement here

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Essential Tips For Working From Home

articleimage3133 s1 c0 0 600 400 o600 400 e - Essential Tips For Working From Home

For a small number of people, working from home will be the norm. But for the majority of the nation, the current climate has caused us to quickly adapt our working practices to home working for the safety of ourselves and those around us. In doing this, it is important to create healthy working practices to maintain motivation and routine throughout the day.
We’ve gained advice from those who regularly work from home so that we can share some top tips for the coming weeks ahead. Continue below for our top tips on how you can get the best out of home working:
1. Get ready for the day
Get up and ready for work as you normally would. Getting dressed out of your pyjamas and fresh for the day helps you to maintain a routine and get ready for a day of work. Doing this will signal to your brain that you are going to work and create a good mindset.

2. Have a routine
Working from home can get lonely, so a routine will prevent the day blurring into a mix of work and relaxation time. Creating a morning routine that will guide you into your work chair each day so that you can signal the separation between home and work. Start and finish work at your usual times so that you do not become overworked.

3. Create an office space
If you have a separate office space to work in, then that’s great. But even if you don’t, it is still important to create an area in your home that you can designate and associate with work. Whether that be at a desk, or if it has to be your dining room table, this will support you to keep a routine. At the end of the day, shut down your equipment and put it away. This will signal the end of your working day and the start of your own time.

4. Keep to your regular hours of a working day
With all your work equipment at home, it can be tempting to try and get ahead by setting yourself mammoth tasks that take you all evening to complete. Set yourself achievable goals (as you would when you go into work) so that you maintain your usual work hours and maintain your positivity and optimism. This will also allow you to keep a work life balance.

5. Have regular breaks
When you are in the office, you naturally take short breaks throughout the day. Whether that be to go and make a drink or go and discuss something with a colleague. These breaks away from the computer are crucial for your productivity and health. Breaks away from the computer screen help to break bad posture habits, help with concentration and productivity, and prevent fatigue. This should be no different at home. You can call a colleague for a chat, go and make a drink, or spend some time in a different room for a few moments.

6. Get some exercise
Living and working in the same space can be challenging at times so you may find it important to get a change of scenery. Stepping outside for a walk not only allows you to “leave the office” but also allows you to get valuable exercise (providing this is in line with Government guidelines). Some fresh air and natural light will do you the world of good. With people rarely leaving the house, a short walk could be all the exercise you get in a day so place importance on this. Alternatively, you may want to do a short home workout. There are tons of guides online to help you do this. Let’s not forget about those all-important endorphins.

7. Take your lunch break
You are still entitled to your full lunch break and it is important to take this. Ensure you continue to eat well and take time away from your work space to break up the day. Using this time to get some exercise (as advised in step 7) is a great idea too.

8. Get on the phone
Communication is so important during this time. Working from home can be isolating (especially if you live alone). To overcome this, ensure to keep up with regular team meeting via group calls. Check in with your colleagues throughout the day – even for a general chat not related to work. This is what you would usually do in the office and it is important to maintain this to make the day more enjoyable. Call people instead of email so that you can have proper conversations during the day which is so much more personal that email communication. You could even use Facetime for a more personal touch.

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Life Leisure provide us with their top 5 tips to stay active at home

lifeleisure - Life Leisure provide us with their top 5 tips to stay active at home

1) Protect your wellness!

Maintaining your mental & physical well-being can be increasingly challenging in times like these. lifeLEISURE Health & Fitness Coach, Adam Heywood, talks us through his coping mechanisms and provides expert advice as to how we can cope with recent lifestyle changes!

2) Maintain a healthy weight!

Now that our facilities are closed, you may be wondering how you can keep on top of your weight management whilst spending additional time at home? Health & Fitness Coach, Adam Heywood, gives you his expert tips on staying in shape whilst staying at home!

3) Keep moving!

Now more than ever it’s vital to keep yourself & your loved ones happy, active & smiling! With that in mind, cast your eyes over our resident fitness expert Ruth’s most recent blogs on how to keep active whilst staying home!

4) Follow lifeLEISURE home workout videos!

Don’t get bogged down during lockdown, our Fitness Team have got your back! Whether it’s a high intensity calorie buster you’re craving, or you’re in the mood for getting your tone on, we’ve the workout for you! Subscribe to our YouTube channel here & get yourself moving with our Fitness Coaches!

5) Get Creative!

Are you staying at home with your children? It’s just as important to exercise the mind as well as the body, so why not have a break from the home P.E lessons and get those creative juices flowing? Grab the crayons, glue, glitter, and paint and let their imaginations run wild.

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Your guide to setting up a Smart Home – by Natalie Jones

blog post - Your guide to setting up a Smart Home - by Natalie Jones

The age of technology is upon us; has your home kept pace? There are dozens of ways you can use tech to turn your house into a smart home. The security, convenience, and quality-of-life improvements are waiting for you — are you ready to get started?

Why Invest in Smart Home Tech?

There are several reasons people decide to put smart technology in their homes. Often people get started because, well, it’s fun! Having the ability to play music via voice command feels pretty cool and futuristic. After a while, however, the broader practical impacts of having smart tech in the home become clearer and clearer. Eventually, the endless possibilities of creating your smart home start to make themselves clear. With a bit of creativity, you can create a tailor-made smart home experience that can’t be beaten.

Everything from your home’s sound system to your heating and cooling can be voice or phone-activated. The impacts on your day to day life almost can’t be overstated. Moreover, outfitting your home with smart tech is a great investment for property owners. These kinds of upgrades can increase your home’s value by up to 5 percent. This means in addition to the everyday benefits of smart home life, you also get to see a solid return on your investment when you sell your home down the road.

Convenience Galore

There are tons of ways that you can use smart home tech to make your life easier and more fun. For example, you can use voice commands to dim lights, play music, turn on the AC, and more. Or, you can ask your digital assistant to tell you a joke or give you the weather forecast. The ability to access online knowledge just by asking a question out loud is infinitely useful.

There are utterly practical conveniences as well. Save money on your heating and cooling bill by setting your smart thermostat to run at energy-saving levels when no one’s home. Set it to kick back on ten minutes before you arrive, and your home will be a comfortable temperature once you’re back. You can also turn lights on and off remotely, which allows you to prepare your home for your arrival. Imagine coming in from work to a perfect temperature, well-lit home playing your favorite unwind song. It’s a wonderful image.

Security and Safety

Smart home tech can also go a long way toward increasing your safety and security. You can set up a home camera and security system that will text you if there’s movement when no one’s meant to be home. You can access the video from your phone and tell whether someone’s broken in, or if your spouse just got off work early that day.

Smart doorbells can also make your home more secure. You never have to wonder who’s at the door or try to make out a distorted peephole image before you answer. You can easily see and communicate with whoever’s knocking, even if you’re not at home. Not only will this make you feel safer, but it will also make it easier to communicate with delivery people and neighbors.

Getting Started

Consider starting small when it comes to smart tech. You’ll almost certainly expand your collection of smart home features, but diving in with just one thing gives you a chance to learn how the technology works in a low-pressure situation. You don’t want to get every piece of smart tech and be stuck trying to figure it all out at once. Start with something that will save you money in the long run, like smart light bulbs or a smart thermostat.

These will give you a chance to play with the different options available and will cut down on your energy bills. Living in a smart home will make you wonder how you managed before. Explore the options available, and remember – you’re limited only by your imagination. The customization possibilities are practically endless, so figure out how to make your smart home perfect!

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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How To Transform Your Kitchen On A Budget To Achieve A Quick Sale

articleimage289 s1 c0 0 600 400 o600 400 e - How To Transform Your Kitchen On A Budget To Achieve A Quick Sale

In often cases, the kitchen is what holds properties back from selling quickly. Not everyone can afford to replace a full kitchen, but with some pointers, and a few YouTube tutorials along the way, you can learn how to make affordable improvements yourself. Without breaking the bank.

A typical 8-unit kitchen that provides 10m2 of storage space can cost at least £1000. A larger kitchen however, requiring 20-units, giving 30m2 could be more like £7000 and that’s not even including the worktops, appliances or installation fees. Besides, if you were going to invest that much money, you’d want it to be for your own kitchen that you can enjoy yourself! With our kitchen guide, you can transform your kitchen space for under £80!

Before we start, you will need: (For the best quality supplies, head to Dulux or Johnstones.)

• Dust sheets! Old bed sheets will do too or these can be ordered online for as little as £1.
• Degrease wipes £2 from any supermarket
• Advanced primer in white £8
• Water based acrylic satin, mixed in any colour you want £9
• Foam roller £4
• Paint brush pack £11
• Mini roller bucket £3
• Knotting solution £7 (if necessary)
• New cupboard furniture, around £20
• Sanding pad pack £4

Step 1. PREP
Start by removing cupboard and draw furniture (handles and knobs.) Use a screwdriver to do so, usually either a flat head or a Philips. Then start sheeting the floor. You don’t want any paint splashes on your tiled floor (use masking tape to secure if you’re worried.) With your sanding pad, start going over the ins and out of your cupboards. Be thorough and make sure all food splashes are rubbed off. Dust down well. Then with the degrease wipes, give everywhere a wipe down. This is important and if done properly will help the paint sit better on the surface.

Step 2. BARE WOOD?

This step is only for those who will be transforming bare wood units. After wiping down, get your knotting solution and with a cloth or thin paint brush, ensure all wood knots are covered well. If you don’t know what a knot looks like, give it a google! We use this so the darkness of the knots, don’t shine through under the paint, especially if it’s a light colour. This dries instantly, so about fifteen minutes later move on to the next step.

Step 3. PRIME.

With a 1.5-inch paintbrush start applying the advanced primer. This removes the porosity creating a smooth coat ready for the following final coats. To get the best outcome do two coats, just to get a good coverage, avoiding any other colour or wood flashing through. Leave around 3 hours in-between coats and overnight for the last.

Step 4. PAINT.
Grab the water based acrylic satin, a clean brush, foam roller and mini roller bucket. This stage can vary depending on what cabinets you have. If you just have flat doors and draws, then that’s easy! If you have grooved or paneled cabinets, then this will require just a little more attention. For flat doors, with the brush, paint the outskirts of the door. Do one door at a time and don’t do a wide area, keep it neat and narrow. Coat the roller well in the acrylic satin and spread evenly over the entire door and lay it off well so there are no bubbles and is evenly covered. Don’t forget to do the side of the opened door as well. Don’t apply any more paint to the roller, just run it up and down and it will cover perfectly. If you want to do inside the cabinets as well then repeat this process.

For grooved or panelled doors, paint with a brush the panels and grooves, if there is an area larger than the width of your roller, roll it. If it is smaller and needs the paint to be worked into it, then stick with a brush. Lay it off well with the roller again to make it smooth and even. Using a foam roller will eliminate any brush marks and will make it look like the cabinets were that colour to begin with!

Make sure all edges are painted. This stage needs two coats, so wait 6 hours between coats and then overnight after the final. You might be thinking this will take up too much time, but I would say it’s much better than having fitters in and leaving you without a kitchen for a couple of days.

Step 5. DRESS.

This is the fun part. Now everything has dried, removed the sheets. To make the kitchen more modern and in keep with the transformation, you may want to replace the furniture. You can get a pack of four handles from Wilko for £6. When putting these on, be careful not to scratch your masterpiece! Dress with a new fruit bowl, a fresh bunch of flowers or some hanging green plants.

There are millions of hints and tips found online. Look through Pinterest for colour inspiration and watch any YouTube videos along the way if you find yourself struggling. Just by doing this can really increase your chances of selling. A major kitchen remodel only returns around 80% on to your investment, a minor remodel like revamping your cabinets, has an 87% return!

For £80, it’s a no brainer.

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