How Important Prudent Property Title Management?

Late last year I wrote a blog post on how to stop your house being stolen or your Property Title re-registered

What five things can you do to stop your house being stolen?

This was prompted following some alarming media coverage about two men who had their houses stolen. Here is the link to the original post with more detail

Property Title - explained by Louise Reynolds

I am writing about this again because I had a personal experience. Not quite so dramatic, but I mention it at the end of this Blog post.

There are 2 facts that these two original stories have in common.

Both properties were not occupied by the owners. One was empty, the other was meant to have been let out.

It appears that both thefts took place using fake Identity.

And as an additional aside, the Police did not want to get involved, saying it was a ‘civil’ not criminal matter.

What are the 5 things you can do to prevent house theft?

Not only do you need to be aware of the danger of Identity theft, but also the way in which house-theft can take place. There are some simple and straightforward preventative steps you can take. These protect your property and de-risk the situation for you.

  1. Ensure Land Registry has the latest up-to-date address for you.
  2. Register for the Property Alerts. These are sent to the owner if there is any activity on the property Title. They do work and are free
  3. Put a restriction on the Title to help prevent a fraudulent sale. This is less straight forward but you can do it yourself without using a lawyer. Completing the RX1 form is where to start, but it will take time to choose which restriction. And therefore which additional form applies to your particular situation This is not part of the standard conveyancing process in England and Wales. So if you want your solicitor to do this you will have to specifically request it.
  4. Having a mortgage on the house provides an additional layer of security because your lender will take a charge on the property.
  5. Do strong tenant checks and choose a good Letting or Managing Agent.

My Personal Property Title experience Update

I recently received a Land Registry Alert. An unknown Legal Firm lodged an application to record a ‘Depositary First Lease’ against the Title of our Home.

This was alarming as it could have meant any number of things. Originally it was difficult to get through to Land Registry to query this. The first emailed response wasn’t helpful. A case of ‘Computer say no’

Contacting the original Legal Firm didn’t help. They work based on Postcodes and because our Home is not on their system as a paying ‘client’ there was no motivation for them to help.

Land Registry and Property Titles

I eventually got through to a more helpful Land Registry call handler, who departed from his strict job description. He did a bit of digging. He found that it appeared the legal firm had made an error in the Title number. It had intended it for a property in Sheffield. They had tried the same Title Deposition twice!

I am shocked at the number of careless mistakes that Legal Firms make. To them they are minor errors, but to home owners they can cause much distress and inconvenience. The offending Legal firm couldn’t even follow through properly, which would have disclosed it was their mistake after all!

It goes to show it is best to keep on top of your ‘Title’. Because even if Land Registry activity is not as pernicious as house theft, it could cause a problem if you are in a hurry to sell.

I am a landlord, ‘prudent’ property investor and developer. I help others to invest ‘prudently’ either with a bespoke Property Finding service or in a supportive mentoring capacity. If you’d like help or to find out more do message me

My business Property Venture® is an award-winning, Boutique property consultancy focusing on helping time-strapped professionals and expats who don’t have the local presence, or capacity, to acquire the ‘right’ properties for them.

Tags: , ,

Investor landlords: want to increase property value through energy efficiency?

I’ve got energy efficiency and performance on my mind. I have just received welcome news that we achieved the targeted ‘C’ for our EPC – Energy Performance Certificate on our Surrey Victorian development project

How have we boosted the Energy efficiency for a Victorian house?

Well we didn’t do anything whizzy. Just good old-fashioned insulation and quality building.

Now you might be thinking that isn’t so impressive. However let me give the context. The main house is a Victorian semi-detached house. We retrofitted the existing main house as well as extending it.

Victorian Energy Efficiency Retrofit

Catering for the long term Energy-performance now – in preparation for 2030 – helps with the profitability of buy-to-let investments. By holding long term we minimise churn rate expenses -that is the sale and purchase costs when regularly buying and selling.

Oh and the bonus is we increased the floor space by 43%! From 72 sqm to 103 sqm. That brought a smile to my face. I had done a rough-and-ready calculation and thought it would be 93 sqm. So I was delighted.

It’s all in the U-Value. That is thermal transmittance and how effective a material is at insulation. The lower the value, the more efficient the material.

For our specification we had the standard new build insulation which complied with and exceeded Building Regulations.

And for the retrofit of the original Victorian part of the house:

Ground floor – 150mm PIR board (Polyurethane Insulation) between floor joists U-Value 0.15 (W/m2.k)

First floor 100mm acoustic rock wool insulation between joists

Existing solid single skin brick wall – 62.5 mm PIR board and 50 mm gap U-value 0.28

Loft 100mm PIR board packed between the roof rafters and a further 100mm on top of the ceiling joists. U-value 0.12

And as I’ve discovered, it’s all very well having a great specification, and a sexy-looking Schedule of Works. But if it isn’t followed through on site to check that that is indeed what the builders have done, then the EPC might as well go out of the window.

You can check a property’s EPC rating here

I help time-strapped professionals and Expats invest in UK property. So if you need some support then message me or get in contact +44 (0) 1932 849 536

My business focuses on helping time-strapped professionals and expats who don’t have the local presence, or capacity, to acquire the ‘right’ properties for them. Property Venture® is an award-winning, Boutique property consultancy that specialises in bespoke sourcing. We focus on de-risking investing for clients.

Disclaimer: Property Venture® is not a legal adviser. The information has been outlined in layman’s terms to guide and inform. It is not offered as advice. Intending purchasers should not rely on information given as statement of fact but must satisfy themselves by inspection or otherwise as to its accuracy.

Tags: , ,

Don’t Panic! It’s UK Property investing – but not as we know it!

How on earth do you make sense of the market currently….? The UK property investing climate is causing panic. We’ve experienced material shortages and regular, almost weekly, price increases. Then the energy crisis fuelled inflation. Followed by the UK government announcing swingeing, unfunded, tax cuts that sent the financial markets into a tail spin, increasing the cost of borrowing even further.

Starting your UK property investing journey?

If you are just embarking on a refurbishment or development, then stress-testing at much higher finance rates around 6% might be sensible. And working through various financial and exit scenarios.

Midway in a UK property refurbishment project?

Louise Reynolds on Surrey Residential site_UK property investing

If you are part way through a refurbishment project that’s more tricky. It may be a question of being more flexible than ever before.

Can you:

·        borrow less and keep your LTV lower, thereby reducing your debt level?

·        Consider a number of different sources of finance, or a blend of finance, thereby spreading the risk?

I don’t think panicking is helpful and rushing into locking into inappropriate products. Evidently you might be rushing to get a low rate locked in, that is different. Seize the moment. The market is in a state of flux, but interest rates may settle as lenders calm their nerves and can see a clearer picture emerging.

Managing UK property investing risk

This is a time to mitigate risk and take the medium to long term perspective. We may no longer live in the ultra-low interest rate era and may have to readjust to ongoing higher Bank of England interest rates. Perhaps at the 3% mark and the commensurately higher mortgage rates.

At times like these we might need to consider the total lifetime return on property investments, Return on Capital Invested (ROCI) over a period of time, not just yield or cash flow but capital growth as well.

This might include future-proofing your property as well. For example making it more energy-efficient, so that if the rental rules change your asset is more valuable as it already complies with newer more stringent Energy Performance criteria.

UK Property Investing – Market Context

There is still a supply: demand imbalance in the UK property market which isn’t going away anytime soon. So there are market fundamentals that still make UK property investing attractive.

How are you making sense of things and what measures are you taking?

I help busy UK-based professionals and expats navigate the property market challenges. Property Venture® is an award-winning, Boutique property consultancy that finds the right investment properties for clients. If you want help on your property investment journey then get in contact +44 (0) 1932 849 536 or e-mail

Tags: , , , ,

Time-strapped investors: protect yourself against rogue builders

In the current climate it is challenging for you time-strapped investors to protect against the downside of contractors or builders proving unreliable or taking advantage.

So should you just close your eyes and cross your fingers and hope for the best?

Well no. There are things you can do to protect yourself and mitigate the downsides.

So what are they?

An architect’s Professional connection

Building site time-strapped investor danger sign

Apart from all the obvious things like having a detailed and consistent tender pack – which helps get a shortlist of contractors so you have a 2nd choice if the selected contractor plays up. Having a relationship either directly or indirectly, like through an architect is really positive. If the contractor or builder is looking to the next project from the same architect then they will be interested in the positive outcome of the project in hand.

Time-strapped investors check visibility of a Builder’s reputation

A local reputation that matters, more so if there is an online presence. If there is no social media footprint or website, or review site presence, then there is less visible accountability. If there is no means for feedback and review there is less of a conscience.

And a medium to long term outlook on business is important. This means they’ll be interested in the next contract and be more motivated to do decent work for you and behave with decency and integrity. If they are simply jobbing, they may have no real vested interest in the outcome or producing a great result. And when the going gets tough, it is easier for them to walk away.

What are your experiences of finding and working with contractors and builders?

If you want help on your property investment journey then get in contact +44 (0) 1932 849 536 or e-mail

My business focuses on helping time-strapped expats and busy business people who don’t have the local presence, or capacity, to acquire the ‘right’ properties for them. Property Venture® is an award-winning, Boutique property consultancy that finds the right investment properties for clients.

Tags: , , ,

Surrey Residential Development Extension

Concrete pouring has taken place on site at our Surrey residential development. We will soon be building the rear extension.

This is welcome news to soon be able to start getting out of the ground.

It is a major structural hurdle, en route to creating a new part to the building.

And it’s great to celebrate progress when there are plenty of things that can halt progress. Not everything can be forseen before starting on site.

Managing a project like this means not only getting to see diverse aspects of a residential build but also experience some of the challenges. This is really useful. Especially when we help time-strapped expats and busy professionals invest. They often look for the best ways of adding value to their property investments.

I care about outcomes and the process of getting there. This forms part and parcel of what I do as a personalised property sourcer.

You don’t get to pour concrete on every project. Have you?

Do you want help on your property investment journey?

Get in contact +44 (0) 1932 849 536 or e-mail

My business focuses on helping time-strapped expats and busy professionals who don’t have the local presence, or capacity, to acquire the ‘right’ properties. Property Venture® is an award-winning, Boutique property consultancy that finds the right investment properties for clients. We offer a bespoke sourcing and consultancy service.

Follow the story on social media Instagram or Facebook or Linked In

Tags: , ,

6 ‘Property Investing during Inflation’ tips

The Covid Pandemic has fuelled inflationary pressures. The tragic war in Ukraine has caused further economic damage. And we are now being warned of impending global food shortages. All of these pressures have contributed to pushing inflation to close to 10% in the UK. This makes it the biggest issue facing Britain* closely followed by economic worries. You investors may want to think about property investing during inflation.

Uk property

How are property prices affected?

There’s doom-mongering about spiralling house prices but much of this focuses on averages. And as we know averages can hide a myriad of micro factors.

Prices are affected by supply and demand fundamentally although other factors come into play:

  • Inflation places upward pressure on interest rates and other home ownership expenses. Higher household costs can increase home repossessions. Over-leveraged property investors also put themselves at risk.
  • The property market can get nervous about an impending economic downturn. This in itself can be self-fulfilling.

Are you facing a UK Property price bubble?

In the 2008 credit crunch, the economy and lack of money for mortgage lending were key to falling demand and prices. Property prices had risen significantly through the availability of ‘easy credit’ in the lead-up to this period.

Nowadays mortgage lending criteria are more rigorous and house prices don’t appear out of kilter.

The December 2021 House Price index** shows UK House Prices growth at 7.4%. Demand is up 49% and supply in minus territory. Some areas like Wales have seen prices increase by double digits. But not all areas are seeing significant property price rises. London is fairly static and Aberdeen has negative growth.** In many regions, real property prices (net prices after inflation) have risen at about the rate of inflation.

Zoopla research shows that 3 bed houses are the most popular property type to January 2022. Strong demand for houses, which tend to be more pricey, may be a contributory factor to higher average house prices.

The mix of housing stock and the demand: supply imbalance, is creating price pressure. But this is in micro-markets and housing type niches. You are not necessarily facing a bubble.

Still we aren’t building enough homes and so house prices look set to continue to rise, even if it is at single digit growth.

Property Investing during Inflation – Six Tips for you

  • Know the ins and outs of your patch and what the type of demand is e.g. is there a dearth of 3 bed properties because of family demand vs 1 beds for commuting professionals
  • Know your ideal buyer or tenant type and what it is they want e.g. is it critical to be within a mile of a main train station? Or to have extra space for a Home Office?
  • Look at specific numbers, for a specific area for a specific property type
  • Know your risk profile and capabilities. If you are risk-averse and new to property it might be unwise to over borrow or over-leverage or overstretch your self.
  • There is always a balance with risk and reward so don’t get swayed by the upside and forget the downsides.
  • Stay on top of things. Check the detail of the numbers and rental income to ensure you are alerted early on if there is a problem so you can tackle it straight away rather than burying your head in the sand.

*Ipsos – May 2022 poll – 32% of Britons cited as top concern.


If you want help on your property investment journey then get in contact +44 (0) 1932 849 536 or e-mail

My business focuses on helping time-strapped expats and busy professionals who don’t have the local presence, or capacity, to acquire the ‘right’ properties for them. Property Venture® is an award-winning, Boutique property consultancy that finds the right investment properties for clients and offers a bespoke sourcing and consultancy service.

Tags: , ,

Surrey Residential Development project update

Forgive me! I need to shout about my residential development.

We are making progress on site. After not much appearing to happen – well that is what Building Control said. We now have RSJs being installed into the build.

So excited was I, I just had to go and video the moment.

Surrey residential development

I’ve sped up the action for you. Not so much to give the impression that progress is on booster rockets. But for those of you who aren’t interested in cranes and RSJs it might seem like you are watching paint dry at normal speed.

This way you get to see over 2 minutes’ worth of footage in 22 seconds. Now aren’t I considerate 🤔😆?

The last time I was this excited was when we hired a cherry picker to put Christmas lights up in a very tall tree… And it wasn’t me who damaged the crane but my husband’s ‘driving’.

This is about passion and excitement. I care about outcomes and the process which forms part and parcel of what I do as a personalised sourcer. Helping time-strapped expats and busy working professionals seeking to build property portfolios, but their circumstances don’t allow them to easily.
I have a tried-and-tested approach to help discover the optimum investment approach for clients. If you’d like to book a chat or to find out more, go here.

I also update the development journey to my Property E-Insights database sign up on the left side menu and on Linked In

What excites you about building or property more generally?

Tags: , , , ,

Day in the Life of a property developer – DILO

I have helped expat clients navigate the UK property market to invest whilst the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) ‘holiday’ was in place. I too decided the timing was right to turn developer and take on a renovation project to capitalise on the last wave of tax savings. When buying in the South it’s best to take all the savings you can get!

Surrey developer

I did a lot of desk research and Due Diligence on deals in the Surrey market. I found one in July of last year. My offer was based on an affordable purchase price. I had worked out the costs involved to make the house liveable. My second offer was accepted and I have been progressing the project steadily since. 

There have been plenty of challenges along the way, including dealing with: Estate Agents, banks, lawyers. As well as hitting the SDLT deadline. It’s then been a question of getting planning permission and trying to find a decent builder. A decent builder who has a free slot and who can provide a reasonable quote for the work.

The last few weeks I have spent mostly scouring the Schedule of Works developed in conjunction with my architects. I am seeking alternative ways of doing things. Including researching substitute materials that might work out more cost-effective.

Energy Performance Certificates – EPCs for Developments

One of my drivers has been to target an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) grade of ‘C’. This is to partly future-proof the energy performance of the property. The rules governing qualifying buy-to-lets are due to tighten to a ‘C’ EPC grade in the next 3-4 years. This has meant I’ve done some desk research and talked to an EPC Assessor. I have sought to get an insight into the way Retro-fits are assessed vs new builds. Talking to a Building Control Officer has helped check acceptable U-values of insulation material.

According to the EPC assessor, new builds are assessed using a SAP calculation. A SAP calculation uses lots of data points as input to the grading and summary provided on the EPC register. U-values are taken from the prevailing Building Control standards. But for retro-fits the original build date is used. As well as a pared-back calculation based on the area, volume and floorplan. This means the assessment is less rigorous. That could either help or hinder the final assessment, but it isn’t possible to tell until the day of reckoning and assessing.

This level of research and negotiation is the type of service I offer you my distance investing clients as part of my bespoke sourcing service. So if you would like to hear more about working with me then please message me or use the link to book a session

My business focuses on helping time-strapped expats and busy business people who don’t have the local presence, or capacity, to acquire the ‘right’ properties for them. Property Venture® is an award-winning, Boutique property consultancy that finds the right investment properties for clients investing at distance.

Tags: , , ,

Rishi dishes property investors curveball

Rishi Sunak delivered a big tax-and-spend budget to the UK last week, but what does it mean for property investors?

The property market was buoyed through covid by the Stamp Duty land Tax (SDLT) cuts. This coupled with the pent-up demand, which was an overhang from the prolonged and tortuous Brexit negotiations. This resulted in a surprising 10.6% house price growth over the year to August 2021*.

With this Budgetary overlay how will property investors be affected?

On the one hand there was some positive economic news:

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts for the UK have been revised to the positive:

Economic scarring from Covid has been revised down from 3% to 2% as a drag on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Public borrowing is forecast at £183 bn in 2021/22 vs the original £234bn

And there are negative pressures:

The tax burden will rise to 36.2% GDP by 2026/7 the highest since the 1950s

The national Insurance increases to cater for the health and social care levy, will hit middle earners and low earners although the bolstering of the Minimum Wage lessens the impact for some lower earners

There are likely to be rises in Council Tax bills which will add to the woes of energy and fuel prices. The Treasury has assumed annual rises of 3% as a minimum, with the expectation it could rise by 6% a year for many years to come.

These measures, combined with higher inflation will squeeze real incomes, as wages don’t keep pace.

And there is the added uncertainty of the UK’s relationship with the European Union which exacerbates the already strained international supply chains. Not only for day-to-day availability of goods but also for developers, and investors undertaking refurbishment work. OBR figures indicate that UK-EU trade dropped by 15% compared with 2019 while non-EU trade fell by 7%. This suggests there is a net Brexit impact of about 8%

Are you a Pensioner?

If so you will feel the discomfort as the Triple Lock on pension sums is suspended. This is likely to cost each pensioner on average £2,600 over the course of 5 years. The Triple lock guaranteed growth of: either 2.5%, or in line with average annual earnings growth, or inflation – whichever is the higher.

And ISA limits are frozen until at least 2023

This compounds the effect of persistent low rates for mainstream investments and savings accounts. This might maintain property investing momentum, as investors turn to property for better returns

How to Navigate the Property market?

In the property sector the much-anticipated increase in mortgage interest payments, may just be around the corner. Many of you younger investors and homeowners may not remember the time mortgage interest rates rose to over 15% in the late 80’s. So whilst we aren’t entering those realms necessarily, the interest rate rises will be the biggest since the financial crisis. The OBR expects the Bank of England to raise the Bank Rate from 0.1% to 0.75% by the end of 2023, which will translate through to mortgage repayments.

This is a time for you to take stock and not mortgage to the hilt, whether investing or buying a home. Rates can go up as well as down. And consider locking into a predictable low rate now.

Cladding and Mortgageability

There are still distortions in the property market cause by the Cladding fiasco, particularly in city centres. Without the EWS1 forms (External Wall System Cladding assessment) many properties are unmortgageable and consequently pretty much unsellable. This has helped push up the prices for the mortgageable stock available on the market. A double whammy for sellers and you buyers.

The Budget announced the Cladding Levy on builders with over £25m annual profits. This will contribute to the £5bn the government has committed to fixing the cladding crisis.

This levy is a bit indiscriminate, given it does not necessarily hit the builders who are responsible for the situation. But will nevertheless affect new development investment decisions and is likely to affect new build prices. This could impact the future supply of housing and fuel price rises, not dampen them.


Investors among you take note that not all infrastructure investment works well. Take the Freeport status, conferred on eight cities and towns in the Spring Budget, heralded as boosting the nationwide economy though lower tax regimes. The OBR’s analysis suggests this simply alters location choices, rather than boosting the overall national economic picture.

So investors, it is worth realistically assessing whether the Infrastructure boost is real or flimsy.

UK Budgetary implications for you property investors in summary

The market is likely to polarise with new build becoming more expensive and resales looking better value for money.

Larger scale Developers are likely to include more of the tax burden and higher build costs into their retail property prices.

Second hand homes might look even better value in comparison. We could see more distressed sales as the reality of the higher cost of living bites.

Undertaking developments has greater uncertainty currently for you with build costs higher, planning departments more overstretched than ever and lead times ever longer. So if you are taking on projects, think carefully about where you can minimise risks, either through mitigating any planning downside or minimising build changes and working with professionals with integrity.

If you want help on your property investment journey then get in contact +44 (0) 1932 849 536 or e-mail

My business focuses on helping time-strapped expats and busy business people who don’t have the local presence, or capacity, to acquire the ‘right’ properties for them. Property Venture® is an award-winning, Boutique property consultancy that finds the right investment properties for clients.


Tags: , , , , ,

What opportunity in the UK property market for expat investors?

UK property: Sales

As we are nearing the end of the final phase of the Stamp Duty (SDLT) holiday at the end of September (on the first £250k of property purchases) it seemed apt to reflect on how it may have helped or distorted the market.

The volume of UK House sales declined in July after the 1st main SDLT holiday ended. Tax data showed that residential purchases were 63% lower than in June. So the number of housing transactions fell, but what effect did it have on house prices?

A recent article in the Financial Times quotes a study by the Think Tank Resolution Foundation which reveals that the biggest house price rises were in areas that least benefited from the SDLT tax cuts. So the SDLT holiday may not have distorted pricing as much as many people think.

UK property: Rental market

On the rental side, more Institutional Investors are coming into the rental market, attracted by the demand, returns and stability offered. Today’s rental market has changed dramatically. Demand has continued to increase, with 1.7 million more rental households in 2017 compared to 2007, according to the ONS.

Build to Rent

Institutional investors are entering the market at scale with Build-to-Rent. Purpose-built Build to Rent is a new concept in the UK, which started around 2016, but a model common in other countries like Germany and elsewhere in the European Continent. It means tenants rent off a Corporate landlord. In theory tenants are offered a more consistent service level, in return for higher rents when compared with some of the private rentals on the market.

Landlords like: John Lewis, Legal and General and now Lloyds Bank is the latest to enter the housing market with the intention to buy and rent out 50,000 homes in the next decade. They may offer longer tenures that many tenants crave, but are likely to push rental prices up.

Future for UK First time buyers?

In the end the market may be shaped in a different way. Still difficult for First Time Buyers, as prices are so buoyant and inaccessible. Yet with more rental stock potentially becoming available, the UK housing market could start to look a bit more like Continental Europe in nature in the future.

This presents opportunities for investors in the buy-to-let sector. As prices are still inaccessible for many and the rental sector becomes more homogenised and potentially expensive, renters will still want character, individual properties in the right locations. The bigger block build of Build-to-Rent won’t necessarily be in the optimum locations that many individual, resale properties might be

If you want help on your property investment journey then get in contact +44 (0) 1932 849 536 or e-mail

My business focuses on helping time-strapped expats and busy business people who don’t have the local presence, or capacity, to acquire the ‘right’ properties for them. Property Venture® is an award-winning, Boutique property firm that finds the right investment properties for clients.

Tags: , , ,