James King Estates getting you market ready


At James King Estates  our focus is to work with you to maximise the value of your property, rather than just selling or let it.  Below are some of the ways we increase the potential sales or letting value of your property.

Please contact us on 01784 819 114 for an informal chat to discuss maximising the value of your property.



Interior Design Pointers

* Determine your style

*Figure out what you don’t like

*Build around your space

*Sample your paint

*Mix high and low price points

*Start from the ground up


Exterior Design Pointers

*Look for a good shape

*Planning permission / Permissible development


*Loft conversions

*Building regulations

*Budget Disruption



Feel free to contact us to arrange a visit to your property. This can also be done via a Zoom call. Please contact us to arrange on 01784 819114 or simply email us at info@jameskingestates.com.



Decluttering & Depersonalisation


10 Creative Decluttering Tips

If you’re struggling and need guidance on how to declutter, you’ll need to get creative with your plans. Here are several interesting decluttering tips to get you started on decluttering your home:

Start with 5 minutes at a time. If you’re new to decluttering, you can slowly build momentum with just five minutes a day.

Give one item away each day. This would remove 365 items every single year from your home. If you increased this to 2 per day, you would have given away 730 items you no longer needed. Increase this number once it gets too easy.

Fill an entire trash bag. Get a trash bag and fill it as fast as you can with things you can donate with goodwill.

Donate clothes you never wear. To identify them, simply hang all your clothes with hangers in the reverse direction. After wearing an item, face the hanger in the correct direction. Discard the clothes you haven't touched after a few months.

Create a decluttering checklist. It’s a lot easier to declutter when you have a visual representation of where you need to get started. You can use our decluttering checklist.

Take the 12-12-12 challenge. Locate 12 items to throw away, 12 to donate, and 12 to be returned to their proper home.

View your home as a first-time visitor. It’s easy to “forget” what your home looks like to a new visitor. Enter your home as if you’re visiting the home of a friend. Write down your first impression on how clean and organised the home is and make changes.

Take before and after photos of a small area. Choose one part of your home, like your kitchen counter top and take a photo of a small area. Quickly clear the items in the photo and take another photo. Once you see how your home could look, it becomes easier to start decluttering your home.

Get help from a friend. Have a friend or family member go through your home and suggest a handful of big items to throw away or give to someone else. If you defend the item and want to keep it, your friend has to agree with your reason. If they don’t agree, it’s time to get rid of it.

Use the Four-Box Method. Get four boxes and label them: trash, give away, keep, or re-locate. Enter any room in your home and place each item into one of the following boxes. Don’t skip a single item, no matter how insignificant you may think it is. This may take days, weeks or months, but it will help you see how many items you really own and you’ll know exactly what to do with each item.

No matter which decluttering tip you choose to get started – whether it be one of these ten or one of countless others – the goal is to take your first step in decluttering your life with a feeling of excitement.

There is a beautiful world of freedom and fresh breath hiding behind that clutter. Deciding how to declutter your home is up to you.



Obtaining a higher yield on your rental


What is rental yield?

In short, rental yield is the profit you get when you rent a property to a tenant. It’s calculated by dividing your annual rental income by the total value of the property. The total value includes the initial purchase price, plus any improvement costs you’ve already amassed or will expect to in the future.

Yield can be calculated as gross or net. Gross rental yield does not include typical running costs and this is what mortgage lenders usually refer to.

What buy-to-let yield should I aim for?

Rental yields can vary widely throughout the country and even in the same location. You’ll need to be earning at least enough to cover your outgoings and ideally sufficient to accumulate an emergency fund to take care of any unexpected expenses should they arise.

Average rental yields for 2019 stood at 4.5 per cent for the UK in general and at 4.1 per cent for London, according to Kent Reliance.

8 ways to increase rental yield

The financial requirements of an individual property and the specific market features will help you work out what to expect. Generally though, there are various ways in which you can grow your return on investment and boost your buy to let yield. Let’s take a look.

1. Review your rent. Increasing the rent you charge your tenants is the most obvious way to increase your rental yield, although it’s not always the most commercially viable way forward. You’ll really need to consider whether an increase can be justified.

If the local market makes it feasible, or you have recently made improvements to your property, then it might just work out. But you don’t want to put your current or future tenants off by pricing your property out of the market.

James King Estates will help you set a reasonable value on your rental rate. Keeping up with local developments is also a good idea. Investment in local transport, new schools and amenities will all make an area more desirable, which will support higher rental rates.

If you have already set your rental rate and your tenant has signed, it’s not usually possible to increase it, but a rent review clause in your tenancy agreement will allow you to propose increases at set intervals.

2. Examine expenses. A review of your expenses can often have a significant impact upon your bottom line as a landlord.

Start by looking at all those things that tend to auto-renew without you giving them a second thought. Whilst you may feel you’re too busy to shop around for better deals, a little time invested can really make a difference to your profit margins. Insurance is a prime example; there are so often many better deals out there that could lead to considerable and sometimes surprising savings, so it is well worth setting aside some time each year ahead of your renewal dates to see what you can achieve.

It’s also worth looking at your buy to let mortgage. New products are constantly being introduced that could net you some savings or at least provide you with more flexibility. Shop around is the key message here.

3. Update and upgrade. Higher specification properties always tend to command a greater rental rate, which will have a positive effect on your yield. What’s more, a freshly updated home is more likely to attract a better class of tenant who will keep the property in good condition, meaning less outlay when the tenancy ends. Void periods are usually also reduced when a property is decorated and maintained to a higher than average standard.

4. Extend your property. If you have the space, adding a bedroom to your rental property usually means you can charge a higher rental rate. There are various ways to add a bedroom. You could extend outwards if you have sufficient space, or upwards into the loft if that’s a viable option. If extending isn’t feasible or desirable, or the numbers just don’t work out when you look at investment versus return, there are easier ways of creating another bedroom to your property that you may wish to consider.

Some properties have more than one living room for example, which could be converted into a bedroom. If you have a particularly large master bedroom on the other hand, it could be worth thinking about splitting it into two separate rooms.

5. Consider an HMO. A house with multiple occupation (HMO) is worth considering if you really want to maximise your profit as a landlord. More tenants means more rent, so if you can handle the legal, licensing and practical aspects this could be the ideal way to boost your rental yield.

Whilst initial investment for an HMO is likely to be quite a bit higher than for a standard property and tenant turnover is usually higher, the potentially higher return over time is definitely worth looking into. Between 2010 and 2014, HMOs delivered an average return of equity (ROE) of 108 per cent over four years, compared to 77 per cent for regular buy to let properties.

6. Welcome pets. 78 per cent of tenants struggle to secure pet friendly accommodation, so a property that welcomes pets could be a property that attracts long term tenants and one that can command higher rental rates.

Whilst you’ll need to take steps to make your property pet-friendly, such as installing higher fences and secure gates, swapping carpet for hard, durable flooring and going unfurnished the fact that you are a landlord who is willing to accept tenants with pets could really make you stand out in the marketplace.

7. Go long term. The highest rental yields for regular properties tend to be those associated with long term lets. Void periods can make a serious dent in your yield, but a long term tenant will help sidestep too many of these and the costs associated with trying to find new tenants.

Building relationships is good practice. A happy tenant will want to stay put for longer, so if you’ve found yourself a good one, be sure to keep them onside by responding quickly to any requests for repairs, being fair about any alterations they wish to make and staying flexible in times of need.

Yield is what it’s all about as a landlord, it’s the bottom line. Maximising it is possible but obviously it depends on what you are able and prepared to invest.

8. Reduced student contract with short term contract buffering. James King Estates can guide you through this transition with the experience gained using this approach. For more details please contact us on 01784 819114 or email us at info@jameskingestates.com

9. Property marketing services. James King Estates can offer you a host of property marketing services that will enable your property to stand out from the crowd. For more information please visit our property marketing services page.



Maximising the value of your home for sale


1. Convert your cellar - Potential value added: up to 30%

Transforming an existing cellar into a living or storage space can boost a property’s value by up to 30 per cent – so long as the build cost per square foot is less than the price per square foot of the area.
In fact, converting your cellar can be one of the least complex home improvements to make as it qualifies as a ‘change of use’ for planning purposes – which means you don’t need planning permission. If you’re making structural changes to a listed building, however, you’ll need to talk to your local planning officer.

Don’t have a cellar? Dig down to add square footage to your home – bearing in mind that building a basement calls for the skills of specialists, from excavation and structural engineering to waterproofing. Get the right team on board from the start to make sure your project doesn’t generate future problems.

2. Split a house into flats - Potential value added: 30%

Converting a house into flats is popular in London, where flats are in high demand and often easier to rent out. Splitting a property into separate units can therefore maximise rental income in the short term and profit on sale in the long term.

But before you begin a project, do some research to check that there’s a demand for flats in your area. If three-bedroom properties aren’t shifting but smaller flats are conversion could be a good option.

3. Convert your garage to living space - Potential value added: 15%

If your garage isn’t being used to house a car, it could make sense to convert it into a living space – especially if you have parking space outside.

Your first step should be to check that your garage is suitable for conversion and whether you need planning permission. In many cases, the work involved in converting a garage will be classed as permitted development, so you won’t need planning permission, but always check with your local planning authority.

A garage conversion is always subject to building regulations to ensure it’s structurally sound. You can use your local council’s building control service or an approved independent inspector, who will make several visits during the conversion to check that key areas (such as drainage, electrics, walls and the roof) comply with regulations.

4. Extend the kitchen with a side-return extension - Potential value added: 15%

A side return is a narrow alley that runs adjacent to the kitchen in a typical terraced or semi-detached house. Extending the kitchen into the side return and to the full width of the rest of the house means you gain valuable space and can also improve the layout.

A single-storey side-return extension will usually be classed as a permitted development, provided you meet certain limits and conditions. For example, it must be no more than 4m high and no wider than half the width of the original house.

You’ll still have to comply with building regulations and work will be inspected at key stages of the build either by the local authority building department or by an approved independent inspector. Once your extension is finished, and presuming it’s deemed to comply with the regulations, you’ll be given a completion certificate.

If you’re thinking about a side-return extension, remember you could lose windows and the light they bring in. Roof lights over the extension will fix this, or you could install a partially or fully glazed roof to keep the space light and airy.

5. Loft conversion to add a bedroom - Potential value added: 15%

An extra bedroom can add up to 15 per cent to the value of your home, especially if it’s a loft conversion with an en suite bathroom. Most lofts can be converted, but it’s worth getting an architect or builder to double check before you start.

Once you start planning, you’ll need to get to grips with the types of conversions available. Options range from a roof light conversion, which needs the least amount of structural work and so is the most cost-effective, to a more expensive mansard conversion. Here, one or both slopes of the roof are replaced with a new structure with steeper sides and an almost flat roof.

Mansard conversions generally need planning permission, but the majority of loft conversions are considered a permitted development. Check with your local planning authority as there are some complex rules: for example, you need to apply for planning permission if you want to extend your roof space by more than 50m3 (40m3 for terraced housing).

6. Increase living space with a conservatory - Potential value added: up to 10%

If you want to feel closer to nature, a fully glazed conservatory will merge indoors with outdoors. To get started, think how you want to use the space and whether a modern or traditional style will be best for your home and lifestyle.

The biggest part of your conservatory will be the glass, so explore your options carefully. While double glazing is the minimum standard permitted by building regulations, there is a whole host of glazing options available, including solar control glass and self cleaning glass. Again, think about which will suit your lifestyle and your home.

There are also options to consider when it comes to the frame. The material you choose will directly affect the performance of the conservatory – uPVC, timber and aluminium frames all have different qualities, so do your research and ask experts for advice.

Adding a conservatory to your house is considered to be permitted development provided you meet various limits and conditions, but don’t forget that building regulations are a separate matter. The majority of conservatories are exempt but there are circumstances when you will need to make an application. For example, if you want to remove the doors or wall linking the conservatory to your house, you’ll have to prove that your conservatory is as energy efficient as the rest of the house.

If you already have a conservatory, you can add value by adding a tiled roof. This transforms it into a room you can use all year round.

7. Apply for planning permission - Potential value added: up to 10%

If you’re thinking of buying a property and adding to its value through extensions or major improvements, check whether you’re likely to get planning permission. After all, yield calculations based on a bigger square footage are worthless if you can’t get it.

8. Kerb and garden appeal - Potential value added: up to 10%

Garden space is limited in London, so if you’ve got it, make sure you’re making the most of it, especially when you’re planning to sell. A deck or patio can transform a garden into an entertaining space and when designed as an additional room, a summer house can also add to the property value.

First impressions are essential, so if you’re selling, give your home some kerb appeal by with a lick of paint, a new door and shining ironmongery. Tidy up the garden by mowing the lawn and sweeping up leaves.

9. Get a new bathroom - Potential value added: 3-5%

A new bathroom will certainly increase the value of your property – but it can be an expensive investment. Fortunately, it’s possible to make updates on a budget.

To keep the price down, keep your existing layout. Moving sanitaryware might mean relocating soil pipes and water inlets, which will add to your costs. If you're planning to update your shower enclosure then framed enclosures tend to be cheaper than frameless models. Choose an exposed shower rather than a concealed model: these cost more to install because the pipes will need to be chased into the wall.

Similarly, wall-hung sanitaryware is generally pricier than floor-mounted versions. This is because the cisterns and brackets will need to be concealed within the walls. Save even more money by choosing a bathroom suite rather than purchasing individual pieces. And finally, keep an eye out for seasonal sales.

10. Make the living area open-plan - Potential value added: 3 to 5%

You can transform your home and save on the cost of an extension by knocking down the wall that separates your kitchen and living room. This can be a DIY job or one for which you’ll need to call in the professionals: it all depends on whether the wall is load bearing. If it is, taking it down without professional help could prove disastrous.

If knocking down an internal wall isn’t an option, you could consider a rear or side extension. Although this can be costly and time-consuming, it’ll give you exactly the space you want as well as adding potential value to your home.