From the nail-biting stress of putting in a mortgage application to complications associated with waiting in a property chain, some things are unlikely to change when it comes to property-buying. But with an array of new smartphone apps now available for home-seekers and buyers, there are aspects of the process that have been well and truly brought into the 21st century.
Here are five great apps for homebuyers that could help you make purchasing a home less stressful and more enjoyable.
Crime Map England and Wales
Choosing your home presents a wealth of options, the first of which is where to buy? Obviously your geographical choice will be made based on a number of criteria, including work and family, but this little app also allows you to view crime rates in your prospective area so you can choose the safest place to live.
The Crime Map England and Wales is available for iPhone and Android. Using a map of your chosen area, you can view exactly where crime and antisocial behaviour is occurring, including details of the specific crimes. Then you can compare it to the national average. This is a great tool for anyone planning to move into an area they are not yet well acquainted with.
Around Me Places Tracker
Around Me is another great app for anyone new to an area. Using your current position, the app allows you to learn about what’s on offer in the area – from restaurants and coffee shops to hospitals and movie theatres.
Use it while you’re viewing prospective property purchases to find out how far you would have to go to get your morning cuppa or fill your tank with petrol.
Found the area of your dreams and want to find out how much that house on the corner weighs in at? Rightmove’s app enables you to use your current location to find property for sale and to let, then learn how much it would cost to live there. Plus, you get all the property details listed on the Rightmove website direct to your mobile phone. This is a great app for property-buyers and nosey neighbours alike.
New home needs some updating? The Wallpaper Calculator app allows you to quickly measure up and calculate the number of rolls you need to wallpaper a room. No more estimations and excess, just a simple, four-step process to getting it right first time.
My Council Services
Street light outside your current or prospective property out? Or are there graffiti or pest problems that need sorting? This nifty little app is a quick and efficient way to submit reports to the council from your smartphone. The apps works with every council within the UK, either alerting council staff by email or loading your issue direct to their management system.
Some things will always be the same for property buyers, but these apps can help streamline many processes to make purchasing and settling into your new home easier than ever before.
The legalities associated with property are complex and varied; in fact they can be an absolute minefield. Purchasing a property for any reason, from owner-occupier to commercial use and buy-to-let, comes with with its own unique set of regulations. Not following these rules to the letter can result in a fine.
In case you were wondering what sort of things people can be fined for when it comes to property, at MyLocalMortgage we’ve compiled a few examples from around the world. These examples of property-related fines range from the sublime to the downright disgusting – so don’t say you haven’t been warned (being unaware of law simply isn’t an excuse in court).
Fined £2,000 for urine stench in flat
Last month, Brent landlord Mr Gareth Kirwan, was fined £2,000 because the property he owned smelt of urine. Despite repeated complaints from his tenants and requests from the council, the landlord failed to make necessary repairs to the the Aylesbury Street property. Tenants complained as soon as they moved in, contacting the Brent Private Housing Services Team in June 2014, stating the smell was so bad in the bedroom it simply couldn’t be used. The stench was attributed to a leaking toilet.
Fined £25,000 for putting tenants in danger
Also in West London is landlord Alan Lempriere who received fines and charges of around £25,000 after putting his tenants’ lives at risk. He was found to have failed to provide adequate smoke alarms for tenants, not carried out electrical or gas safety checks, operating a house of multiple occupancy without a licence and not maintaining areas affected by mould and damp.
Fined over £70,000 for an illegal house conversion
A property-owner in Ealing who illegally converted a property has had a confiscation order of £66,000 applied. Five years ago and without any planning permission, Dragan Milinkovic changed this property into three apartments, which were below an acceptable standard. He was fined £2,700 and given costs of £4,762 reflecting the council’s court fees as well as a victim surcharge. The confiscation order of £66,000 was a reflection of the cash he earned while illegally letting the flats. If this fine is not paid within six month, Mr Milinkovic will face 21 months in prison.
Fined $3,000 for replacing windows
Luke Tran and Quy Hoang of Ontario, were fined $3,000 for replacing the windows of their building without a heritage permit. According to the City of Ontario it is the owner’s responsibility to know their obligations in terms of renovations. Similar criteria are enforced in terms of listed property in the UK, so check your obligations before making alterations.
€500 fine for ringing George Clooney’s doorbell
And finally, if you happen to be in the Lake Como area while George Clooney and his wife are visiting their villa, don’t be tempted to disturb them. According to reports in The Express, the mayor of Laglio has declared a fine of for those who approach either of Clooney’s properties – Villa Oleandra and Villa Margherita. Yes, it is extremely tempting; however, you have now been warned!
Life is expensive, there’s no doubt about it, and when you’re saving for a big buy, like a property upgrade, you can save surprising amounts of cash by simply reigning in your spending. However, over the Easter holidays when the kids are off school and making demands on both your time and money – it can be all too easy to give in to pester power and start spending more than you’d planned.
Instead of investing in yet another game for the DS or forking out for a day at an expensive theme park, consider these money-saving tips and tricks to save a fortune over the Easter break, while ensuring your kids are still suitably entertained.
1. Check out cinema deals
Watching a film can cost a fortune these days, with tickets in the region of £8 – £15 per adult and £5-£10 per child – depending on where you live (in London costs are particularly high). Save a bundle on the cost of cinema tickets by checking whether your local establishment offers “Movies for Juniors” or a similar
Movies for Juniors is an offer for kids from the Cineworld chain of cinemas, though others offer similar. As part of the deal, kids and adults can view a range of movies at specified viewings for just £1.75 a go. They aren’t the most recent releases but you and your brood can still benefit from a morning or afternoon at the cinema without having to remortgage the house to do so.
2. Picnic in the park
Kids (and adults) of all ages love picnics. While the sun is shining over much of Britain, make the most of it and get your ham butties packed, your picnic blanket unearthed and make your way to the nearest green space. Check out your local council’s website to find inspiration for new places to visit. Plenty of parks have free play areas for the kids to explore, but some even boasts zip wires, petting zoos and more exciting opportunities – in addition to wide open spaces to kick a football or throw a frisbee. Hours of fun- and very little impact on your wallet.
3. Visit the local museum
Many UK museums are free! With areas dedicated solely to kids, they are not exactly a boring day out. Your little ones might even imbue a little extra understanding of the way the world works so trips like these are great for educational purposes too. Plus, many museums will have extra activities like shows and craft-making planned for families for the Easter hols.
You can find a full list of some of the top free UK museums and galleries for families as published by The Guardian here.
4. Planes, trains and automobiles
This is one for kids that love transport. As parents, we tend to view public transport as a necessity. To a child, especially a child usually ferried about by car, trains and buses are a source of wonder. You can have a great day out simply by purchasing a day-rider ticket and asking your child to pick the location. Then simply sit back an enjoy the journey. You might choose to get off and explore the area, or you may simply be happy to look out the windows and enjoy the ride. It may sound simple, but by giving your child the power to make the decision of your destination, it becomes an adventure through unknown territory.
Kids who like aeroplanes may enjoy a trip to a plane viewing point near the local airport. Some viewing points charge just for car parking, others are located in the gardens of public houses. Manchester’s The Airport pub is located just 50 feet from the runway, giving an unforgettable close-up of the planes. There are also swings, slides and other amusements for the kids when they get fed up with planes. There’s no charge for the seat – just buy a round of drinks.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to keep the kids entertained this Easter. Just use a little imagination to think up activities that don’t cost the earth.