There has been a lot of uncertainty in the country since the recent referendum result. Scaremongers have suggested that the housing market faces an inevitable downturn.

Whilst the current climate may well lead to some wobbles in the short term, there is no firm evidence to indicate that prices will fall dramatically. The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, has himself described such talk as an “exaggeration”.

The Government is investigating introducing a ban on gazumping, a practice which causes an estimated 200,000 house sales to fall through every year.

Gazumping happens when someone selling a property verbally accepts an offer from a purchaser but subsequently accepts a higher offer from a third party. A property sale in England is not legally binding until contracts for the sale and purchase have been exchanged. Before this happens a prospective purchaser will need to have local authority searches carried out, had a survey of the property, organised a mortgage if required and will also have incurred legal fees.

Gloucester Council have said recently that they are considering fining Estate Agents that leave Sold or Let By boards on properties for too long. So what is the legal standpoint regarding these boards and how long is ‘too long’?

The relevant piece of legislation is The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations and it makes four main stipulations:

How important is a south-facing garden? It is a long-held belief that it is a great advantage when selling a home but in a survey by insurance company Direct Line it was found to add, on average, just £800 to the value of a property.

The Guardian recently asked Kirstie Allsopp, the television presenter best known for her property shows such as Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location, what she felt were the top five myths about adding value to a property.

There is some good news, at last, for first time buyers. The government has introduced a brand new savings scheme to help buyers put together a deposit to buy their first home.

The savings plan is known as a Help to Buy ISA and under it the government will boost savings by 25% to help first time buyers get on the property ladder. That means for every £4 saved, the government will contribute a further £1.

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