Monthly Archives: December 2015

How to get your home visitor ready

The holiday season is upon us and it’s time to prepare your home for Christmas parties, family gatherings and the inevitable surprise visitor. We understand that getting your home ready for guests is the last thing on your to do list, so we have suggested some helpful hints and tips to make your house feel like a home in no time!



The first thing your guests will see is the exterior of your property. By sweeping the front step, giving the front door a fresh lick of paint and cleaning the windows, your property will look well-kept and well presented.



Don’t let an untidy house stand in the way of a good time with guests. A quick dust and vacuum can make you feel much better about your home.



Lighting candles can be a lovely finishing touch, bathing your house in soft, flattering light, welcoming your visitors. Not to mention the wonderful aromas that fill your home, should you choose scented candles.


De clutter

You might not notice the growing piles of toys and clothes lying around your home, but your guests certainly will. Try to tidy away any clutter or trip hazards that have become permanent fixtures around the house, (we all have them!)



If you have guests arriving by car, it is important to make parking stress free, especially if your guests are staying for a long period of time. Clear the drive and make room for visitors to park easily.



As much as we love our animals, there is always that one person who won’t. Try keeping your animals in one room or the garden if the weather permits. Then you can easily let them back in if your guests are pet-friendly.



Sometimes you want to go the extra mile to make your house feel homely, especially over the holidays when visitors are inevitable. Why not brighten up your home with festive plants or a vase of fresh flowers.


Something different

If flowers aren’t your thing, try filling a vase with fairy lights for a quick and easy centre piece that won’t need watering!


Guest soaps

If your guests are staying for a while, why not treat them to their own soap. A cheap and easy way to welcome your visitors and make them feel at home.


Reading material

If you really want overnight guests to feel special, provide a selection of books and magazines that you think they may like to read, by their bed. It could be a bestseller they’re desperate to read or a magazine they can’t live without.

Have you said NO to George?

An online petition asking the government to rethink its raft of tax measures imposed on buy to let landlords this year has now comfortably exceeded the 40,000 signature mark.

As of this morning the petition has 41,430 signatories: this is still some way off the 100,000 target, which has to be met by the end of January, to oblige the government to consider some kind of debate on the measures, but is nonetheless much more successful than most online petitions of its kind.

The petition was set up by some of the campaigners behind the SayNoToGeorge website, opposing recent tax measures aimed at buy to let investors.

Back in July, at the summer Budget following the general election, the government announced that mortgage interest tax relief for buy to let homebuyers should be restricted to the basic rate of income tax, currently 20 per cent, even if they themselves pay the higher 40 or 45 per cent tax rates. Chancellor George Osborne says the relief, which will address “unfairnesses in property taxation”, will be phased out from 2017.

From next year Osborne is also proposing to change the Wear & Tear tax allowance for landlords. Currently it allows 10 per cent of rental profits to be written off for notional wear and tear, even if there has been no such actual expenditure in that particular year. However, HMRC will soon be introducing a system that enables all landlords to deduct only the costs they actually incur on replacing furnishings in the property.

In more recent weeks Osborne has announced a three per cent stamp duty surcharge on buy to let and other ‘additional home’ properties, levied at the time of purchase.

Philip Chadwick is the Lettings Director of Gascoigne Halman, and a board member of The Association of Residential Letting Agents.

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