The Alex Goldstein Property Show (Part 1)

November 2019

The Alex Goldstein Property Show with StrayFM (Part 1) – a fast paced educational podcast aimed at giving you the inside track when it comes to buying or selling your home!

The Alex Goldstein Property Show (Part 1)

Full transcript below:

Alex: Welcome to the Alex Goldstein Property Show. I’m 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 or selling your home. If you have an interest in the local or national property market and the associated professions within 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 in it 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. In this months show we will begetting the inside track from the current owner of the very impressive Hellifield Peel Castle near Skipton. This was built by one of the last templar knights and just to give you an idea of the calibre of this property, it was feature very heavily on Kevin McClouds Grand Designs television programme. We will also be getting to grips with property photography as part our property hospital section plus we will also be putting Andrew Kempston-Parks, Harrogate based Chartered Surveyor in the property hot seat to get a glimpse into his world. We also have the Alex Goldstein top tips but before all of that we go straight into the property news.

This month’s big news is the new stamp duty regulations affecting second-home property purchases in the UK. Now this was tipped off in the winter budget by George Osbourne and came into effect last night the 31 March. No what this means is there is a 3% surcharge on the overall purchase price for any additional property that is purchased. This is paid on top of the regular stamp-duty. So, what this means now is that any additional property purchase, say for example at 400,000 you would now have to pay £22,000 in stamp duty and this is versus £10,000 before these new rules came in. Now the media and a lot of people say this is great news, it’s an additional tax for the wealthier individuals and investors that can afford it, plus of course it’s an easy income generator for the ex-chequer. Just argue whether this is all good news, and whilst it’s too early to tell why thoughts are that by effectively outing an immediate squeeze on a buy-to-let investment market the chancellor could run the high risk of instantly cutting off the supply of rental properties to tenants. There’s a lack of supply, demands going to go up and if that’s the case rental figures per month per tenant are going to increase. Now if that happens, tenants are going to be paying more for their rental so how are you going to save to buy your first home. Now I appreciate the chancellor has introduced the lifetime ISA, he’s increased the ISA budget in terms of annual limit, however left-over money at the end of each month you might not have because you’ve got higher rental. Are we actually solving the house ownership problem? The other flip side of the coin of course has been from investors, they’ve had a panicked buying frenzy since January trying to exchange on properties prior to the deadline of 31 March. In turn this has actually caused a price spike in certain parts of the country, especially in London and now when we’re well into April I think you’re going to see house prices in these areas start to come down again. As an investor you should always look at the bigger picture. Do the opposite to the market, don’t panic and wait to see what happens and do bare in mind the 3% stamp duty surcharge, it’s one-off payment. Compare this to the capital increase on your property value over the course of the year and the course of ownership and you’ll probably find it’s not so bad after all.

Very excited indeed to welcome Francis Shaw who is the current owner of Hellifield Peel Castle near Skipton onto our inside knowledge section. Francis thank you so much for coming here. Just to give people an insight into Hellifield Peel, just give us an idea of the history of the property, because it’s absolutely fantastic.

Francis: Thanks Alex. Yes, Hellifield Peel is the only Templar Knights castle in the country and it dates from round about the 14th century. It’s obviously had a very chequered history, been through civil wars being attacked by marauding Scots on holiday after the Battle of Bannockburn and it has been sadly was a ruin for many years which was how we got involved in looking at it. I first saw it as a child up on holiday in Scotland before we emigrated to the Middle East and it sort of burned a hole in my brain for many years, even though I’m pushing 53 I’m only 7 in mental age, and obviously desperately wanted to live in a castle through most of my life so it was a wonderful opportunity and we moved up here to work and live in Yorkshire and this was really just a great opportunity for me.

Alex: When does the castle actually date back to?

Francis: The castle itself was built in 1305 but actually it dates, there are earlier structures on the site that go back to the seventh century. So, the first building was a Saxon hall, manor house and then there was a tower built in the 12th century which was built to fend off wolves apparently. The locals complained to King Athelstan that they were being eaten by wolves, but it took about four hundred years before King John actually allowed it to be built. And there aren’t any wolves left so it obviously worked.

Alex: And this has to be one of the most stand out ancient monuments really of North Yorkshire, I don’t know of any other property that dates back that far surely within the region.

Francis: There are a series of castles around but certainly it’s the only Knights Templar one and it is we believe the longest lived in site in Yorkshire. There are many claims, but this goes back to round about 650 ad we believe.

Alex: Absolutely incredible, incredible stuff and obviously I think everyone emulates to live in a castle at some point in their lives. But talk us through how do you get to grips with the planning and the planners on such a project? I know you mentioned it was sort of derelict when you first bought it, how do you start a project on that sort of scale?

Francis: Well you need an awful lot of optimism and also as I say if you have the mental age of 7, you don’t tend to worry about any issues. The reality is the building was falling to bits and it was just about to collapse on it’s ears and anyone that’s seen the Grand Designs programme will realise that the wall that collapsed in the middle was as a result of how bad the building had got into, so we had a lot of, there was a lot of good will and support. So, the key issues with it was the schedule ancient monument which is the granddaddy of all planning is basically if you’ve got a grade listed system which takes you from 2 star and one listed and basically above that is a schedule ancient monument and it’s quite an onerous task, lots of drawing, surveys, all the information that’s necessary to get it through. That’s a legal requirement so you can’t contend that, but English Heritage who are now Heritage England, were very supportive through the process and it took about just over 4 months to get it through planning and schedule ancient monument consent.

Alex: I know I think I that’s very good timing indeed given I think some people experience much longer even just with a simple house extension at times, so I think you’ve done extremely well. And I know you mentioned the Grand Designs television programme with of course Kevin McCloud, what an incredible opportunity to have him. What was it like having the television crew there and I don’t know what Kevin’s like to work alongside as well?

Francis: Well Kevin’s a lovely guy, he’s really into conservation so this is a project that really caught his imagination and he came to quite a few more of the visits than you would normally go to. Obviously, the Grand Designs process filming is quite invasive, you have to be quite honest about you know expenses, costs and building times and programmes. Some people find that quite a challenge, but we have a lovely record of it, so you know we’ve restored many houses over the years and we’ve got some photographs in a box in the attic somewhere, whereas this we’ve got a lovely record of our time with Grand Designs and watching the build evolve before our eyes.

Alex: The level of detail you’ve gone into Francis on the property is nothing short of extraordinary, it’s absolutely incredible and just to give people a descriptive sort of flavour of what Hellifield Peel currently sort of shows in terms of the accommodation, is there any way you could sort of describe to people what the current accommodation post all the Grand Designs is?

Francis: Ok, well the house itself is effectively 7,200 square foot of accommodation over four floors and its sort of quite neatly contained around a rather lovely staircase. We have seven bedrooms and two sitting rooms and there’s a dining room, lovely farm house kitchen and then a self-contained attic at the top, which is about 1,000 square foot with a kitchen and its own bedroom, sitting room and bathroom and a terrace which is south facing looking over the Dales. It works very nicely as a home and obviously wen we did the works we sadly ran out of money and we’ve been doing bed and breakfast for the last seven or eight years and it’s worked quite nicely because we hardly impact on guests coming, so it’s spacious enough to house sort of five couples in there without you feeling them running into them all the time.

Alex: Absolutely and I have been fortunate enough to go there. The views from the castle are just incredible, absolutely amazing its sat in what about two acres if memory serves me well?

Francis: That’s right it’s sat in registered parkland, so it’s sat in the Dales on the outskirts of Hellifield in a valley and you can look across and you can see into Lancashire, which may upset a few folks, but you can see the Witch’s Hill, Pendle Hill quite clearly on the horizon which looks magnificent.

Alex: What was so impressive about it and what’s so rare nowadays is that as you approach you go through the gate you’re actually a high up and you’ve got this treeline drive way sweeping down, as you said Francis into the valley, you just look down onto the castle and you’d never know it was there, I mean it really is quite something. Obviously, an amazing opportunity to be involved on the Grand Designs television programme, I dare say with exposure such as that it must have been a fantastic sort of spin-off opportunity for you.

Francis: Yes, with the Grand Designs actually was wonderful because obviously as I’ve said we run out of money at the end of the project, so we had to really think of inventing ways of using the house and we done B&B on a small scale at our last property, and this just took off like we never imagined, but also it had a huge influence on me as an architect. I was approached by a lot of private clients to do properties for them and I was able to set up my own business which we have Shaw and Jagger in Harrogate and we’ve been going now for five years.

Alex: Fantastic, so if you need a castle you now know where to go.

Francis: That’s right yeah, we’ve fortunately done several castles in the meantime. We’ve just finished one up in Scotland, Mingary Castle which is opposite Mull on the highlands.

Alex: Beautiful spot. I think you sort of mentioned you’re looking at selling up as well. You’re giving up the baby in the project, any reason why?

Francis: Well the main reason is mixture of moving closer to my wife’s family, also I wanted to build a Roman villa for many years, so this is my opportunity to. Fortunately, I have a very understanding wife.

Alex: Hellifield quite honestly, I think if Hellifield Peel is anything to go by I think everyone is going to be astonished to see what you do with that, so I think it’s all to look forward to. And talk us through, your about to, well I think you are actually on the open market at the moment.

Francis: Yes, that’s right we’re on with Carter Jonas, Tony Wright at Carter Jonas is selling the property for us and we’re very excited to have them on board because they’re a great team.

Alex: And so, I think anyone listening if you want to get an insight into Hellifield Peel do look it up online but one of the most impressive properties I think this region has to offer and I can’t thank you enough Francis for coming on the show I really do appreciate it.

In the property hospital I aim to solve your property problems and woes so do feel free to get in touch with me on Twitter, my handle is @AlexOGoldstein or indeed drop me a line on email We’ve got a very interesting question from Tom this week and one that is often come up against let’s hear what he’s got to say.

Tom: Hi Alex, just about to put my house on the market, I live just outside of Ilkley, had an estate agent round, have taken some photos, not 100% sure that they do my house justice. Just wondering your thoughts on that?

Alex: Yeah, it’s something that’s often come up against and I feel that whenever you come to sell your property, the one really worthwhile investment is in professional photography. Now, of course estate agents can be enough, they’re very often trained, they’ve got good camera kit, however, it’s worth spending a small amount of money just on someone that specialises in this. First impressions are absolutely paramount, after all these guys have lighting kits, they’ve got wide-angled lenses, not the ones that distort properties and the dimensions of the room, it’s about portraying. Remember you’re going from a 3D down to a 2D dimensional brochure. Again, photographers know how to get the best out of Photoshop and it’s about playing with lighting and colours. Do remember the new upcoming area is elevated photography so this is a camera on top of a telescopic pole and the cameraman, the photographer can walk around your gardens to get the best shot. Remember if you are going for this it’s always best to have a slightly oblique angle, a very gentle angle coming down on the property if you’ve got land or outbuildings or it’s quite a difficult shot to talk from the ground. What you don’t want is something way up high and you’re doing a sort of birds-eye view down the other angle is of course drone photography. The photographer does have to now have a special license, but it really is incredible what you can do, whether it’s still images with a drone or indeed you can do the full video virtual tour starting from outside and flying down, then actually walking through the house. So, do get your photography absolutely bang on right. You will stand right ahead of the competition in the market and your sale will just go that much more further. I hope that’s of some use to you.

Voiceover: The Property Hot Seat

Andrew: Andrew Kempston-Parks

Voiceover: Business?

Andrew: Kempston-Parks Chartered Surveyors

Voiceover: Time in property?

Andrew: I’ve been a chartered surveyor since 1999, became professionally qualified in 1997 and I’ve been working in the property industry for over 25 years.

Alex: Andrew thank you for being in the hot seat today, just to get straight into it just talk through because I think there is a lot of confusion about the different types of survey out there can you just give us a quick summary of those types please?

Andrew: Certainly, at Kempston-Parks Chartered Surveyors we offer three levels of different inspection and report, mortgage valuation or open market valuation, normally used for a bank or building society, used to confirm value on the property, mainly foreign institutions lending policy, they can also be used for matrimonial kind of probate, inheritance tax, capital gains tax purposes. Then we have home buyer report suitable for any property built after about 1880/1890 of traditional construction and that hasn’t been significantly altered or extended. And then building survey for properties that are older perhaps grade 2 listed non-traditional construction or where there have been significant alterations or extensions.

Alex: And if you like that’s the Rolls-Royce version, going through everything with a fine-toothcomb.

Andrew: Yes.

Alex: Thank you. Why do you feel that people should come and why do you think they should use a surveyor in particular because I think some people perceive that it could be a waste of money? What are your thoughts on this?

Andrew: Well the bank or building society when you’re obtaining a mortgage will always send one of their panel valuers. A panel valuer will make a very cursory inspection of the property and is there simply for the lending institutions purposes. An independently commissioned survey on a property is there for your use. It will tell you all the defects in the property, put those into context and more importantly give you an informed decision as to whether or not you should proceed with the purchase or if you do proceed if there needs to be some negotiation on price.

Alex: It’s an interesting point because I think it can be a possible misconception from surveyors that s lot of homeowners get very anxious and on edge when a surveyor comes round and they always think that they are there to sort of mark the property down. How do you sort of answer that?

Andrew: Well I think you’re right Alex, there’s this conception out there that some surveyors believe it’s their god given right to condemn the house that they’re there to inspect. To put some untruths perhaps or to cover their backs but at Kempton-Park Surveyors we’re really here to help our clients, to make sure that defects are pointed out, but they’re put into context. So, for example dampness, a lot of properties built prior to 1900 will have some dampness, is that a significant problem? Well that depends on the property, type of house, so it’s about giving the client and making sure the client is aware of the defects in the property.

Alex: What are the broad range of costs because again I think it’s a common misconception that people think it’s of extraordinary cost and I don’t think its necessarily the case. I know you have ran through the different types of survey, just give people a general feel for things.

Andrew: Well if we were to take a property around half a million pounds so £500,000 a valuation on a property at that level would be £200 plus VAT, a homebuyer survey would be £635 including VAT and a building survey £1,285 including VAT.

Alex: And are you finding that the middle option, your homebuyers survey, that is probably the most used survey, because it gives you just a general overview of the property or do you find people lean towards more the lower end survey? What are your experiences of it?

Andrew: It’s about the property Alex, it isn’t about the survey being right for client, it’s about the survey being right for then particular house. So, if I go and look online when a client approaches me, and I’ve got a property that was built in 1840, it’s perhaps grade 2 listed and has been significantly altered and extended, my professional advice to the client will be a building survey, because that’s the right level of inspection and report for that house.

Alex: Just clear up because again it’s I suppose it comes around estate agents raising very often they sort of say well the surveys happening today, the valuations taking place today and I think a lot of homeowner’s gloss over that and I think they possibly need to ask the right sort of questions. Just clarify for the listeners when an agent sort of says it’s a valuation, it’s a survey, what are they actually meaning and what should the homeowner actually then ask back to the agent?

Andrew: Ok well if your estate agent says to you the surveyors coming I would always ask the pertinent question are they carrying out the mortgage valuation for the bank or building society, or is it an independent survey that’s being done? That’s a very important question. Sometimes you may get two surveyors, one who comes from the lender, the other who commissions a privately instructed survey for you.

Alex: And if you’re a homeowner is there anything you should do in advance of the building survey taking place to make sure it just goes that much more smoothly. Is there anything you’d want in terms of insider tips here for listeners?

Andrew: The important thing is to let the surveyor get on with their job. I often say to people when I arrive at their house, please carry on with your day, pretend I’m not here. Somethings that are very useful for me in making the job go smoothly are clear access into the roof void, very important that I can get my ladders up to have a good inspection of the roof. If there are any internal windows or doors that are locked, that they are unlocked. And if there are any out buildings that they are open an available for me to inspect. So those sort of things make my day go easier. Always make sure the kettles on at some point.

Alex: Yes, absolutely and I suppose on that point we have to ask because it occurs so much but embarrassing stories, you must have come across quite a few in your years of experience, seeing that you’re going around properties the whole time. Have you got anything to share at all?

Andrew: I think the one that sticks out most in my mind is a number of years ago in one of the sort of satellite towns around Leeds, I collected the keys from the estate agent, it was a mid-terraced house and always I start at the top floor with my inspection, so it was a nice spring day and I sort of bounded up the stairs, flung open the door obviously expecting the property to be empty, the naked lady sat up in bed, screamed very loudly as I turned the light on, so I turned my back and very embarrassed shouted “I’m the surveyor, I’m going to the kitchen”, where I waited for her.

Alex: That’s why you always need to check when your surveyor is coming round. Andrew really appreciate your time, thank you so much for coming on the show and if anyone needs to get hold of you, what are the best details for you?

Andrew: Best way to contact us is obviously on the phone, Harrogate 79111, website or if you search chartered surveyor Harrogate we will be one of the top links.

Alex: Fantastic thanks so much for your time.

Andrew: Pleasure, thank you Alex.

Alex: This month we are focussing on where the television personalities actually get it wrong. Now, for example they all say paint all your walls white, remove all your personal items, clear your rooms and give it a blank canvas look, however, this isn’t actually the right advice believe it or not. Firstly, most importantly it’s very difficult to photograph a blank room even dare I say with a professional photographer. Where are the features, there’s nothing to look at and if it’s all painted white it looks like a hospital. Now, ask yourself who likes going into hospitals? Of course, the answer is absolutely nobody so why would someone want to pay you to come and live in one, they don’t. Now, remember a house purchase is one of the very rare emotional purchases in life. People are buying into the lifestyle so in other words they have the photographs of the family out, the dog roaming around by the fire, and there’s the other extreme, do not have butter everywhere, it’s more a case of having clean, clear and smooth lines throughout the property. The golden rule is the more people feel at home the better your sale will go.

That’s all from the Alex Goldstein Property Show, hope you enjoyed it. More details can be found on the website or All the social media channels are all live and the next episode is available for download on 1 May. In the meantime, I’m hosting an educational talk on the hidden world of estate agents at the Majestic Hotel, more details can be found on the website or indeed drop me a line Until next time.

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