stamp-duty

Budget 2020 - Stamp duty may be reduced to help first-time buyers

The delivery of next week’s Budget by chancellor Rishi Sunak may see changes to how stamp duty works for first time buyers. It is thought there is a possibility that stamp duty may be made lower for those purchasing homes worth £500,000 or more. 

How does stamp duty work for first-time buyers?

Currently, first-time buyers in England and Northern Ireland do not have to pay any stamp duty on the first £300,000 for a property worth up to £500,000. These buyers are then required to pay a 5% stamp duty tax on the portion between £300,000 and £500,000. If the property is worth under £300,000 then no tax is paid at all. These new stamp duty rules have been in force since 2017.

However, not all first-time buyers currently benefit from this tax exemption. This is because the exemption is not in place for those who buy a property in excess of £500,000. These buyers do not receive any stamp duty relief and are required to pay the duty in full.

As of 22 November 2017, first-time buyers who purchase a property under a Shared Ownership scheme can now also claim stamp duty relief on homes that are valued up to £500,000.

Who classifies as a first-time buyer?

A first-time buyer in the UK is someone who has never owned a freehold or had a leasehold interest in an UK or overseas residential property. This will be the first time they have made a purchase on a residential property.

It is important to be aware that if you are married and you are going to buy a property together, both need to meet the stamp duty relief requirements to get the first-time buyer exemption.

What could these potential changes mean for first-time buyers?

If the latest Budget does reveal an increase to the stamp duty exemption threshold, this could be very welcome news for first-time buyers purchasing houses in London and the South East, where house prices are higher.

A Director from GriggsHomes.co.uk commented on this possible change: "Changes to stamp duty will have a huge impact for first-time buyers and those struggling to get on the ladder. From a developer's perspective, it is very exciting knowing that demand for new builds and properties will be higher and people might have bigger budgets too, especially since stamp duty may be much lower or even abolished for first-timers buying a property under £500,000."


sublease

How to sub-let your property?

You may have heard of the term sub-letting, but what does it mean? There are some legal complications which confuse people and it is important to know what they are. It is a common belief that once you are a tenant, you can just do what you want with the property. However, this is certainly not the case.

When you are renting a property, you will likely be renting directly from a landlord who owns said property. It is equally possible to rent directly from another tenant who has rented the property from the landlord/owner. The latter is what is known as sub-letting.

In this guide on Octagon Capital will provide all the information, you will need on the topic of subletting and whether or not you will be allowed to sublet their home.

Before we get started, here are some top tips on subletting:

• Check what it says in your tenancy agreement
• In most cases, you will need to seek out permission. Therefore, you should write to your landlord explaining the situation at hand and ask if they will give you their consent to sub-let.
• Be aware that if you do not do things properly, it may lead to problems on the long-term and down the line.

What is subletting?

Subletting refers to when an existing tenant let’s all of part of their home to another person. That person is known as subtenant, and they have a tenancy for all or part of the property which is let to them. They will also have exclusive use of the accommodation that has been let to them.

For example, if it is the case that you decide to sublet your home, you are giving up possession of it. The subtenant would have exclusive use of the property and you could only enter it with their permission.

When a property is being sublet, the owner is known as the head landlord, because now there are technically two with the tenant letting to the subtenant. The tenant they rent to is called the ‘mesne’ tenant, meaning intermediate and is pronounced as ‘mean’. The mesne tenant then, of course, rents to the subtenant.

Is subletting just lodging?

This is where many people become confused, but there are differences between subletting and lodging.

A subtenant and a lodger can both rent rooms. However, a subtenant can also rent an entire property rather than just part of it. The main difference here is that a subtenant has exclusive use of their rooms and the lodger does not. The landlord will need to give their permission before they can enter the subtenant’s rooms. On the flip side, a lodgers landlord can enter the lodger's room without permission and often does so to provide services such as cleaning.

If you share some of the accommodation with your landlords such as the bathroom or a kitchen, then the rights you have are similar whether you are a subtenant or a lodger. People who share accommodation with their landlord are generally known as excluded occupiers. This is a term which is often used in the housing to help to identify your housing rights. Excluded occupiers as such have very limited rights.

What happens if you sublet your home and you are not allowed to?

You will need to seek permission before subletting all or part of your home. If you are denied permission, you are not going to be legally allowed to do so. If you do anyway, then your landlord may take action against you if they find out. For example, they may take legal action to evict you for breaking the terms of your tenancy contract.

If you are in social housing and you sublet your home unlawfully, you will be committing a criminal offence.


What are the tax rules for double glazing windows?

Double glazing has long been a major concern for landlords and those who sell it since the early 2000s. It was announced way back in the 1998 Budget that from April 2001, a concession which was to allow landlords to offset general refurbishments at their properties against tax would be eliminated.

For many households, having double glazing will mean smaller energy bills and a warmer home. In fact, 51 per of people who were surveyed in a Which? report who had double glazing said that they did buy it to make their home warmer and to reduce their energy bills by 44 per cent.

Since the abolishment, landlords have not been able to offset refurbishments against tax. Instead, they can only claim for repairs, not improvements.

Furthermore, under these new rules, landlords would be able to get tax relief for something like repairing a broken window frame. However, if that window was replaced with double glazing, this would actually be considered an improvement and therefore it would not qualify to be claimed against tax.

Change in Rules

However, a tax case had forced the Inland Revenue to change the policy surrounding double-glazing. Double glazing does not qualify for tax relief and will even be backdated in some cases.

When the rule change came in, landlords could claim for windows which had already been installed as long as they met the deadline for making changes to their self-assessment forms. Now, any double glazing installed can simply be claimed on tax.

The Revenue stated that:

"In the past, we took the view that replacing single-glazed window with double-glazed windows was an improvement and therefore capital expenditure.

But times have changed... We now accept that replacing single-glazed windows by double-glazed equivalents counts as allowable expenditure on repairs."

The change was warmly welcomed by Malcolm Harrison of the Association of Residential Letting Agents welcomed the change. He said that: "It's good news for landlords and good news for tenants."

Glazing Over

Despite such good news for landlords, finding out whether “repairs” can be offset against tax can be rather confusing still, as many of the things done to a home can be classed as a repair and an improvement.

To shed some light, Mike Warburton, a partner at accountant Grant Thornton said that the system needs to be simplified. He said:

"It is confusing to know what is and what isn't allowable under the current rules.

"I accept that if the improvement is an extension or a loft conversion it may be unreasonable.

"But the logic is that if I am repairing and upgrading part of the facilities of the house, such as the kitchen, I don't see why it should not be an allowable repair."

Can you replace double glazing yourself?

Installing new double-glazing needs to meet certain building regulations. This needs to be approved by either an installer who is registered with a Competent Person’s Scheme or by a Building Control who can verify the work themselves. Because of this, it is not really advisable to try and install double glazed windows on your own. If you are a tenant, it is best to leave it up to your landlord to sort out.


property-ladder

What will happen to house prices in 2019

2019 is the year in which Brexit is supposedly going to be finalised and many Brits are fearing for a No Deal Brexit which is sure to negatively affect many aspects of British life, including the housing market. In other words, there is much uncertainty amongst ‘remainers’ and ‘leavers’ alike to do with the state of the housing marketing going into, and during, 2019 and beyond.

According to analysts, wages and mortgage rates are going to play a huge role in the housing market in 2019, despite Brexit dominating the headlines. In 2018, the house prices remained relatively stable around the UK even with the anxiety presented by Brexit.

However, just because the average UK house price seemed to remain pretty stable, the prices do vary from better to worse across the nation. Some locations, such as the North of England and the Midlands saw strong property inflation, who London and South East reported stagnant or falling markets. Analysts predict that 2019 is going to look much the same as this. Octagon Capital investigates.

The Rising Interest Rates and Mortgage Affordability

The average British property’s value increased by £2,860 in 2018, according to the reputable property website Zoopla, a rise of just 1.02 per cent.

In Scotland, the value of the property actually saw a decent rise of 6.3 per cent. Meanwhile in Wales, there was also a rise but it was a smaller percentage of 3.98 per cent. In England, there was a measly marginal of 0.58 per cent.

In 2019, the property market is expected to follow a similar trend. Although it could be all change depending on the outcome of Brexit on March the 29thand the impact this had had and will continue to have on the British public’s ability to afford to buy a new house.

how-brexit-has-affected-house-prices

It has been forecast by Halifax that there will be a 2 to 4 per cent increase in house prices for 2019. They stated:

“Aside from the obvious political and economic uncertainty, the biggest issue for the housing market in 2019 will be the degree to which mortgage payment affordability changes.

Average pay growth is likely to gather pace but, with a further interest rate increase also predicted, house prices are unlikely to be pushed significantly in either direction.”

Interest rates were increased to 0.75 per cent by the Bank of England at the beginning of August 2018. Since, mortgage rates stayed low as building societies and banks have battled for customers.

Savills have predicted that house prices in Britain will rise by 14.8 per cent from 2019 to 2013, however, they stressed that there will be significant regional variations. The London forecast is only to see a 4.5 per cent increase, they say.

What is happening to house prices around the country?

There is a strong sense of regional variation when it comes to the UK property market. London and the South East previously strong performance has been since replaced by weakness, meanwhile, the Midlands, parts of the North and Scotland see improvement.

London saw an average drop of 1.67 per cent where a property on average now costs £653,587.

The East of England saw a fall of 0.5 per cent to £357,952, meanwhile the South East and South West both saw 0.38 per cent rises to £409,923 and £307,693 respectively.

In Scotland, the property market is booming. In fact, house prices there have risen for 27 consecutive months at this point, forecasting a 17 per cent increase in Scotland by 2022. It was Edinburgh that came out as the best city for the housing market, but other Scottish cities also did extremely well in 2018 and are predicted to do so into 2019 and beyond. It appears that there remains more confidence in the Scottish market over the likes of London.

 

 


christmas-house

How to keep your home extra safe over Christmas

You will want to keep your home secure all year round, but the Christmas period often posing an extra threat as robbers will be aware that you will have more valuable items lying around your house ready to wrap up and give on the big day.

Furthermore, you are likely to be out shopping or at a Christmas party at a time, so it is vital to keep your home extra safe around the festive period.

Something which is going to keep you safe at Christmas and the rest of the year is having a monitored security system in place. But there are also serval other things which you can do in addition to this to help to maintain the level of security in your home so that you, your family and all your valuables remain untouched.

Octagon Capital dedicates this guide to help you stay safe this Christmas with these five tips.

Don’t share your travel plans with the world

If you planning on travelling over the holiday period, make sure that you do not spread your travel plans all over the internet. Never post about where you are going, when you are going and when you will be back. This is very useful information for a thief as they will then know when your house is empty.

Even if you have the highest level of security settings on your social media, it is still not recommended as the information could get out easily – all it takes is a screenshot.

Let a neighbour know you are not home

If you have a trusted neighbour, ask them to keep an eye on your house if you do decide to go away during the Christmas period so that they can report any suspicious activity.

Ideally, it would great if you can rely on a trusted neighbour to pick up your mail while you are away and perhaps even keep your walkway free of snow.

Hide your Christmas gifts

You will want to keep all the Christmas gifts you have bought out of sight of your family anyway, you will also want to make sure that the gifts are hidden from any potential robbers.

It is appreciated that displaying beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree is great for decoration and creating that Christmassy feel in your home. However, it can act as an open invitation for burglars to enter your home and take them for themselves.

If you want to keep your gifts under a tree, make sure that the tree is away from windows or places which can easily be viewed from the outside.

Don’t forget to consider the packages which you have not yet received. It is not uncommon for thieves to intersect packages or take ones that they see left on porches. If you are not going to be in one day, you should give your delivery driver instructions to leave it in a safe place or with a neighbour that you trust to keep it safe for you.

Be careful with your Christmas lights

Statically, the most fires occur in the month of December and it has been dubbed the deadliest month for electrical fires.

Everyone loves to decorate their homes, both on the inside and on the outside. One of the most common ways of doing so is putting up lights around the house. Before you do so, make sure that you inspect the strands to make sure that there are not any frayed cords or any cracked lamps. If there are, you need to replace any cracked lamps and throw away the strands with frayed cords – this will help to keep you safe from accidental fires.

Furthermore, you should only purchase lights that have been pre tested and approved by an independent laboratory. To see if this is the case, check the packaging to seek the manufacturer's name and any more information that you require should be cleared marked.

When you go out or go up to bed, you need to make sure that you have turned off the Christmas lights. You can get lights which work on a timer or a smart outlet. This means that you are plan what time you lights come on in the day and when they turn off at night.


London

Tips for moving to London

If you are making a move to the capital, it can be a daunting thought, let alone when it actually comes around! Whether you are moving from another city or country, or you are moving from a rural area you can expect a world of wonderful things in the big city. No matter where you are coming from, there is no place like it.

To help you ease into London, we have put together a guide of things you can do to make sure you settle in in no time at all and really enjoy the capital city for what it is.

Try before you buy

Before you make the move, it may be an idea if you can get to London easily to explore different areas to see where you would feel comfortable living, whether it is buying or renting.

If you have picked an area, take time to get familiar with it. Find out where the local shops,  pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants are and maybe visit a few. It is also worth doing some research into the transport links and maybe even doing the walk from the property to your nearest tube station. The move is going to be a big change and it is better to have a sense of stability and security by the time you move in.

If you find a home that you love and want to move into quickly, but you simply do not have the time to wait for a mortgage to clear; perhaps you are starting a new job down in the city and need to clear the sale, a bridging loan may be the best option for you. A bridging loan acts to ‘bridge the gap’ between you and the mortgage until it can be paid out. You can get in touch with us for a quote by calling us up on 0333 414 1491.

Understanding the cost of living

If you are moving from anywhere in the UK to London, you will notice a considerable increase in the price of living; from housing prices and rent to the cost of a drink in a bar. You will need to be prepared for this – it may take some time getting used to it.

Interestingly, London house prices have recently fallen but the house price gap between London and the rest of the UK rises to £300,000.

The Tube

Londoners often have a love/hate relationship with the underground travel system known as the Tube. It is an extremely convenient way to get around the city but is a point of confusion for those travellers who are not regular users.

You should locate your local station and gain a clear understanding of which line or lines your station is on. The lines of the tube (with their colours) include:

  • The Northern (black)
  • The Piccadilly (dark blue)
  • The Victoria (light blue)
  • The Bakerloo (brown)
  • The Central (red)
  • Hammersmith & City (pink)
  • The Circle (yellow)
  • The District (green)
  • The Jubilee (grey)
  • Waterloo & City (turquoise)
  • The Metropolitan (purple)

Since the tube will undoubtedly be your way of getting around, you should pop down to a local post office or off-licence to buy an Oyster Card. This is used in the place of paper tickets for the bus, the tube and London-based trains. The card will cost you a one-time purchase price of £5 and from there you will be able to load money onto it at any tube station. You can also now use contactless credit or debit cards in place of an Oyster, but most people find the rates cheaper for Oyster more worthwhile.


tile-roof-solar-mounting-tips

Ways to make your property more energy efficient 

It is becoming increasingly more popular to make being energy efficient a priority in people’s lives. This includes making the home more energy efficient for the sake of the environment and in the hopes of saving a bit of cash in doing so. Both of these things are beneficial to you, your family and the world around you, so what are you waiting for?

With the colder months approaching, now is the perfect time to get on the road to checking your home is as energy efficient as it can possibly be to help keep those utility bills down this year. A survey which was conducted recently by Home Heat Helpline has found that

What can you do to make sure your home is more energy efficient? There are plenty of smaller and larger changes that you can make to ensure that you are doing it properly. In this guide on Bridging Loans, we are going to be going through the most popular and most effective ways alike to make your home the most energy efficient possible.

Insulate your Loft

A lot of heat from your home is lost from the roof, and if it is not efficiently insulated you could be practically burning money. The Department of Energy and Climate Change in the UK stated that British homes wasted around £500 million on pumping heat into their properties only for it to escape through poorly insulated walls and roofs.

With decent insulation, you could save about £160 per year on average. So this may be very worth your while in the long run.

Switch to Solar power

Solar panels in homes are becoming increasingly more popular as they can save you money and they also are very environmentally friendly. Many people

who opt for solar panels in the UK recognise that they do not work so well in the winter time so they use a combination of traditional means of energy and the solar energy during this period, which will save them a lot of cash in the process. However, it must be noted that no kind of weather can stop the panels from producing power at all – some energy will always be produced.

Solar PV panels are the most efficient. They generate energy and it is though that the average home could provide 40% of its power from these alone. On average, PV panels cost around £12,000 and last for around 30 years.

Solar energy comes at a high cost in the initial installation, but you are very likely to see a large return in the investment over the years.

Upgrade your boiler

Inefficient boilers could be racking up around £200 in additional cost to your energy bills. That means that upgrading your boiler could be a perfect way to cut down on what you are paying long term.

Keep an eye on your energy consumption

Are you aware of how much energy you are actually using and wasting? It may be wise to invest in an energy monitor, this only cost around £30 but you can actually get them for free from certain gas and electricity providers.

This will give you an idea of how much energy you are using that is really unnecessary. This can act as a wake up call and you may have the motivation to change habits such as leaving lights on and keeping the water running too long.

Research conducted by British gas highlights that having one of these monitors can help household to save as much as £110 a year simply by cutting back on how much energy they consume after becoming aware.


secured-loans

Ways to get the best rate on your mortgage

When looking to purchase a property you will more than likely need to take out a mortgage, and failing that a bridging loan if you cannot afford to wait for a mortgage to clear. When looking for a mortgage deal, obviously you will ideally want to find the best deal for you and there are ways in which you can ensure this. Recently, mortgage rates broke their respite, bouncing back after a recent slide. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged at 4.53% as of the 12th of July 2018. This is an increase from the previous weeks at 4.52%.

We have put together a list of things which you can do to help you get the best deal on your mortgage possible.

Your credit score and credit history

Getting the best rate on a mortgage starts with your credit score and your credit history. Both are a crucial part of obtaining any type of finance, including a loan, a credit card or, of course, a mortgage. Basically, the lender’s underwriting team will use your credit history and current credit score to measure how much risk you pose as a borrower, as well as the rate they are willing to offer you.

If you are unaware, your credit score essentially summarises what is in your credit report, represented by a number. The highest indicating number is 999 and the lowest is 0. You can use your credit score to understand how your credit history or report might look to a lender. With this knowledge, you can attempt to boost your credit score by doing a number of recommended things including always paying off any debts on time and in full, and not applying to too many lenders at one time.

Pay the largest deposit you can reasonably afford

This may seem strange to some, but the larger your initial deposit is, the less you will ultimately need to borrow. Furthermore, your mortgage provider will see you as less of a credit risk if you put down a larger amount at the deposit stage. In exchange for a bigger deposit, you will usually be offered a lower interest rate.

Lenders tend to offer the best deals to those who put down 40% or more. If this is unrealistic for you, you can usually find good deals with a deposit of 20%. However, if you go any lower than this, expect the interest rates to shoot up.

Shop Around

Like when looking at any type of loan, your best bet is to shop around to compare what deals are available to you. Your bank is often a starting point when thinking about taking out a mortgage. If you are already a member of the bank you approach, you may find that they offer you discounts or rewards – however – this might not always be the best deal.

It is no secret that a mortgage is one of the biggest financial commitments you may ever take out. Therefore, it is very important to do your research and not just jump on the first deal you find which looks alright.

Beware of fees

The interest rate that you receive will have a large impact of your monthly repayments as well as the overall cost of your mortgage. However, this shouldn’t be the only thing that you consider. Be aware that with a mortgage comes many fees, some which are not so explicit. In some cases, the overall cost of the fees may actually outweigh the benefits of agreeing to a mortgage with a lower interest rate.

The three most common fees are; the arrangement fee, the overpayment fee and early repayment fees.

The arrangement fee is what you will pay your lender in order to cover the administrative cost of setting the mortgage up. This fee can be upwards of £2,000.

The overpayment fees involve overpaying your mortgage. This can save you money in interest and help you to repay your mortgage sooner. It is typical that lenders will let you overpay by up to 10% of the outstanding amount each year. However, some lenders want to dissuade overpayment and put a fee in place to ensure that it is not worth it.

The early repayment fees are similar to overpayment fees in that they are in place to dissuade you from paying off your mortgage early. The reason for this is because the lender will lose out. Not all lenders have the fee in place, so check this out before filling in any applications.


rhianna-tube

Where do celebrities live in London?

London is not only one of the coolest places in the world to live, it is also one of the most expensive. Naturally, alongside the entertainment industry being focussed there, Celebrities are therefore drawn to living in England’s Capital city.

But it is no secret that London is a vast place, so which spots are bursting with famous faces? Celebrities tend to want to live in private properties with access to green spaces as well as shopping and lavish restaurants. It is no surprise then that celebrities tend to gravitate towards certain areas in London which offer a vibrant and private lifestyle.

Without further ado, Octagon Capital is looking at some of the most celebrity-heavy neighbourhoods in London.

Kensington and Chelsea

Probably one of the better-known areas where the rich and famous reside is Kensington and Chelsea. It is known to house some of the most outrageous basement bunkers which are complete with swimming pools and private bars.

The townhouses in this area often have the added feature of rooftop gardens and state-of-the-art fixtures.

Some famous people who live in this area include British Rapper Stromzy, rock legend Eric Clapton, Madonna and Rowan Atkinson. Fashion designer Paul Smith’s Kensington based mansion is worth a whopping £135 million!

Notting Hill

Notting Hill is home to wonderfully colourful homes in rows, which are both highly desirable and highly expensive. Notting Hill is particularly famous following the 1999 romantic comedy of the same name, starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.

This affluent area of west London is prized for the renowned market where you will find plenty of vintage Chanel, Hermes and Dior.

Music stars Robbie Williams and Bjork are said to reside in Nothing Hill.

Clapham

An up and coming area of south London is Clapham. It has been dubbed one of the most fashionable areas to live and is certainly popular with the younger generation, as well as celebrities.

It is a usual sight to stroll through Clapham Common on a Saturday morning and see people working out in the sun, taking their dogs for a walk or sunbathing on the grass.

Notable and powerful celebrity women seem to favour Clapham, including Margot Robbie, Vivienne Westwood, J.K Rowling and Vanessa Redgrave.

Richmond

Richmond is famous for big pads and famous faces. An extremely expensive place to buy or rent, it is a haven for the UK’s celebrities.

These celebrities include Mick Jagger, Tom Hardy, Pete Townsend, Jerry Hall, David Attenborough and Rick Astley. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie has bought a £16 million property here back when their marriage remained intact.

Highgate

Situated in North London, Highgate is one of the sleepier areas of London – this is probably why so many celebrities love it there. It is slightly out of the way of the hustle and bustle of central London.

Famous faces who live there include supermodel Kate Moss and actor Jude Law.

Fulham

The attraction of independent boutiques, notable hangout spots like the Durrell Arms and the fabulous brunch spot, Manuka Kitchen, is enough to bring in the celebrities to the area on a permanent basis.

There is an area of Fulham Road which is known to the locals as “The Beach”, which is beautiful and a place you would want to spend your time. You will find this area lined with convertible porches parked outside of galleries and gastropubs.

East Dulwich

Located in South East London, East Dulwich is an area which is known for being in the city, but feeling like a village. Because of the village vibe and the location is slightly outside of central London, a host of celebrities’ call East Dulwich home. To name a few, Tom Cruise, James Nesbit and Steve Frost have all had property here at one point or another.


noisy-neighbour

How to Block out Noisy Neighbours

It’s summertime and you want to enjoy the outdoors by sitting out in the sunshine in your own garden. Sounds like bliss. That is until the noisy neighbours have the same idea but instead of reading a book with an iced tea – they want to cause havoc next door.

If you feel like you’re not alone in your own back garden, then this guide is for you. For those living in London or any city for that matter, it is appreciated that privacy is not the easiest thing to achieve with many houses being overlooked by neighbours, but there are a few hacks which might help you out a lot. Although you cannot sound proof your garden, there are still things which can be done.

You may find that even relaxing inside your own home can be a task with the neighbours shouting, running around or blasting music next door. There are also ways in which you can block out your noisy neighbours internally.

If it simply gets too much, you should report your noisy neighbours to the council to try and get it resolved. However, try and speak to them before this to make them aware that the noise is bothering you – they may be clueless about it and agree to keep it down. Problem solved! Until then, we have some ideas for you.

For the Garden

Plant Trees

Where possible make use of nature’s umbrellas and plant trees. Not only will the large branches and leaves act as a means of visual privacy, they will help to block out some of the noise which is coming from the surrounding gardens.

Build a summer house

 This may not be ideal if you are on a budget, but creating a little space to get away from the noise but still enjoy the peaceful outdoors could be your ticket to paradise this summer. With a summer house, you can insulate the inside with wool loft insulation or sheets of polystyrene which are sandwiched behind plywood walls. You could also cut the costs and simply hang up think fabric drapes. This insulation will also mean that you can enjoy your outside-inside space in the winter months as it won’t let the heat escape in the cold and will keep the place cool in the summer.

Water features  

Having running water features in your garden can work wonders. In themselves, they create a peaceful atmosphere and can act as a distraction away from any noise coming from the neighbours or even the roads around your house.

For the House

Ceiling clouds and acoustic fixtures

Ceiling clouds are acoustic panels which hang from the ceiling with the purpose of reducing noise and echoes. Before installing these, if you are renting, check that it is okay with your landlord since they need to be securely mounted on the ceiling.

Seal the windows and doors

Simply keeping your windows and doors closed isn’t going to be a cure for your noisy neighbour problem.

Make sure your window casings and frames are fully sealed as even the smallest gap can make such a difference to what you hear from your neighbours or the road. If you do not have the money or the permission from the landlord to do this, you can opt for hanging heavy curtains which will help to muffle out the sound.

As for the doors, you will be surprised how much noise can seep through the cracks. Invest in an inexpensive draft excluder which can act as a noise barrier.

Hang wall art and tapestries  

Adding things to your walls can be a way to lessen the noise. Since wall hangings, canvas wall art and tapestries are porous, they can actually absorb sound which penetrates through the wall.

Looking to move house?

If you are thinking of moving to a new house because noise is just simply a fact rather than something which could be avoided and want to move quickly, you should look into a bridging loan. Essentially, a bridging loan helps you complete on a property when there is not enough time to going through the mortgage process. Like the name suggest, a bridging loan "bridges the gap" making it possible for you to purchase the property without losing out on it due to having to wait on a mortgae to be cleared.