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70% of people in South East delay switching their heating on to save money

HARD-UP South Easterners are delaying turning their heating on this winter and instead wrapping up in blankets to save money, according to a study.

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Research for leading comparison site Moneyexpert.com, found that a shocking 70% of people from the South East are putting off switching their heating on ‘til as late as possible because of concerns over energy costs. 

Instead they wear extra jumpers (30%), wrap themselves in a blanket (33%), or even don thermal undies to keep warm (15%). And many of those who do switch the central heating on are keeping the thermostat lower than they’d like in order to cut bills. 

And these delay tactics appear to be causing a fair bit of disruption in households across the South East. A quarter (25%) of people from the South East argue about whether or not the heating should be on, with the same amount quarrelling with their housemates over the lights being left on (26)! 25% of people from the South East go one step further, and heavily debate what exact temperature the heating should be at too! 

The cost of winter is a pressing concern for people from the South East, with three-quarters (75%) envisaging their energy bills rising, averagely expecting to spend over £300 across the cold season.  

The research sparked concern from Jason Smith, CEO of Moneyexpert.com. He said: “It’s all very well trying to save money on energy bills, but there are better ways of doing it than shivering in the cold. Older people especially must keep themselves warm or it can be very dangerous. 

“The smart thing for people to do is to check their energy costs and make sure they’re on the cheapest deal possible. The average household can save £190 this winter by going to a comparison site like Moneyexpert,com and switching. That would buy a great deal of jumpers and blankets!” 

Switches South Easterners make for Winter  Percentage (%) 
Stay indoors more  48% 
Switch over summer clothes to winter clothes including shoes  46% 
Switch to a winter duvet/winter bedding  39% 
Eat more comfort food  30% 
Wear socks in bed  20% 
South Easterners’ delay tactics to keep the heating OFF!  Percentage (%) 
Shut all the doors in the home to prevent a draught  39% 
Wrap up in blankets  33% 
Wear multiple jumpers  30% 
Put underwear/socks on the radiator before putting them on  16% 
Wear thermal underwear  15% 
The start of winter according to the South East  Percentage (%) 
When the clocks go back  56% 
Wearing a winter coat    40% 
Dark outside when leaving the office  38% 
Dark outside when I leave for work in the morning  30% 
When Christmas merchandise begins to appear  20% 

Save money on your energy bills. Visit https://www.moneyexpert.com/gas-electricity/ 

Property

Cost of maintaining a buy-to-let hits £12k a year in parts of the UK

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Leading property management platform, Howsy, has looked at the cost of maintaining a buy-to-let property each year and how this varies across the UK.  

Buy-to-let can be a tricky business if you don’t tackle it properly and there are a whole host of costs that can trip up the amateur investor. From the more obvious additional three percent stamp duty tax, to various other tax implications, void periods, mortgage costs, agency fees, the cost of finding a tenant, and more, Howsy’s previous research shows the average buy-to-let brings an annual return of just £2,000.

With the Government’s continued attack on UK landlords, making the most out of your investment financially can be tough and even when you consider all financial commitments for a property, many can still be caught unaware by out of the blue maintenance and repair costs. 

Buy-to-let landlords should squirrel away savings in anticipation of these events and an industry rule of thumb is an annual budget equivalent to 1% of your property’s value. 

So what does that equate to?  

Across the UK landlords should be tucking away an annual budget of £2,344 to cover repairs and maintenance, with this rising to £4,746 in London, with the North East home to the lowest repair costs at just £1,328. 

Of course, markets with higher rent returns may seem promising from an investment standpoint but the higher the reward, the higher the cost when things do go wrong. In Kensington and Chelsea, this annual 1% saving climbs to an eye-watering £12,292, hitting nearly £9,000 in both the Cities of London and Westminster.  

Outside of London, South Bucks and Elmbridge are home to the most expensive buy-to-let maintenance costs at £6,091 and £6,019 respectively.

Head to the likes of Burnley or Blaenau Gwent however, and this yearly maintenance budget drops to less than £1,000 a year.

Founder and CEO of Howsy, Calum Brannan, commented: 

“The buy-to-let sector can be a minefield for the amateur investor and now more than ever, it’s imperative that you do everything you can to maximise the return on your investment.

While technology now allows a greater level of control and service when managing your investment at a lower cost via online platforms, it isn’t just about the financial side of things. Providing a fit for purpose property is not only a legal requirement but essential to ensure a happy tenancy and a reduction in void periods.

Of course, things can go wrong and having the budget available to fix them is a must. In the worst-case scenarios, a cash pot equal to one percent of your property’s value might not be sufficient, but it should cover you for most eventualities and is a good benchmark to start on.

As with all buy-to-let investments, good preparation, organisation, and education are key, and whether you go it alone or have a great management agent if you stay on top of things, a bricks and mortar investment is still one of the best you can make.” 

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