Property Surgery

Property Surgery

Kaye:                       It’s really beautiful here in Glasgow, nicest day I’ve seen for a while, and that is why I am still employing my no socks policy. Yes, Brian Gilmour looking to see that no socks Brian, have you got socks on Brian, let me have a wee look. Oh, Brian’s gone socks and brogues. It’s too early for socks and brogues Brian.

Brian:                      Nice blue socks, bluey green socks.

Kaye:                       Bluey green, oh so the-

Brian:                      Blue shoes and red laces.

Kaye:                       Oh right, oh typical. Typical property man, I have to say. Alright, so you’ve still got a hint of the kind of summer, autumn season with you have you, yeah. It’s depressing isn’t it. What’s your first sign of winter?

Brian:                      Probably the first of September. Actually, September. I was just saying, September’s often a nice month.

Kaye:                       Yeah?

Brian:                      Yeah, I think September’s usually a better month sometimes than July.

Kaye:                       Well, yes and I like September in Scotland, it usually does work out well and probably quite a good month for selling the old houses I would imagine, is that right?

Brian:                      Yes, it is actually.

Kaye:                       Is it?

Brian:                      Brilliant. Very professional the way you took that-

Kaye:                       I did, I was quite pleased with myself there, yes. I was actually just going to read out a text from cold Joe, he says, “The only time I’ve got no socks on is when I’m in the bath”, so Joe’s constant if nothing else, but is it when the property market wakes up again after the summer?

Brian:                      Absolutely. You’ve got the spring market and then you’ve got the autumn market, September, October, one of the reasons for the buoyancies of the autumn market is you have the student population, parents buying for their kids going off to college and university, buy to let landlords moving in because there’s extra students about, so autumn market, I think people want to get things happening before November, probably Halloween bonfire night. That’s really the start of the symbol that we’re coming up to Christmas.

Kaye:                       Right, and then it kind of quietens down again.

Brian:                      Then it starts to quiet down, yeah.

Kaye:                       Right, okay. I’m afraid we’ve got bad news Brian.

Brian:                      What’s that?

Kaye:                       Would you bloomin’ believe it. Who got that one? Kirsty got that right. Oh, well done Kirsty. I said through gritted teeth, didn’t I. Yes, what time is it, it’s 10:11. We have our first correct answer for name the place. Kirsty, well done to you. I don’t know what it … Well, I kind of do because I know where Kirsty is from but I’m not telling anyone because that is the best clue of all, but she got it on that second clue. The place name appears to contain two English words, but neither is what it seems. Everyone else is going to have to keep guessing I’m afraid. Our first clue was that the Scottish … Many Scottish place names refer to water or religion. Today’s place name has been associated with both, but only one is correct. 80295 for your guesses. As I say, Kirsty, well done. You managed to get that right. Poor G in East Kilbride is going to be spitting feathers. Andy from East Kilbride got it right too, well done to you as well. And sorry about that Brian, little interruption there but you know.

Brian:                      That’s okay. As I said last week, last time, I never get these.

Kaye:                       You never get them? No, no, I don’t either but I read out the clues so that’s about all I do. So, property market back with a bang. Does that mean that prices go up?

Brian:                      Well yes, principally there’s a bit of a challenge with prices going up because we introduced the home report system number of years ago, which means the value of a property set before it actually goes on the market, which to anybody who understands how markets work, markets work by demand and supply and what’s someone’s prepared to pay for it, so to set it, you’re looking in the … It’s like driving a car in the rear view mirror to some extent. So, that’s part of the reason why our prices are not growing rapidly and massively, because the price is always set by the surveyor based on what the last properties have been selling for, not what people are talking in the market today, but it’s demand and supply that drives prices, so spring and autumn are the two main drivers for property price inflation.

Kaye:                       Right, okay. We do tend to speak in terms of buying and selling don’t we when we talk about property traditionally-

Brian:                      Yep.

Kaye:                       And let me remind everyone that Brian can answer any questions you have surrounding property on 08085929500 or drop him a text on 80295, but an interesting element of the market that’s developed in recent years is making money out of your property while you are still in it, spare cash for the spare room-

Brian:                      Yeah.

Kaye:                       And that is really booming, isn’t it.

Brian:                      Yeah, Airbnb, Scotland’s actually one of the main drivers of the Airbnb market.

Kaye:                       It’s not the only website though, I mean, we have to say there are a number of others,, I think it is, there’s room2rent, there’s roombuddy, there’s lots of them.

Brian:                      I think one of the phrases is that at red, there’s people saying it democratises the use of your home and yeah, in an ideal world, it’s perfect. The concept of I’ve got some extra space so I can rent it out to generate it, I mean, to some extent, it’s always been there. I mean, who can think of Rising Damp-

Kaye:                       Rising Damp, oh yes. Mr Rigsby.

Brian:                      Mr Rigsby.

Kaye:                       Mr Rigsby.

Brian:                      Yes, so the concept of a lodger, I think Elsie Tanner in Coronation Street always seemed to have a lodger in as well, I’m showing my age. So, the concept of having a lodger to make some revenue for an extra room, I think what the internet has done is modernised it in the way that you know, eBay modernised sticking classifieds in a shop window, in the newsagents window, I think that’s what these websites have done. They’ve modernised the lodger concept of renting out a room to somebody or even greater with Airbnb and others where it’s, the concept is, I’ll go on holiday and I’ll go and stay in somebody else’s home and you come and stay in my-

Kaye:                       Yeah.

Brian:                      Home, that sort of holiday swap concept is coming-

Kaye:                       It is kind of made it acceptable, not acceptable again, but kind of trendy again, hasn’t it because that old idea of the lodger, Mr Rigsby, you know, when we all got kind of used to having our own homes, you kind of didn’t want to take a lodger was it, you know, it’s kind of your home is your castle, whereas-

Brian:                      Yeah, I think it was a bit of a downmarket statement that-

Kaye:                       Yes.

Brian:                      You couldn’t quite afford your own home if you were having to rent out space, I think that sort of had evolved and as I say, with various websites, they have a way of marketing themselves to take people’s ideas away from that being the reason behind it.

Kaye:                       But now it’s kind of seen as a smart thing to do.

Brian:                      Yes, because you’ve got that extra space, so why not take advantage of it in the same way that the same time as Mr Rigsby, the rag and bone man going up and down the street, and again, that had a certain connotation to it. You’ve now got things like Gumtree and as I said before, eBay, where you’re selling your goods online, so I think it’s the same type of concept of making it sound trendy, making it sound a reasonable thing to do and well, if you’ve got excess space, why not take advantage of it?

Kaye:                       Absolutely, well we’re going to speak to some people later on who are doing it and if there’s anyone else out there who is doing it, we’d love to hear from you too because I’m sure there are guides if you like, because it’s quite something to have people in your home and you know, it’s different people every week, there’s going to be tax implications, security implications-

Brian:                      Yeah.

Kaye:                       All sorts of angles to this, so if you’ve got any questions about making a bit of spare cash out of your spare room, Brian will do his best to handle them, or if you’d just like to tell us how it works for you, that would be great too. 80295 for the texts and 0800929500 to give us a call, and Brian taking questions on any aspect at all of property, not just that. We do have a question in though from Jay, saying, “I’m a live in landlord”, so I guess that’s what it is. “I’ve a lodger moved into my spare room at the weekend and I saw him smoking right outside the house. As my advert on the site specified a non smoker, I feel he has the room under false pretences. Is there anything I can do about this?” This is where it stops being such a great idea, isn’t it, when you run into problems like that.

Brian:                      Yeah, and it’s the reason why I also say for everything, put stuff down in writing right at the beginning, then there’s no ambiguity. Get people to sign the documentation that you’re agreeing to the rules that are being set out, and that means when this arises, you can then say look, we talked about you not being a smoker, and having no smoking. Here’s the piece of paper that you signed confirming that, I’m very sorry but you’re going to have to move out.

Kaye:                       Right, yeah. You’re still going to have to have that confrontation though, isn’t it in pretty close personal space.

Brian:                      You are, yes, unless you want to go out and get a friend round.

Kaye:                       Yes, okay. Well, we’re not suggesting that everyone, thank you very much. Brian, thanks very much, you’ll be back in about 15 minutes or so, so give us time to get all the questions in for you. Right, Brian Gilmour, our resident property expert is here to answer all of your property queries, so give him a call. I see Gillian’s on the line and we’ve got Jill as well and we’ve got other questions in. 08085929500 is the number. We were talking earlier, Brian, and you were saying that I’m really not going to keep mentioning the name of this website, but a very well known and popular website, which allows you to rent out room in your house on an ad hoc basis.

Brian:                      Yes.

Kaye:                       Seems to be very, very popular in Scotland.

Brian:                      It does, yeah. They’ve had 168,000 listings in the last 12 months, while up 81% on the previous year. It’s London with 41% of the listings and then it’s Scotland.

Kaye:                       Right, why do you think that is?

Brian:                      Well, I think the type of break that they’re offering, it’s not a long term holiday, it tends to be … The average person stays for three point three days, so it fits with city breaks. So we’ve obviously got Glasgow, a neighbour and Aberdeen and Dundee, so it fits with those types of people coming for a long weekend.

To also fits, I mean I know prior to this current trend, the sort of beginning of the last decade, there was also a trend, a lot of hotels were taking some of the new build apartments that were getting built in some of the city centres and doing service departments, and I know from speaking to hoteliers that they were popular with things like stag weekends and hen weekends, because you could rent a two bedroom flat for whatever it was, £120 a night, but you could squeeze six, seven people into it because basically, they’re there to get drunk and wake up and go for a hungover breakfast and then go out and get drunk again, so I think it can be popular with that type of accommodation and then again, the type of breaks that people will go for a long weekend to somewhere in Scotland, particularly if they’re coming up from England and again, that type of accommodation seems to fit with that. You’re not going and staying in a hotel. You’re getting a bit more freedom to use it as your base and then going around.

Kaye:                       Right, well we’ve got Gillian and Jill here who’ve got experience of renting out a room, so let’s have a wee chat with them. Good morning Gillian and Jill, how are you?

Callers:                  Good morning.

Kaye:                       Good morning, good morning. One’s a Gillian and one’s a Gill, excuse me if I get it wrong and both from Edinburgh. Gillian first, when did you start renting out a room?

Callers:                  I started doing it about two and a half years ago.

Kaye:                       Right, and why? Just because you thought well, I might as well make some money out of that extra space?

Callers:                  Well, yes and also to get a bit of money for travelling myself so I started.

Kaye:                       Right, and how’s it been for you?

Callers:                  Well, it’s been great, you know Edinburgh is like most cities, really just terribly busy and I’m pretty much full all the time.

Kaye:                       And so this is a sort of spare room, what sort of privacy do you retain? What’s the arrangement that you have?

Callers:                  Well, I have a small flat so we have to kind of share a sitting room, although you know I’m not keen on that and I … Guests that just want to use the room and have breakfast and go.

Kaye:                       Right, well okay. And I mean Brian was saying earlier on, you’re best to have everything written down as to how you would like to you know, police the arrangement if you like. Do you do that?

Callers:                  Yes. I think my listing makes it clear without being too unfriendly.

Kaye:                       Right.

Callers:                  You know, on the whole it works really very well.

Kaye:                       And how often do you say you got somebody there kind of all the time, what’s the average length of stay?

Callers:                  For me, one or two nights.

Kaye:                       Right, okay. And do you enjoy it or do you kind of suffer it because you know, well it’s an income to allow you to do what you want to do.

Callers:                  No, I really do enjoy it actually. I’d say 98% of people are you know just great, it’s interesting, it’s mostly younger people in their twenties and thirties from all round the world.

Kaye:                       Right. Jill, what’s your experience been?

Callers:                  Well, I love it and what I love most is meeting people from different parts of the world, so I learn a little myself.

Kaye:                       Right, so it wasn’t so much a sort of financial imperative for you-

Callers:                  No, no.

Kaye:                       No, no.

Callers:                  But I’ve got two rooms. I rent out two.

Kaye:                       Right.

Callers:                  And yeah, my daughter got me onto it but yeah, I love it.

Kaye:                       And you’ve got a lot of demand have you?

Callers:                  I’m full all the time.

Kaye:                       Wow. I mean, Brian, does this impact on the hotel trade?

Callers:                  Oh god, yes.

Kaye:                       I needed that Jill.

Brian:                      And it does. The hotel trades complaint is that they have to abide by quite a lot of regulation to make the-

Callers:                  That’s correct.

Brian:                      Places safe and this type of accommodation doesn’t, so their complaint is it’s unfair competition because they’re competing and their costs are higher because these regulations put their costs up.

Kaye:                       Yeah.

Brian:                      So that’s the hotel trades complaint about it. I suppose from a visitor’s perspective, from what both Jill and Gillian are saying, the other aspect is that of it is if you’re a visitor, you’re visiting an area with a tour guide on tap. You’ve got somebody who’s going to tell you what the locals know, which a lot of people, that will appeal to over and above what you would get in a hotel or you might, okay that’s the job of the concierges in a lot of hotels but you know, if you go and stay in some of the hotels that you know are Premier Inn, Travelodge and all these various types-

Kaye:                       Yeah.

Brian:                      You’re not going to get that type of personalised service, and that’s possibly what people are looking for with this.

Kaye:                       Yeah, I mean, do you think Jill that people are coming because it’s going to be cheaper or they’re looking for a different kind of experience?

Callers:                  I think both. I think cheaper obviously-

Kaye:                       Can I ask you how much a room in your house is?

Callers:                  40.

Kaye:                       40 and what about you Gillian?

Callers:                  It’s 59 for two people, 49 for … Oh wait a minute

Kaye:                       Let’s not.

Callers:                  No, I don’t go by the money. I’ve got a room that’s 45 and I’ve got another bedroom that’s 40.

Kaye:                       Right.

Callers:                  I just enjoy it and I never know who I’m going to get next and I love it.

Kaye:                       So, are there any notes of caution or advice that you would offer to people Jill if they’re thinking about doing it themselves?

Callers:                  Not really, but you have to be aware because people are different. I’ve had no, and I honestly say it, I’ve had no bad things going on.

Kaye:                       Right.

Callers:                  But you do have to be aware and you know, it’s how much you trust somebody but I have had no, none.

Kaye:                       And how long have you been doing it?

Callers:                  Three years.

Kaye:                       Well, three years and you’re full virtually all the time and you’ve not had any negative experiences-

Callers:                  No.

Kaye:                       That’s pretty-

Callers:                  Some are untidy, some are … They nitpick but whatever … People, you know what I mean.

Kaye:                       Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Callers:                  And because I’m a super host, which is up on Tripadvisor

Kaye:                       Right.

Callers:                  They tend to, how shall I say it, they’re looking for problems.

Kaye:                       Right, okay. Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean-

Callers:                  I can handle it and I say this is what you get, this is it, so-

Kaye:                       Ah, yeah. I mean Gillian, have you got any advice that you would give to people or any kind of notes of caution?

Callers:                  Well, I think be flexible as Jill says. People are terribly different and have you know, come from different cultures and you know, you have to be patient and not expect them to immediately understand things, you know, even silly things like opening locks is different in different countries you know and it can be terribly irritating explaining to somebody how to open the door.

Kaye:                       Right.

Callers:                  Quite simple to me, but you know.

Kaye:                       Yeah, they’re just not used to it. Yeah.

Callers:                  Yeah, exactly. You just have to be flexible, patient and-

Kaye:                       Yeah, but overall, a really good experience for both of you.

Callers:                  Yeah.

Kaye:                       Nice to speak to you Gillian and Jill. Anyone else out there who is making a bit of spare cash out of their spare room, do get in touch and tell us how it works. Really positive for both Gillian and Jill there. If there are any negatives and it’s not to be nitpicking particularly, but there’ll be a lot of people, Brian, who are considering it and it’s always good to know some of the potential pitfalls that will come up. I mean, one thing that I’m interested in with the income, is it taxable?

Brian:                      Yes.

Kaye:                       Right.

Brian:                      It’s additional income, so you have to declare it to the taxman.

Kaye:                       Right.

Brian:                      We all get taxed on what we earn, so this is part of what your income is so you have to declare it.

Kaye:                       And presumably, the taxman will look at these sites and you know, be some people, I mean whatever kind of person would be tempted not to declare such a thing, but if anyone was going to think about that, you’re going to be able to get caught out fairly easily aren’t you.

Brian:                      Yeah, and I think it may be tempting for people to think oh, it’s only an extra couple of quid, you know it’s only £40 a night, what difference does it make, but the £40 a night then starts to add up and the danger of not declaring it because you think oh, it won’t really matter is that if at some point, the tax man does find out about it and comes back and says, and you’ve been doing it for four years, so here’s your much bigger bill than you were expecting-

Kaye:                       Yeah.

Brian:                      Comes along. That’s the biggest reason for just making sure that you’re open and declare everything that you’re making from it.

Kaye:                       Yeah, because it’s really reckoning, I mean if you’re talking roughly 40 quid a night and you’re full most of the time and you have a bit of … I mean you could be talking 8-10,000 a year-

Brian:                      Exactly.

Kaye:                       You know, so it’s quite substantial isn’t it.

Brian:                      Yeah, and one of the things to watch out for, this could be the type of thing that tips you from being a standard rate tax payer to a top rate tax payer.

Kaye:                       Yeah.

Brian:                      So there’s other things to consider about it, that it’s not 10 grand paid at your current rate of tax. It’s 10 grand and then you need to start considering, well if I’m going to make an additional 7-10 grand but actually, I’m only going to get five, six grand in my pocket or four, five grand in my pocket by the time I’ve paid tax and national insurance, is it as worthwhile as I really wanted it to be?

Kaye:                       Yeah, yeah. Well, as I say, we can take questions on that but we’ve got lots of questions come in on any aspect of property. Brian’s with us up until 11 this morning so 08085929500 and of course you want to text, 80295, let’s speak to Maggie in North Berwick. Good morning Maggie.

Callers:                  Hello Maggie … Hello

Kaye:                       How are you?

Callers:                  Thanks for getting your phone number today.

Kaye:                       I know, I can’t believe how that old one popped into my head. I apologise for that.

Callers:                  I know, I understand completely being in my decrepit ’80s.

Kaye:                       Oh, not at all. Now you’re in beautiful North Berwick.

Callers:                  Yes, it is and it’s sunny and gorgeous. I’m partially, we’re fixing a wee broken pipe outside but nevermind, that’ll sort itself out. My husband and I were discussing this morning over breakfast about the fact that our house is worth 350,000 at least because well, we’re not just lucky. We made it that way by being frugal but we would love £50,000 now to go and visit our daughters in various places which we’ve done but we feel we would like to do it in a more comfortable way as in business class flights and so forth, so before we get too decrepit, we would love that money you know, on the house to release that equity, but you know, where there’s a lot involved in that. Surely it can’t be as easy as that

Kaye:                       Well.

Brian:                      Well, first of all Maggie, the only problem with going business class is I understand, I’ve never done it. I understand once you’ve done it, it’s very difficult to go back to standard class, so make sure you get enough out for all future flights.

Callers:                  Well, maybe we could do and release 100,000-

Brian:                      Exactly.

Callers:                  Instead of 50,000.

Brian:                      Well, the most important thing, we talked before of we’ve all been encouraged to buy our home because that’s an asset that we’ll grow and it’s something you can leave and it’s something you can make use of, so there are lenders out there who will do lifetime mortgages. So what they will do is they will give you a better borrowing on your property and you’re not looking for a lot to borrow, you’re looking for what, about 15% of the value of the home and they fall into two categories. One is a lifetime mortgage where you pay off some of the mortgage through the remainder of your lifetime and then whatever’s the balance, whatever’s left of the lender gets their share of whatever it is, so it’s £50,000. If you paid 10 grand of that through time, or the other one is there are some lifetime mortgages where it is a simple case of you borrow that cash and they will take a charge over the property. They will take a first charge over the property for the amount that you borrowed and then when your estate is settled, they get their share and then the rest goes into the estate to be divvied up to the family.

Callers:                  Mm-hmm (affirmative). That was what we were thinking about, but then we don’t know the ins and outs obviously-

Brian:                      Best thing to do is go in-

Callers:                  And how do you do that-

Brian:                      Well, if you go and speak to a mortgage advisor, there will be mortgage advisors there who will be able to locate these types of lenders. There are also, there’s one major firm in the UK who specialises in doing travel arrangements and all sorts of things for people over the age of 55. They will have specialist people that you can speak to.

Kaye:                       Right. Does this come under the umbrella of equity release?

Brian:                      Yes.

Kaye:                       Right. Now that was discredited for a while, I don’t know if that was you know reasonable but it was something that people went, oh I’m not sure about that.

Brian:                      Yeah, because the biggest thing that people are concerned about is if you … The industry was tightened up. The biggest thing people are concerned about is excess of interest rates because there’s a talked about what you’re also doing is, there’s interest repayments on that debt that’s being released if you’re not making any repayments on it, so if you were to release equity at, so Maggie you said you’re 81, so if you got another 20 years and you live to 101, then there’s 20 years of interest to be rolled up in that as well to consider, so that is an additional cost.

Kaye:                       But that would come out of your estate.

Brian:                      But that will come out of the estate, but it is part of the reason you know people think, I’m borrowing 50 so when I pass away, my home’s worth £350,000 so my family will get 300 and 50 goes to the lender. Well, if you’re lucky enough to last that extra 20, 25 years, you’ve got 20, 25 years of rolled up interest that’s also going onto that so you could find that that £50,000 becomes £75,000 or-

Kaye:                       Right.

Brian:                      So that’s one of the reasons why people become concerned about it because they just see this debt accruing because there’s interest payable on it.

Kaye:                       Yeah, but do you know what Maggie, you’ve been frugal all your life.

Brian:                      You deserve it.

Kaye:                       It’s time to blow it.

Callers:                  Oh, I’m good at that. I’m an expert at that. I don’t need advice on travel arrangements and they all work out beautifully.

Kaye:                       Oh well, I mean it sounds like there’s some really good options for you there Maggie, so start-

Callers:                  Thanks for your help.

Kaye:                       Okay.

Brian:                      Okay.

Kaye:                       Pleasure, and when I see you on a flight and I turn right and you turn left, I wouldn’t grudge it one little bit at all. We’ve got more questions coming in for you Brian. 08085929500 anything to do with property at all.


Callers:                  Oh, hello Kaye.

Kaye:                       Hi, how are you doing?

Callers:                  Well, pretty good. It’s wonderful day in Auburn here.

Kaye:                       Yes, gorgeous here. It’s still summer, I think. Have you got your socks on Mike?

Callers:                  I always have my socks on.

Kaye:                       Oh, you’ve always got your socks on. Oh well, that’s the sign of winter for me, when you have to get your socks on. So what do you want to ask Brian?

Callers:                  I just really want to know how many solicitors you need to buy a house in Scotland. My wife and I have several houses in England and never had any problems buying and selling houses. When we moved here, we got this lovely Victorian semi in Auburn and then well suddenly surprised to find two new houses springing up next to it. Apparently, when we contacted the solicitor we used, who was a full fee solicitor, nothing cut price, and he said well we would have expected the surveyor to find this out and put it in the home buyers report, but the solicitor themselves never bothered to check it you see, so I’m just wondering … It also turned out that solicitors of Scotland are not covered by the same laws as in England. There’s one called the consumer protection act or something you know, which means they’ve got to have a duty of care towards their clients but that doesn’t apply in Scotland apparently. So I just wondered do you need two, three, four solicitors or what do you … How many do we need to protect?

Brian:                      Well Mike, you only need two, three, four solicitors if solicitor number 1 isn’t doing his job properly.

Callers:                  Yes.

Brian:                      There’s a solicitor for the seller, and a solicitor for the buyer.

Callers:                  Yeah.

Brian:                      If you’re buying and selling in Scotland, you have one solicitor who deals with both your sale and your purchase and there is … The property title searches-

Callers:                  Yes.

Brian:                      Are done by the solicitors and actually, they’re done by the seller’s solicitors, they’re exhibited to your solicitor, your solicitor then checks them off and makes sure that they’re okay and I am very surprised that the planning permission was in place prior to the … For these two properties next to you, prior to your purchase-

Callers:                  Yes.

Brian:                      I’m very surprised that that did not come up in the solicitors searches.

Callers:                  Well there were two reasons for it. One of the houses, the plot was 22 metres away from our house and the solicitor only bought us a 20 metres the seller’s solicitor, and also there was problems with the local authority boundary records as there are, you know, tens of thousands of problems, well across the UK all these old properties, so it wasn’t actually recorded on the land registry that our house was actually rewritten as 20 metres of this other new house.

Brian:                      So the ambiguity arose because if there’s planning permission, doesn’t matter how far away, if it is a joining your property, if it’s a neighbouring property, you should be notified so the-

Callers:                  Still happening across the world from us, yeah.

Brian:                      Yeah, so the ambiguity arises as to whether … Becomes down to titles, I mean you make reference there to ambiguity over titles. I’ve known transactions where there’s been a bit of an issue because modern technology means that the boundary line has been created and they’re going over a land title that was first generated about 200 years ago.

Callers:                  Yes.

Brian:                      And the thickness of red pens 200 years ago were thicker and so just getting down to the nitty gritty of is that in your land or my land has then-

Kaye:                       Right.

Brian:                      Caused an issue. So, part of it is just we’re a very old country. The registers of Scotland is the oldest land transaction record to place in the world, so part of it is just because our transaction records are so old.

Kaye:                       So is there anything that Mike can do?

Brian:                      Go to the law society. If he thinks that his solicitor has been negligent in what he has done, then has the solicitor-

Callers:                  Nobody been to the solicitors regulatory or the law society and as they said, the solicitor does not have a duty of care because they’re not this … Apparently this what I thought was a national law consumer protection regulations, applies to surveyors and people but does not apply to solicitors.

Brian:                      And the solicitors defence has been the surveyor in the home report should have flagged this up, is that correct?

Callers:                  Yes.

Brian:                      Well the other point of call would be to then go to the solicitor who did the home report and speak to him because he will be governed by the RICS and probably possibly his firm will be governed by the property ombudsman as well.

Kaye:                       Have you heard of this kind of thing before Brian? I mean, has Mike flushed out a bit of a loophole here?

Brian:                      Well, the ambiguous part is you’re buying a view, so that’s not … It’s very difficult. That’s not very tangible to then put a point on where does your view start and end and where do your rights over that view start and end, and that’s where the … Mike’s saying that it’s across the road, so it’s in a plot of road across the road. Somebody should have done a search for the local authority, particularly I suppose the solicitors defence might be, you should have identified to me that the view was very important, this will be … Where he’ll get out will be.

Kaye:                       Yeah.

Brian:                      You should have identified to me that the view was a be all and end all for you and I would have checked further than the 20 metres.

Kaye:                       Mm-hmm (affirmative), so it doesn’t sound as if Mike’s going to have a lot of joy here.

Brian:                      No, just make a lot of noise and see if you can get somewhere with it.

Kaye:                       Anyone to respond, yes, not clear cut. Brian, stay with us if you could because we’re going to speak to Jerry and Paul Kirk after this. 08085929500 if you want to put a question into Brian about any aspect of property. Bob from Purse wants to know how you see the property sales in Aberdeen sales going, so we can talk about that after the news with Sarah Tomb.

Right, Brian Gilmour, our property expert, is still here because he was so popular this morning, we got lots and lots of calls coming in and indeed questions, so we’ll run with this for a little bit longer. 08085929500 to call and speak to Brian or text him on 80295. We’ve got Jerry and Anne but just Bob texted in really early doors so let me ask you his question about Aberdeen. How do you see the property sales in Aberdeen going, Brian?

Brian:                      The Registers of Scotland have just released their 10 year review, pretty much from the crash till now. Property transaction volumes in Aberdeen are down 53%.

Kaye:                       On what period of time?

Brian:                      Over that 10 year period.

Kaye:                       Down 53% in a decade?

Brian:                      Yeah, so that’s demand and supply that drives prices. The average house price in Aberdeen just pre crash was 190, the average house price in Aberdeen today is 190 but I say, when the rest of the world was crashing, Aberdeen was still going up for, they went up for another two, three years and hit 230 before they came, so they’ve actually from about 2009, 10, come from 230 to 190, so they’re psycho for one for better way of putting it is slightly out of sync with the rest of us and it’s demand and supply that drives prices, so you can see that you know, transaction volumes are down.

Kaye:                       So how would you describe that market at this time?

Brian:                      I would say what seems to have happened is it’s levelled off, so where we are just now is it’s static, so what the rest of Scotland is you know, the last 12 years, the rest of Scotland had grown just round about 4% and Aberdeen was static. The rest of Scotland has been growing at about 2%, 2-3% for the last three or four years, so if you consider that Aberdeen started to crash four years after everybody else, they had their readjustment period. They’ve now got two, three years of static before they maybe start the two, three percent inflation.

Kaye:                       And what about rent, because that’s always been a big consideration, particularly when trying to get teachers there or other public service workers who, you know, are looking to rent property-

Brian:                      Well that’s one of the other aspects that’s compounded their downward spiral because one of the groups of people who always bought in Aberdeen were landlords or people moving in for a short period of time because I’ll then be able to rent and get good rental income. Rents in Aberdeen are falling when you look at Aberdeen and Glasgow and rents are going up in these cities above the rate of inflation and rents are still falling in Aberdeen, although again, they’re starting to … The fall is starting to level off.

Kaye:                       Right, okay. We’ve got Jerry in Falkirk. Good morning Jerry.

Callers:                  Good morning Kaye.

Kaye:                       Good morning, and you’ve purchased a house recently, yeah?

Callers:                  Yeah, so a few months ago now, obviously I viewed the property so I was well aware that it did require a lot of work in it. One of the issues that I have is it has an old white metre heating system. It doesn’t work at the best and I’d like some advice as to, or the best way to heat the property. It’s in a conservation area so there’s no gas and there never will be.

Brian:                      Okay. White metre heating has its challenges. Big storage heaters if people don’t know them, big storage heaters with concrete blocks that basically store the heat one day and put it out the next, but can be challenging in the weather we get in Scotland where it’s cloudy one day so you whack it up to store it, and then the next day, it’s gloriously sunny and you’ve got all this heat pouring out as well as the sun streaming in. You can get wet electric heating, which slightly more expensive to instal but then from there on, acts exactly like gas central heating. It has radiators, it pumps hot water through the system, and in terms of aesthetically what if you ever come to sell the property, people are expecting when they go and view a house, people expect to see radiators on a wall and that type of thing, so it conforms with what they’re expecting when they come to see the home as well.

Kaye:                       And how is it to run?

Brian:                      It’s slightly more expensive than gas central heating, but it’s probably … It’s much more manageable and reactive to temperature changes than white metre storage heating is, and it’s becoming more and more efficient. It used to be that you would need a water tank with a NAT system that was about seven foot high and they’re now about half that size, so-

Kaye:                       Right.

Brian:                      It’s become more efficient.

Kaye:                       Are you doing a lot of renovation Jerry?

Callers:                  Yes. Everything really, from … I’m halfway through putting in a new kitchen, replacement bathroom, eventually it’ll be windows, so yeah. I’m busy.

Kaye:                       And I remember when I was doing that with my house, something that I looked at and never pursued but people had suggested was something called ground source heating.

Brian:                      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kaye:                       Had you heard of that Jerry?

Callers:                  No.

Kaye:                       No, I mean I think it’s a very kind of green form of heating, but I think there’s quite a lot of insulation but then the running of it is really good.

Brian:                      Yeah, and it’s basically for my very amateurish explanation, it’s about the fact that about a couple of inches below the ground, the ground becomes a lot warmer. Any frost that we get in Scotland is just surface frost, so it’s about water pipes that are, there’s two ways that you can do it. You can either drill straight down and then come straight back up or you can zigzag backwards and forwards, but it’s basically just sufficiently below the ground level where the frost comes in, it’s efficient below there, that it pumps the water through and the action of the water running through there, marginally warmer temperature, heats it up.

Kaye:                       Yeah. It might be worth looking into Jerry if it’s, is it an old cottage you’ve got and you’re doing a lot of work?

Callers:                  Yes, it is. As I said, it’s in a conservation area so I’m kind of stuck with some of the work that I can do to the property.

Brian:                      Sorry to interrupt. One of the other things to do, there’s a Scottish government website for energy efficiency issues. You’ll have an EPC if you recently bought the property, but you need A green report that’s attached to it, but it’s about 100, £150, the report on your property but you get that back and the energy provider will go into your home and give recommendations on changes, so you’re talking about putting in new windows, so double glazing will be one of those things. I think the website is, if you Google HEEPS and there are some interest free loans available from the Scottish government to do energy efficiency and energy saving matters. It has to be things that have been recommended, so for example if you currently have double glazing and it’s just not very good, you’ll not get a grant or a loan for new double glazing but if you’ve not got double glazing at all, it will put it in. I mean, I’ve dealt with someone who they phoned up to get a new heating system and ended up getting a grant towards a brand new front door and new double glazing as well.

Kaye:                       Right, and they give you a bit of advice as well.

Brian:                      And they give you advice, so you go on the website, there’s a telephone number to phone. They will talk, there’s guidance as to what you can get and what is a maybe and what’s a no, but if you phone up, they’ll talk you through it, they’ll send out the form and you’ll know what you’re getting within a week, two weeks.

Kaye:                       Okay, well might be worth a try Jerry.

Callers:                  Definitely. I’ll definitely contact them and I’ll keep in touch.

Kaye:                       And check out ground source heating, I thought it looked really interesting at the time but I’d done so much work in the house but I just couldn’t face it, you know you get to that stage, you just think enough-

Brian:                      Yeah.

Kaye:                       I’m going to live with this, it’ll be fine. Good luck Jerry. Let’s have a word with Anne. Good morning Anne.

Callers:                  Good morning.

Kaye:                       Morning. Brian’s here. What would you like to ask him?

Callers:                  I had a buyer. Unfortunately, she wasn’t granted a mortgage and a structural engineer pointed out there was a major problem. Obviously this has came as a shock to me because I had three home … Well, I had one home report and two third bases in the 15 years and had never thrown it up.

It’s not actually started the work, but I have had the structural engineer do the report. Architects involved and now a builder who will be going to start, so I’ve gone now down the route of empty houses and I had a local person out yesterday who has listened and that might help me with deducing the VAT cost of some of the work, but I wondered was there any other way I could get help like you mentioned then interest free loans from the government for … I mean, I don’t know if I would qualify if one person. I know the housing associations get a lot of the money, so I wondered if single landlords is allowed some of that interest free loan money.

Brian:                      Single landlords do, but you need a tenant in situ for the single landlords to get the money.

Callers:                  Yeah, that’s the problem.

Brian:                      And you need the tenant to be qualifying for certain benefits.

Callers:                  I know.

Brian:    So if the tenant’s qualifying for certain benefits, then private rented sector landlords can get grants and interest free loans. You will, the property is empty so I’m not … In a habitable