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  • Listen to Alex Goldstein’s “live” conversation with Will Smith about his background, his role as a Phil Spencer property expert and what to expect from his new property radio show!


    Hometime with Will Smith on Stray FM (May 2016)

    Full transcript below:

    Will: Will Smith here and I want to introduce you to Stray FMs newest presenter, Alex Goldstein. Good afternoon Alex.

    Alex: Well good afternoon, thank you for the kind introduction.

    Will: No worries and it’s great to have you here. Other than being on Stray FM, what’s your background?

    Alex: Well, I used to be an estate agent for many years down in London where I started my career and I did a lot of country houses and estates down there for one of the big international firms and then otherwise I’ve been up in Harrogate for abut eight years again with some of the big guys as well so I’m literally property through and through, it’s really all I’ve ever done actually.

    Will: Tell us about your new role now then?

    Alex: Yeah, the new business has been up and running for abut four years now and I’m a property consultant, so I now help people buy property in London and Yorkshire where we are. I also happen to help them sell and sort of use who I know and what I know as a ex estate agent but in a very different way and it’s great just to be able to help people in the right direction.

    Will: What Alex doesn’t know about property quite frankly isn’t worth knowing. And Alex you’ve got a new show on Stray FM. We’ll tell you how you can access the show very soon but first of all I’ll let you explain about it.

    Alex: It’s really very exciting indeed and some great reviews so far so thank you to everyone that’s listened in. The basis of the show is really to give people the insider tips, tricks and industry expert advice when it comes to buying and selling your property. Now we’ve got guests coming into the show whether its conveyancing solicitors, next month we’ve got Price Waterhouse Coopers, some real global heavyweights as well and its just delving into their world and picking their brains and getting the best out of them so just really helping the listeners.

    Will: So, you can access this show on our website click on the Alex Goldstein Property Show. If you are thinking of moving house soon, thinking of selling your house, renting a house, know someone who is, maybe you’ve got family buying a house you need to have this show in your life and you can take it with you, you can listen on your smartphone, you can listen on your iPad, your laptop. Download it now, have a listen at your leisure. click on the Alex Goldstein Property Show and Alex thank you for talking to us on Stray FM on this sunny afternoon.

    Alex: Absolutely great to be here and thank you.

    Will: to download the latest Alex Goldstein Property Show.

    Hometime with Will Smith on Stray FM (May 2016)

    May 2016
  • The Alex Goldstein Property Show (Part 2) with StrayFM. This month we discuss Brexit and its possible impact on the market, how much should you spend prior to putting your home on the market, plus we get an insight into the world of Berwins conveyancing solicitors and specialist carehome finder Fiona Gilbert. We also answer the age-old question, of whether homeowners should conduct their own viewings.

    Want to know why the show is going down a storm online and in the media, then tune in to find out!

    The Alex Goldstein Property Show (Part 2)

    Full transcript below:

    Alex: Welcome again to the Alex Goldstein Property Show. I am Alex Goldstein of Alex Goldstein Property Consultants in Harrogate, and this is the brand new fast-paced property show aimed at giving you the latest insider tips, tricks and industry expert advice so you can make the best-informed decision when it comes to buying and selling your home. If you have an interest in the local or national property market and the associated professions in the sector, then this is the show for you. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, experienced developer or have an established property portfolio I guarantee there is something for you. I will be speaking with and getting insider knowledge from some of the most successful property related businesses and professionals that Yorkshire and indeed the UK has to offer, ranging from regional solicitors all the way through to some of the UK’s top multi-national firms. We are available for podcast download on the first day of every month, so make sure you sign up to Alex Goldstein and the Stray FM Twitter and social media accounts to get an early reminder of this and get great property tips whenever you need. Now, in this months show we will be getting the inside track from Fiona Gilbert a specialist care home finder for the elderly. This of course is an increasing issue and if you need to find the right care home for a relative where do you actually turn? We will also be answering the age-old question whether homeowners should actually conduct their own viewings as part of our property hospital section. Plus, we will be putting Jo Randall from Berwins Solicitors in Harrogate in the hot seat to get a full understanding of what residential conveyancing actually is. And we will finish the show with the Alex Goldstein top tips.

    The news this month following the budget is that everyone’s focus now moved towards Brexit and whether the UK stays part of the European Union. Admittedly there are more views on this currently than there are Starbucks coffee shops. However, as I see it in terms of general activity in the property market it will be much like the general election when activity levels will drop for several weeks to either side of the 23 June whilst purchasers and sellers concentrate on this and much like the budget homeowners and investors just want piece of mind and to know what is going to happen. And if we look at a bit of history and it should be bared in mind that I am politically neutral on this show but to try and dispel some of the myths and scaremongering out there, in 2013 it was reported by one of the major UK estate agencies that 49% of prime Central London property was owned by international purchasers either for investment or occasional use. Was this down to the European Union that they bought here – question mark. When the Euro currency was launched in 1999 many said that a lot of businesses would relocate if the UK did not sign up and despite the UK retaining Stirling many businesses stayed. We need to remember that it is the political and economic stability that drives UK property investment both domestically and internationally and it’s the fear of the unknown which puts the brakes on this investment. Much of this stability comes from the UK itself and should we leave our trade deals will need to be renegotiated over a 2-year period. Does our trade with other states directly impact the property market I question? Of course, if we stay then people know it’s business as normal.

    It’s great to Welcome to the show Fiona Gilbert actually of Care Home Finder, a really specialist and a company of great interest, a real sort of growing concern I think within the UK at the moment. Fiona sort of tell everyone a bit about the business and your involvement.

    Fiona: I’ve been involved in the property sector now for over 35 years and more recently since about 1995, I’ve been involved with the elderly care home sector. And a few years ago, my husband’s mother needed to go into a care home and we found it very difficult to find the right place for her but at least we had the experience and we knew what sort of questions to ask. What we’re finding now is that fewer people have that experience and it’s a very daunting prospect, if you’re looking for a care home for an elderly relative perhaps or just a parent, so we felt that there was a gap in the market there and people needed help.

    Alex: I really think they do, even more so at a time when they really need some handholding and I think everyone is sort of aware this is a growing concern. We’ve got an aging population, I mean is that sort of a fair comment?

    Fiona: Absolutely, I think people are living longer, they’re generally healthier as they get older but then we found out this week that over 200,000 people per year are diagnosed with dementia and it’s probably that stage where a lot of elderly people feel they can’t cope at home, even with carers coming in.

    Alex: And how do you go about the process because obviously if you’re living at the other end of the country to your relative and they’re looking at possibly contemplating going into care, what can you actually do because I think this is actually a really important point because I don’t know anyone else that does what you do.

    Fiona: We help people who maybe have the long distances to cover because it’s very time consuming if you’re looking for a care home for somebody who’s at the other end of the country or even overseas. A lot of our clients have children who are abroad and so it’s very difficult, it’s costly, they’ve got to come over to the particular region they’re looking for the care home, they need their hands holding really and we can do that research for them, we can provide reports for them, we can take the relative into a care home to have a look round when they might not be available to do so.
    Alex: How does this sort of all work into fees? I mean everyone sort of talks about care homes and costs involved. What does it actually equate to in sort of real terms and how do you look at financing of it if that’s an option?

    Fiona: Well the vast majority of people will be self-funding because they’ll probably have assets in excess of £23,250 which is the current threshold. So, if they own a house then obviously they’re going to have to self-fund their care. The care home fee rates are going up all the time. The average is probably around the £600-700 per week and that can go up depending on what type of care is required to £1,200 a week if they’re needing nursing care and potential dementia care. And it does vary around the country, down south around London you could be talking over £2,000 a week.

    Alex: I mean that’s some serious expenditure and I guess on the back of that, are you able to provide financial and legal advice or do you know the right people, how does that side of things work?

    Fiona: We know the right people to signpost our clients in their direction, so we have a panel of reputable IFA’s and solicitors who specialise in the elderly care sector.

    Alex: Great, so ok it’s all part of the service of holding the clients hand. I personally don’t know of anyone else, is there anyone else out there that offers this sort of service? I can’t believe that there is.

    Fiona: There aren’t any in the Yorkshire area that I’m aware of. There are one or two people that do a similar sort of service elsewhere around the country, they’re quite difficult to find. We offer a national service to shortlist and analyse care homes all around the UK and carry out research and it’s up-to-date and it’s unbiased. You’ll find that a lot of websites actually take advertising from the care homes so inevitably those care homes are going to feature closer to the top of their recommendation list. We don’t recommend we just provide the information for people to make an educated decision.

    Alex: I’m assuming if you’ve got a specialist requirement, onset dementia to name one of them, I guess there are specific types of care homes that one should and should not look at, and you’re able to sort of guide people and differentiate between the pros and cons of that.

    Fiona: Yes, in the main you’ve got residential care, you’ve got nursing care and then you’ve got both of those with dementia as well. There might be other homes that offer facilities for people with Parkinson’s disease or other requirements to that person, so we can make sure that the homes that we look at and shortlist for the clients are relevant to their particular needs.

    Alex: And you’re able to help with I’m assuming again access to these. I know there’s sometimes waiting lists for some of the better ones, is that something you can work on that side or is it providing the information, how does that work?

    Fiona: Because we are familiar with the system we can very often speed the process up, which means that obviously if there are waiting lists, then we don’t jump the queue but obviously we can perhaps pull a few strings in the right area. And the other aspect that we can help people with is to potentially negotiate a reduction in the fee rates because they’re not always set in stone.

    Alex: That’s a very valid point, I thought it was a set rate, most people assume that it is what it is. I didn’t appreciate that it was a game like buying a house and you can negotiate. I thought it was a set thing.

    Fiona: No, if you know how to negotiate as we do then you can save quite a lot of money and you know when you’re talking about £1,000 or there abouts it’s good even if you can get 5% off.

    Alex: It makes all the difference on that sort of scale. Obviously, I’m assuming that’s one of the pitfalls but what are the other sort of possible areas that you need to be mindful of when looking at a care home?

    Fiona: Well a little bit like yourself when you’re looking for properties and you see the glossy brochures, you know what to look for behind the scenes and care homes in the main have lovely glossy brochures with happy smiling faces but behind the scenes there could be all sorts of things hidden and we know what to look for. We also when we go round the homes we actually see how the carers engage with the clients, it’s not just about the surroundings, you know you might have a beautiful home with a nice large bedroom with a lovely en suite, but you might find there are elderly people dotted around with no engagement with the staff at all and leads to depression and ill health.

    Alex: And that’s the error that always get into the news and as you said it’s looking beyond that glossy brochure as on my side with property and seeing what’s happening behind the scenes. Obviously very very similar that you’re under a lot of pressure because obviously you’re trying to source the right care home and sometimes you come across as quite blinkered in your approach, you always need a third party like yourself to see through all of that and guide you in the right direction.

    Fiona: I mean the Care Quality Commission provide reports but sometimes they might only happen once a year and things change. So, because our information is bang up to date then we know that home on that particular day might be better or worse than it appeared in the report.

    Alex: Absolutely, and I suppose the obvious question is how much your services cost?

    Fiona: We have a free service initially for the shortlisting of up to 30 care homes or nursing homes in a specific area. Thereafter it’s really now a question of bespoke service but put it this way it’s actually a lot cheaper than the weekly fees.

    Alex: Thank you and how can people get hold of you if they needed to run anything past you and touch base, what do they need to do?

    Fiona: Well they can look at the website which is or by telephone on 0345 8530300.

    Alex: I really appreciate your time on the show and thank you for sharing your knowledge, yeah, I’m sure we’ll be in touch.

    Fiona: Ok great.

    Alex: In the property hospital I get to answer your property problems. This month I’ve got a great question from Nathan. Over to him.

    Nathan; Alex, I’m in a real dilemma. Many of the property television programmes out there seem to portray that it’s best for homeowners to conduct their viewings. After all I know the property best and all its details and quirks. On the other hand, should I let the estate agent do it as they’re the professionals. What do you think?

    Alex: Nathan, thanks very much, a great question and one very often asked indeed. Now, on the face of it this does actually seem a bit of a no brainer. Of course, you know the property best, you should do the viewings, makes sense. However, in this instance knowledge isn’t necessarily power, let me explain. Firstly, you need to remember that on first viewings purchasers just want a brisk guided tour around the property and giving them details about where you sourced your terracotta kitchen tiles or where the water stopcock is, that’s almost information overload and you could well end up putting that viewer off. Second point is that because as a homeowner you are naturally and understandably emotionally connected with the property. However, your enthusiasm could sometimes be misconstrued as over selling or indeed at worst, come across as desperation to sell, which is certainly not the right impression. Now we’ve got to remember an estate agent is not connected to the property and therefore they can have an open dialogue with the viewer. They can recommend works that could add value for example and they’re more likely to get a true reflection from the viewer about their thoughts. Now, for example, how many times have we actually heard stories about the homeowners spending over an hour with a charming couple, showing them around the house, loved it and they’re going to be putting in an offer tomorrow, however, the next day they call the agent and absolutely slate it. This is what I call being British, as the viewer didn’t want to hurt the homeowner’s feelings. An estate agent doing the viewing avoids all of this happening. The final thing is that an estate agent is trained to pick up on what matters to the viewer and reinforce that point to them. So, the viewer loves the open-plan kitchen then the agent can spend more time in that room, refer back to it during the visit and finish the appointment there. So overall, I feel it’s best to leave the first viewings to the agents. This is what they’re trained to do, they’ve got a business position rather than a personal emotional one and it means they can get more out of the viewing than you potentially can. However, for second or third viewings you as the homeowner may wish to be in the background to answer some of the more detailed questions and when the viewer is starting to show more interest. Do remember, a purchaser is of course investing in the property, but they are also investing in you and if they meet you, they get to see that you’re a great affable person then this installs confidence in the whole situation. Getting under offer is only step one, getting to exchange of course requires patience and understanding and if the purchaser sees this in you, it again helps the whole process come together. I hope that’s been of some help Nathan.

    Voiceover: The Property Hot Seat

    Jo: Jo Randall

    Voiceover: Business?

    Jo: Associate Director at Berwin Solicitors.

    Voiceover: Time in property?

    Jo: 25 years.

    Alex: Jo, great to have you here and thanks very much indeed for coming along. I have to say Berwins have got a good name locally and what I’ve sort of felt is the solicitors at large are very much misunderstood, certainly when it comes to the conveyancing process and how one actually goes about behind the scenes buying and indeed selling a property. There’s a lot of jargon gets thrown around. Just explain to our listeners briefly for example, searches, it’s one of those jargon words, what does it mean, what does it actually entail and why do I need it as a buyer of a property, or indeed if I’m selling?

    Jo: Ok Alex, well we will carry out typically three kinds of searches for a buyer. These searches are sent of to the water company, the local authority and they will give us vital information about the property that you’re buying. For example, the drainage search, it might tell you if the property’s connected to the mains drains and if indeed there’s a drain or sewer running through your garden. You might have plans to extend and so you’ll need to know where that drain is. A local search will tell you if the roads are maintained by the local authority, they also tell you if that large extension has correct planning permission, if the property is listed or in a conservation area as these kind of things will affect your use of the property.

    Alex: So, it’s a case of doing a background check, say when you buy a car for example you get the full finance check and it hasn’t been in a crash, you’re almost doing exactly the same but from a property perspective, so you’re not effectively sort of buying the wrong property or buying it under the wrong pretences.

    Jo: That’s a really good way of putting it, background check on the property.

    Alex: And what is the best point? When should one actually look to get you on board and appointed?

    Jo: Well particularly with the sale we’re very welcome to talk to a client as soon as they out a property on the market. We can give you a quote based on your asking price and we’ll chat to you, particularly if the property is lease hold and you have a flat, we can start talking to the landlord, get your lease ready, get any documentation that’s required, because it’s often those sort of things that can cause delays later in the chain.

    Alex: Yeah, no, and it’s also from your perspective it’s client ID and signing all of that off as well, so I suppose it’s getting the whole file.

    Jo: Yes, that’s a real bug bear these days, we do need to take further checks under the money laundering regulations etc, so we need to see clients ID and if you’re buying we need to see evidence of source of funds, so if we can sort all those things out early on in the transaction that will mean it will run much more smoothly.

    Alex: There’s a lot of paperwork to get through, you might as well do it right up in advance, you’ve got the paperwork ready, the files open and you’re ready to go and there’s no surprises so then everyone wins, great point, thank you. I have to say from my perspective the timescale from going under offer on a property through to exchange seems to be creeping upward and upwards and upwards. I remember back in the heyday it used to be three to four weeks from under offer to exchange.

    Jo: Well it is a complicated transaction, freehold houses take four to six weeks, and we’d say six to eight weeks for a leasehold. Searches are still taking a few weeks to be returned from the local authority. If the property is leasehold then obviously we’ve got the get the information back from the landlord and management company which is beyond our control, which is why it’s a really good idea to come to us as soon as possible so we can get that kind of thing sorted out straight away.

    Alex: And if I’m thinking of selling my property, would do I need to do to line everything up in advance?

    Jo: Well come and talk to us, we’ll let you have the property information form and you can go away and work through that rather large questionnaire. It will ask you for things like planning permissions, building regulations if you did an extension, if you had a new boiler you’ll need a gas safe certificate, so you can be digging that out at the same time.

    Alex: Certainly, on my travels Jo in a lot of years in the industry, I’m sure you’ve come across it. How does the land lie for example, a homeowner extends their property, but they “accidentally” forget to tell the local authority, building regs haven’t actually been around and signed it off. What impact will that have when they come to sell or indeed if you come to look to buy that property? How on earth do you work through a sort of complication like that?

    Jo: These kind of problems can be sorted out. One possibility is you approach the local council and seek retrospective consent. A buyer’s solicitor could ask for what’s called indemnity insurance which would be a one-off insurance policy which would insure against the risk of the local authority taking action. We would really urge you to talk to us about this before going to approach the local council because this could affect future indemnity insurance.

    Alex: It’s an interesting sort of conundrum I suppose this Jo, is why people should go to a local solicitor as with a lot of industry’s nowadays you just go online, you can find a cheap as chips solicitors. What’s the difference, why would people actually come to you guys in town?

    Jo: Well absolutely, it is tempting just to type in conveyancers and then find that you can get the job done for £195. But I’ve worked for both kinds of firms, conveyancers that rely on referral work. My point of view it’s amazing how quickly potentially a problem can be resolved if you have a local solicitor. If you’ve got a 50-minute appointment with your solicitor face-to-face we can get all sorts of things sorted out. Also, your local solicitor will know the local agents, local financial advisors, and other solicitors. We’re all here to get the job done as quickly as possible and smoothly as possible and we all help each other. Having these personal relationships with these agencies makes it much easier to communicate and get things done. You’ll have a dedicated solicitor if you come to Berwins who will know your file, you won’t have the file outsourced to a centre for title checking, you won’t have to deal with a call centre and you’ll know who your lawyer is. Also, we’re not beholden to agents, is we are recommended by a agent it’s because they know that we’ll do a good job, not because they’ve got a financial contract with the panel management firm to farm out that case.

    Alex: Yeah quite, I think it’s a very valid point, it’s just having a single point of call, you don’t want to be lost in a call centre, especially as you said on something as important as a piece of legal work and you’re going to be with this asset for a good few years, you don’t want to get it wrong. I suppose the other sort of final point, I suppose with your lengthy career, 25 years in the industry, you must have come across a few amusing situations, does anything I suppose come to mind at all?

    Jo: Well, one of my top tips is always go and check your property. This incident wouldn’t happen now it happened many years ago, I had a client who was a developer, he was working on several houses at the same time and instructed me that one of them was ready and we completed the sale. The buyers were a young family with a dog, they turned up at the house to discover that their new home actually didn’t have a roof on. The developer had finished the wrong house. So, I advise clients, view the property just before exchange and before completion so that if there are any issues we’ve got time to sort them out.

    Alex: Indeed, no great advice indeed and obviously it would be incredibly rare nowadays, but I bet they weren’t particularly amused when they turned up with no roof on.

    Jo: It was an interesting Friday afternoon.

    Alex: Jo just remind everyone; how can everyone reach you if they’ve got any questions or queries?

    Jo: Well I’m at Berwins Solicitors you can reach me on 01423 543134 or contact me at

    Alex: That’s great Jo, really appreciate your time and thank you very much indeed for an insight into your world.

    Jo: Thank you.

    Alex: This month we are focussing on how far do you go and how much do you spend on presentation prior to selling. The key to this as I see it is put in the minimum, to get the maximum. So, for example do not go to the huge expense of putting in new kitchens or bathrooms when these are highly personal areas on the house, which let’s face it the incoming purchaser may not like anyway. Concentrate on wall colours instead at a fraction of the cost. It really is true that a fresh coat of paint can make all the difference and gives a room a whole lease of life. So, in advance of selling, and if you’re anything like me, book your decorator in to paint your main principal rooms and to touch up areas around the house. We’re not of course talking about a full house redecoration but the key areas only. You’ll find that with some great lighting and combined photography the rooms will really sing off the page and put you ahead of competitors out there. Instruct the decorator in advance of the sale. You don’t want viewers to smell it when they walk through the front door of course and heaven forbid they actually get wet paint on their clothes as they look around. The decorators also know that magnolia colour is not necessarily the way forward. They know what colours work for a room and how to make it stand out, and more importantly which tones are fashionable at the time. They, like me, have equally been around a lot of properties so their knowledge and expertise is vital. It’s a modest cost but you really will reap the reward when you come to sell.

    That’s all from the Alex Goldstein Property Show (Part 2). More details can be found on the website or of course together with all our social media channels. The next episode is out on 1 June where I’m hoping to have a specialist joiner who uses a wood product with a 50, five-zero-year guarantee, you did hear that correctly. Plus, global heavyweights in the accountancy and professional services sector Price Waterhouse Cooper will be here. In the meantime, for more great property tips check out my website or indeed drop me a line at Until next time.

    The Alex Goldstein Property Show (Part 2)

    April 2016
  • Recording of my Homeowners Under The Hammer presentation at PwC in Leeds in April 2016, outlining my thoughts on the new stamp duty surcharge, effect of Brexit and how to view property investment now in the UK.


    Homeowners under the Hammer with PwC

    Full transcript below:

    Alex: The areas we’re going to cover is obviously as I see it on the new stamp duty rules, Brexit is obviously on the horizon 23rd June, we’ve all got that in our diaries I know. The outcome of any and indeed the current intervention, the property investment status now and where you should actually invest and what you should actually now look for and how to become as I call it a preferred purchaser. So very briefly who’s this rogue in front of you this morning, as Gordon very kindly said an ex-convict, used to work in London for these guys and Yorkshire and had the privilege of working through for these guys for the last sort of 13/14 years, I’ve now got my own business on the other side of the fence helping people buy and sell. So, moving straight into it as we’ve already heard, and we’ve discovered the new stamp duty rates look like this, as we’ve said the blue column is the new incremental system and the sort of gold bars is just the overall with the additional 3% surcharge added on. And this is very much a new approach that’s coming from the government. Some would argue that the government has sneaked this in over the Christmas period and what it means in actual genuine real terms is that if you’re now buying a property, a second, third, fourth property, 400,000 normally under stamp duty, you would have paid £10,000 that’s a 2.5% effective rate. Now with this surcharge it actually equates in real terms to £22,000 which is 5.5% so some big big numbers going in there. How I sort of perceive this as the result of this is that there was an absolute panicked buying frenzy from January really up until the deadline at the end of March. What we saw is that there was a price spike in some areas, it’s caused an imbalance and really my advice to a lot of investors at the time was to stop, wait and hold off. As a investor you should never go with the crowd and I hope none of you were with them and they bought into this sort of philosophy of getting and beat the deadline. But it’s obviously it’s early days but I personally see that you will start to see a price drop come off in some of these areas and of course that is now when you should buy. What happened on to the new stamp duty, so this new incremental system is really affected the top end of the market especially in London and we’ve now obviously got the 3% surcharge to contend with as well, so two fairly significant factors in that. The current intervention from the government obviously as we’re all aware we’ve got the 3% stamp duty surcharge. This is a brand-new direction from the government. From speaking with a lot of the legal guys that I know they’ve come in from the start and they’ve literally just closed all the doors, all the loopholes, it doesn’t matter if you are a married couple, whether it’s a company purchase, even say a divorce, divorcing sorry, couple. You will still face this 3% surcharge, albeit you have a 36-month window to sell that main residence and you can then go back and claim the refund. A lot of people felt that for example my side of the fence if you’re divorcing and the husband moves out, that’s fine and you can carry on. That’s not the case under the new rules. As we know and it’s indeed currently already the case you’ve got tougher lending criteria, you’ve got stress testing on interest rates up to 5.5% at the moment. There’s investigations into your wider finances and many would argue this is actually already in place albeit it’s coming more into the public domain. And from next year the rules for landlords to offset all their mortgage interest against their end of year tax bill is going to be phased out and therefore by the end of the decade the higher rate tax payers will get half the relief that they do now. As we’ve also heard on the capital gains side the tax payable on realised gains was 18%, its now under the budget, dropped to 10% for basic rate taxpayers, 28-20% for higher rate, however the sale of residential property is excluded, and the existing rate will continue to apply. So, again many would argue this is an effective 8% increase on any uplift. Now, why are the government doing this? What is their problem so to speak? The government feel that investors have a competitive and indeed an unfair advantage and they are competing with the same types of properties as first time buyers. Their aim is to help more people onto the first rungs of the property ladder, apparently, and they want to see and create stability, and they want to ensure that if the economy happened to get tough again the UK was well insulated from it all, and again we’re faced with the banking crisis once more. And they’re sort of idea is that if they increase the upfront cost, they hope to ease demand and especially protect those, the elderly and retired who have saved and they’ve got their savings tied up in property so again, we’re not going to see sort of the property market fall again so they don’t need to necessarily worry. However, the result of all of this as I see it, they have really put the brakes heavily on buy-to-let investors and especially those internationally based. And again, if you instantly choke the supply of rental properties, your tenants demand is going to go up and if this happens, your rent is going to go up per month and if you are a tenant how are you now meant to save and buy your first property on the ladder. The government obviously saw that one coming and they’ve increased the ISA allowance on the annual allowance and they’ve also bought in the new lifetime ISA. However, if you’re a tenant, if your rent has gone up, again, how do you afford to put money into said ISA. You’re still left with the same problem whereby people are still struggling to get onto the property ladder. The banks are currently and probably will be more unlikely to lend to businesses and individuals and you could argue that the whole economy starts to grind to a halt again. You’ve got the dark clouds possibly looming. Only two days ago quite interestingly the BBC reported that 50% of London’s private tenants cannot afford to pay their rent and this is in tune with one in three apparently falling into debt last year. Where does that leave us for first-time buyers, where does it leave us really as an economy going forward? But it’s not all bad news, he says, what doesn’t change for me is that London, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, the whole northern powerhouse ethos, the UK is still seen as one of the safest places in the world to invest in property. And if you want my opinion I think it always be seen that way and it will always be seen as a secure investment. Now, of course Brexit is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. How on earth is this going to affect the market whether we stay in or indeed we go. As I see it and as I’m saying to a lot of people you may have heard this morning, I see is going to be a bit like the general election, and by that, I mean you’ll see a couple of weeks either side of the general election, couple of weeks afterwards you’ll just see a decline in general activity. And what homeowners and investors want is just piece of mind. You only need to look back at the budget that we’ve just had everyone was on the edge of their seat. What’s George going to do this time, he’s going to come in with a low punch surely, funnily enough he didn’t, everyone shrugged their shoulders and thought well we knew that he wasn’t going to do anything, and business is normal and we all move on, that is my prediction. Now, for Brexit I know there are more views on this than I suppose Starbuck’s coffee houses at the moment, but you’ve got to look at the facts. The fact that it’s political and economic stability that is why people are actually investing in the UK. Arguably does the EU, does Brexit, is that going to effect it at all? You go back, you look at some figures released by Knight Frank in 2013, 49% of prime central London property was internationally owned and this was both for investment and occasional use. Again, question mark, did the EU actually have an effect on this? We have the whole argument, businesses are going to relocate if we don’t join the Euro currency, sure enough nothing actually happened. And post-Brexit, could there be arguably pressure on George Osbourne to restrict the number of European investors if we left? Could you say that the new stamp duty surcharge is a pre-cursor to this, and is the Government thinking we may actually leave? Overall, as I said I think the Brexit impact will be low, if we do happen to leave it’s going to take us a minimum of two years to renegotiate our trade deals. Personally, I don’t think that’s going to have a direct effect on the property market as at large. So, how much should one actually view property investment now, as we known as always really being the case, you can’t actually look at short-term flipping, it’s got to be looking at the medium / long-term. Take albeit I know a very extreme example, 3% new surcharge, we have to remember that is a one-off payment. Don’t get me wrong yes, it’s a lot of money, however you compare this with a 22% increase in Newham and which is a specific part of East London which I told various clients to invest in, capital increase last year was 22% in that one year alone. 3% one off, 22% and it will continue for a year. So really what I’m getting at is consider carefully your yields and capital increase and course within that your risk and what you actually want to get out of it. Looking more locally Leeds for example, you’ve got a low initial capital outlay, its affordable to more people, you’ve got some incredibly high yields by comparison, 10% certainly, I hear of people getting even 15 at times which is amazing. You’ve got a modest capital uplift and its arguably fairly low risk and as I’ve mentioned with this northern powerhouse sort of grouping together and gathering a bit of pace that will could change for the better. Compare again, compare it as a extreme, London must be treated as its own country really. You’ve got a very high capital outlay by comparison, you’ve got a significantly lower yield annually at about 3%, more often than not as a generalisation. And you’ve got again, you could have a fairly high capital uplift however that does come with a lot more risk and it’s taking a longer viewpoint. Other thing just to throw in and throw another spanner in is of course Airbnb which some of you may have herd of and for those who don’t know this is an online platform which allows individuals to rent out their spare bedroom to other fellow bnb members. What you’re able to do is offset your maintenance, it’s tax deductible costs you can apply against your end of year tax bill and because you are renting out the room, not the entire flat that is the reason why you can do it. You’ve got as we’ve heard the thousand pound a year digital tax break as the government are calling it. And again, I am advising a lot of clients buy a two-bedroom property. You can offset again the income from this against your mortgage. You’ve got the benefits of the taxation and a lot of the younger clients that I deal with again, it’s useful additional income if they’re not an investor for example. So, moving on is how to buy from a position of strength. If you are an investor what do you actually do, and what are the steps that you need, what do you need to take? As I see it as a preferred purchaser means you are seen by the estate agent and the homeowner as the most reliable and the most secure, despite not necessarily being at the highest offer amount, i.e. you are getting the best deal. So, what are the processes to do and some of these may seem obvious, but I tell you the number of times where people get this completely wrong never ceases to amaze me. Obviously, we are all aware your position is absolutely paramount and now being under offer isn’t good enough, you need to really be knocking on the door of exchange and that ideally you really do be in rented accommodation. There are a lot of people in rented, who’ve got their funds together, you are in competition with these guys. If you are in so much of a chain or under offer, you’re seen as very high risk and you need to just take a view on that. Cash funds, a number of people say well I’ve got the cash, where is it? Oh well it’s all ties up in stocks and shares and I’ve got this fund, it’s a three-month release. Again, if you’re wanting to compete with the mass market on investment terms you need to have this readily available, have your statement have that scanned into your computer and ready to email which I’ll come onto in a second. Mortgage, again always always go through a mortgage broker. And get an agreement in principal without fail, without fail, that will take you two to three weeks to get, then proves to the estate agent and the homeowner that your serious and you’re a good few steps down the line. Conveyancing solicitor as well, make sure they’re appointed, the file is open, they’ve done your client ID, they’re ready to go. Your surveyor, you know they’re ready, they’re on standby and if applicable obviously have your trusted refurb team on standby. Above all it is a people business ensure you got a good personal rapport with the agent and the homeowner. Now, having said all of this, a recent like case study of mine, I was buying for a buying client of mine in North Leeds, we agreed terms on the property and what we were able to do, we supplied without being asked by the agent, upfront proof of our cash funds because it was on email, we had the agreement in principal again on email, we fired that straight through to the agent. Within two hours of us agreeing the deal and that happening the solicitor was chasing the agent for the memorandum of sale, the surveyor was ringing him for access, the mortgage broker was ringing the agent for details. What this did was it actually caught the estate agent completely by surprise because we’ve actually turned the tables on him, and we were now commanding the situation and we were pushing the agent and we were pushing the vendor. What it then meant is that when we potentially came to renegotiate after the survey, which was the case in this instance, we were doing so from a position of strength and we’d proven ourselves from the off. So that is everything. Happily take some questions, I know we’ve run through a lot.

    Homeowners Under The Hammer With PwC

    April 2016
  • Alex Goldstein On Homes Under the Hammer. Filmed in 2011.


    BBC 1 – Homes Under the Hammer Highlights

    Full transcript below:

    Lucy: Hello and welcome to the programme.

    Martin: Even in the currently challenging property market we still both enjoy buying property.

    Lucy: Yeah, we like the idea of getting a good deal, but in today’s competitive market, well it’s not always that easy.

    Martin: One way you could get a bargain is to buy under the hammer.

    The city of Ripon in North Yorkshire has an abundance of old and historic properties. Some of them are in good condition and others if not quite ruins, have definitely seen better days. That was the case for this 17th century grade two listed former flat and shop not far from the city centre. Built before the invent of the motor car it was on a busy road and had windows, floors and doors from another age. With its rather higilty pigilty layout turning it round would be a uphill struggle for most people but for married couple Giles and Claire tackling a mountain of work was nothing new.

    Giles: Yeah, we’ve got a property in the French Alps, we run a catered chalet.

    Martin: Oh great.

    Having paid £68.5 thousand to get a foothold in the UK market and armed with an £11,000 budget former top slalom skier Giles and his wife Claire set about turning the shop and flat into one large home. 14 months later we’re back to see the results.

    Well the outside’s a big improvement with snowy white walls and a new black front door, while inside, well on the face of it, it’s not quite so impressive but as with any assault on a mountain the key to success is preparation but will all their efforts be worth it? What do two local property experts think of the progress so far?

    Alex Goldstein: I really like the open plan aspect that immediately hit you. I think the breakfast kitchen will be fantastic and again the open plan into what will be the family area and then going up onto the next two floors, excellent accommodation and very much look forward to seeing it once it’s completed.

    Martin: Encouraging comments but will the lack of parking and garden limit its rental potential?

    Alex Goldstein: I think you’re looking between £600 and £650 per calendar month.

    Giles: Well that’s very good yeah, pleased with that.

    Claire: Yeah that’s pretty good.

    Martin: Yeah pleased with even a rental of £600 a month on a £100,000 investment would mean a yield of over 7%, that’s not bad. How would it fair if re-sold?

    Alex Goldstein: I think once renovated you’re looking between £175 and £190,000.

    Giles: That’s good as well, yeah brilliant.

    Martin: No wonder they’re pleased, that could be a pre-tax profit of between £70 and £90,000.


    BBC 1 – Homes Under the Hammer Highlights

    July 2015
  • I focus entirely on your needs and your requirements. I’m here for you at the end of the day to give you the extra support and confidence through what is one of life’s most stressful situations sometimes. At the end of the day, I’m here to take the burden off your shoulders.

    The property market can be so fast-paced at times it can actually send your head in a spin. Giving you a professional service is obviously a given, but actually, so is giving you the time and support through potentially one of life’s most stressful situations. I aim to uphold the highest of standards and the greatest reward, for me, is actually seeing you happily in your new home, and hopefully recommending me to your friends and family.

    I’m not interested in paying lip service, just having great open communication with my clients. My reputation is absolutely everything, so I’m a firm believer in that talk is cheap. If I say that I’ll call you on a Thursday at one o’clock, I will. If I feel that your time, money, and energy are better spent on another opportunity, I will tell you.

    I’m not tied to any estate agents, surveyors, or solicitors. And therefore, you can rest assured that any advice and guidance I give is not biased in any way. So many companies I come across put forward people’s names and suggestions, but actually behind the scenes, they’re getting a monetary reward for it. At Alex Goldstein and Associates Property Consultants, we don’t do any of that, it’s only ever looking in your best interest.

    It might sound a bit cliche, however, it’s actually true. If I can do this, then you are more likely to recommend me, and I have given you true value to your property needs.


    Why Choose Alex Goldstein Property Consultants?

    May 2015
  • I’d like to tell you a bit more about how I can help you sell your property. The number of clients I actually see who have got their heads in a spin, they’ve taken advice from three or four agents, they’ve looked online, they’ve got the media talking to them, and friends and family of course are going to be an influence. And the other side of the coin is I see clients who have been on the market for six months, a year. I had one the other week, three years in the market. And they just didn’t know where they’d gone wrong. This is where I can help.

    So I go in and advise clients on how to maximize the value of their property. And this can be through getting planning permission, outline all be it, advising on cosmetics, lighting and presenting the property to its absolute best. Thereafter I give thoughts on marketing strategy, photographs, and also which is the most appropriate agent, because after all, how do you choose the agents? With my experience, you get to know the agents. And I know most of them on sort of personal terms. You know what some agents are very good at, and what others are by comparison. So after we have run through the most appropriate course of action, we invite said agent out to give his thoughts, combined with my own to get the very best ideas out for you, so we start heading in the right direction. The agent comes on board and once a week I ring the agent for 30 seconds, no more, and I just say, “What’s going on with this property?” I know what he means, we speak the same language, and half an hour spent with you I can run through exactly what is going on with your sale, what it actually means, and if with my experience I can see a problem, we can tackle it head on. So if we need to fine-tune the website or cosmetically tweak the price, we can agree between ourselves and go and tell the agent just to get on with it. So all of a sudden, you are speaking weekly with your agent, you’re being proactive with your sale, and you will find the very best answer. The key to the service, the appointed estate agent pays my fee, not you, the house seller, and it’s exactly the same commission rate, exactly the same terms of business that you would normally have with that agent, it just happens that he gives me a cut of the commission. So the end of the day I add value to your sale without the cost.

    Alex Goldstein – Property Selling Service

    May 2015
  • Alex Goldstein – Property Buying Service

    I’d like to tell you more about my buying service. I often get telephone calls from individuals saying, “We’re fed up with the estate agents. They’re not taking us seriously. We’re in a good position. We’re always the last to know about property, or we’re finding ourselves constantly getting gazumped.”

    I’ve got 13 years of experience, and I really have seen it all, and my primary role is to give you the inside track on property and to get you to the very front of the queue so you are the first to know, and it puts you in pole position. So how does the whole structure work?

    Initially, I meet with you, and we would run through, in detail, your criteria and requirements. I would then go away and just do an initial search. And what I always try to do, at that point, is actually take you slightly out of your comfort zone and just fully test the criteria so that we know that we are heading along the right track. And once we’ve fine-tuned that, then we arrange however many viewing days it takes, and it’s quite often I say to clients, “Look, it’s best to have five or six viewings in a day, absolutely no more, because then you just can’t quite sort of remember it all.” We evaluate all the properties that we’ve seen, and when we do find the right answer, I will help you with some great advice, negotiate on your behalf, and just make sure that the whole process runs very smoothly, indeed, to exchange.

    Once you’ve completed, my service doesn’t stop there, and I offer what I call ‘post-purchase care’. And all this very simply is, most people, when you buy a property, want to do something to it and make your own mark. So what I do is, I will give you and hand over my trusted tradespeople. I get nothing for it, but if you need a great decorator, or a roofer, or a joiner, I know the right people and I will put you in touch, just to make your life more simple.

    Alex Goldstein – Property Buying Service

    May 2015
  • Today I’d like to tell you a bit more about myself and my background. I actually started my career as an estate agent, and I was an agent for about the last 13 or so years for some of the biggest names in the industry. I actually started with Cluttons, which is a very large sort of international residential property firm, and I started at their Oxford City market. And after a year, I was then promoted and went to the Country House team. And at that point it was a very specialist department and we were actively involved with multi-million pound sales anywhere in the country. Big focus was at that time [inaudible 00:00:45] counties, but interestingly linked in a lot with a lot of the regional offices and helped them get the higher value properties and was very successful at it and did it for a very good number of years. I then moved to Sutton Park in Harrogate, where I was involved again with country properties and [inaudible 00:01:05] with them started more on the town and urban market. I then moved to Knight Frank and, again, solely concentrated on gaining sort of town urban properties for them. Left all of that and the corporate world behind me a couple of years ago having spotted an opportunity, and I set up Alex Goldstein & Associates Property Consultants because every time I went to see an individual that was looking to sell their property they would say, “Alex, look, really like you, we’ve seen three other agents, but what is the difference? What are we actually buying into?” And often found that a lot of agents, you…under pressure to get just properties on your books, and you’re not necessarily give clients the best interest. So I now on the other side of the fence and aim to hold people’s hands through what a very stressful life experience. So if you feel I can help, do feel free to give me a call and we can catch up.

    Alex Goldstein Property Consultants Background

    May 2015
  • Alex: Alex Goldstein, pleased to meet you.

    Trevor: Nice to meet you.

    Alex: Trevor, who wants to sell up, is showing off his wing of the castle.

    Trevor: Let me just show you. On this side, opposite the lake, we’ve got the two floors.

    Alex: Another storm is brewing.

    Trevor: This road, they created, you see. I mean, this road wasn’t there.

    Estate Agent 1: Right.

    Trevor: And there was a lovely hedge along here which was 30 feet high, which got cut down by mistake.

    Estate Agent 1: By mistake?

    Trevor: Yes, a mulberry hedge, lovely, 30-foot high, all the way along here. Come and say hello to Tom. It won’t do any harm.

    Alex: The two gentlemen are estate agents from London. Trevor wants to sell up and move as soon as possible, but there is an unresolved issue. The garden that went with the south wing is now part of Tom’s World Garden.

    Trevor: I think we do have to get our heads together, you know.

    Tom: Okay.

    Trevor: I mean, what these gentlemen are doing, which is selling the south wing for me, is going to fall flat on its face if we still, you know, haven’t sorted out all these things that need sorting.

    Tom: Yeah, yeah. Hi, great to meet you. Brilliant. I mean, I’m surprised. Yeah.

    Alex: In London, Trevor’s top firm of estate agents are discussing the garden problem.

    Estate Agent 2: Now, the bit that we do need to think through very carefully is this worry in aspect, in relation to the garden. Do you agree?

    Estate Agent 1: Oh, absolutely. You cannot go to market with a problem along those sort of lines.

    Estate Agent 2: We must get this agreed with the Hart-Dykes. Marketing that wing without a garden, I mean, I think it would be virtually unsaleable.

    Alex: But, with an alternative garden, what can Trevor expect to get for the south wing?

    Estate Agent 2: So five bedrooms, two bathrooms, three good reception rooms, what are our thoughts on the guide prices of the whole thing to start with?

    Estate Agent 1: Really, it’s in excess of a million.

    Estate Agent 2: Offers in excess of a million.

    Estate Agent 1: I think it’s definitely got to be that exact figure.

    Estate Agent 2: A realistic guide price, and then let the market tell us exactly, really, what it’s worth.

    Alex: Trevor’s estate agents have been busy marketing his wing of Lullingstone Castle, which is up for sale. This morning, Trevor’s firm of top estate agents is showing him the fruits of an intensive marketing campaign to find a buyer for the south wing.

    Estate Agent 2: You’ll see that we’ve got an advertisement in there at the bottom.

    Trevor: Oh, yeah. Oh, there we are. Lovely.

    Estate Agent 1: It’s almost a double-impact, really.

    Trevor: It catches the eye. Yeah, I think you’re right.

    Estate Agent 2: Now, of course, tomorrow, Trevor, we’ve got the weekend “Telegraph”, the full property supplement on Saturday.

    Trevor: Right, right.

    Estate Agent 2: We’ve got a “Country Life” editorial, may well be today or next week, but early days. Don’t let’s preempt and prejudge it. It think there’s one other point, Trevor, we just thought of. It was just whether it would be worth sending a brochure to the other members who live in the other wings and portions of the Castle.

    Trevor: I certainly don’t really want to send one to the Hart-Dykes. They’re not going to move here.

    Alex: Meanwhile, the Hart-Dykes’ neighbor in the south wing has something to celebrate. Finally, the legal loose ends are tied up, and Trevor is moving out and saying goodbye to Lullingstone after 30 years.

    Return to Lullingstone Castle on BBC2

    April 2015
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