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Foreword


Kirstie’s Welcome

The housing market and politics have been high on the agenda in the last 18 months. As prices have not forged ahead as much as they have done in recent years so the mechanics of the house buying process have come more to the fore.

The level of Stamp Duty has long made me rage simply because it is so unfair ‘ particularly on those trying to make a move onto the housing ladder. Nothing has happened there to sweeten my temper on this issue.

The new arrivals have been Home Improvement Packs (HIPs) ‘ those documents that have to be supplied by sellers to buyers. The government have said they will cost around £400 to produce ‘ my feeling is that they’ll cost more.

The housing market has a long tradition of relating charges and fees to the cost of the property. It might cost £400 for a starter home but I can’t believe that as you progress up the ladder so that charge will remain.

To my mind it is another tax to help the government. Just think how much VAT will be generated by producing them.

These have been strange times in the property and building trade. Homes are needed but are the new ones fulfilling the need for which they are required? Houses have sold but the market has not been running away with itself as it has done in recent years. It is almost as if people are waiting to see what will happen.

What I know is that people will continue to buy houses, they will still strive to create the perfect home. Join us in this magazine as we analyse the market, offer tips on buying and selling and let you into the secrets behind wise buying and selling of homes.

Experience has given us knowledge that we want to share to make for a country with better homes for its people. And this year – as an expectant mum in a tiny flat – I’ll be using some of my experience for my own benefit.

Enjoy the magazine.

Phil’s Greeting

People’s interest in property will never go away. The home is such an important part of life that achieving the perfect one ‘ or even just getting your first home ‘ is a key part of living.

Houses go up and houses come down as what we want from our property changes with the times.

At the start of the 20th century running water and bathrooms were luxuries. The 21st century is about multiple bathrooms and communications systems ‘ Internet access and wireless connections.

So much has changed so fast it is difficult to know what is around the corner. Even traditional homes have to keep up with the times.

Everyone is changing fast to meet the demands. Builders are certainly more flexible than they used to be but then that is the effect of a highly competitive market. There are constant innovations.

The way the market in England and Wales works has long been considered flawed but there have been moves to streamline the process and make it work better.

Information is a big part of buying a house ‘ and it’s a big part of our job. Our expertise is in deciphering that information to help our clients make a better and more informed decision.

The Internet age is certainly starting to have a positive impact on the process but there is still a long way to go.

The one government initiative that did bite the dust was the element of the self-investor personal pension ‘ the SIPP ‘ that allowed for residential property to be included in the retirement nest egg. That went out the window with the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s December financial statement.

Although the market has been less than predictable this year, the good news is that it hasn’t been as volatile as some had feared. Join us as we look at property trends, predict future moves and discuss the ways of making your house your home.

There’s more than that as we, with our teams of writers, tackle the key property issue of the moment.

I hope you enjoy the magazine.

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