Fitzrovia: A Guide to the Area

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Estate Agents in Fitzrovia often refer to the area as having a metropolitan feel with a bohemian history.  This unique area has so much to offer its residents and Davis Brown have put together a guide with all you need to know.

Where is it?

Fitzrovia is surrounded by Marylebone, Soho and Bloomsbury and sits partly in the City of Westminster and partly in the London Borough of Camden. It covers the area between Euston Road,Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road and Great Portland Street. Landmarks include the Grade I listed Fitzroy Square, as well as the sky scraping BT Tower.

Did you know?

It is thought the term Fitzrovia dates back to the 1930’s and takes its name from the Fitzroy Tavern, a small public house on the corner of Charlotte Street that became the epicentre of the local community. Previously the area was seen as an extension of the West End, however as artists and writers flocked to the area, Fitzrovia took on an identity of its own.  Famous residents such as George Bernard-Shaw, Virginia Woolf, John Constable and George Orwell helped establish the area as a bohemian, creative hub. However it was not until 1994 that ‘Fitzrovia’ appeared on Ordnance Survey maps and the area was officially recognised.   Today, Fitzrovia has over 6,500 residents and is workplace to over 50,000.

Fitzrovia has been home to Davis Brown Estate Agents since the early 1900’s, and it is one of the longest established independent Estate Agents and Chartered Surveyors in the area.

Getting about

There are five tube stations within Fitzrovia – Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Goodge Street, Warren Street and Great Portland Street with access to the Northern, Victoria, Central, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith and City lines. Cross rail, due to be fully operational in 2018 will also serve the area, stopping at Tottenham Court Road. All stations are located within zone 1 with an annual travel card costing £1,284.

Things to do

Fitzrovia offers a wealth of different activities and things to do from a trip to Pollock’s Toy Museum or the BBC, to a wander round the Getty Gallery which regularly puts on different exhibitions of its famous photographs. After you could try the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon tea at the Sanderson Hotel (prices from £48 per person) or test your knowledge with a pub quiz at The Albany (240 Great Portland street every Tuesday evening).

Hungry?

Whether you are looking for a light lunch or a blow-out dinner, Fiztrovia has plenty on offer. Brunch at the ever popular Riding House Café on Great Titchfield Street provides a fantastic start to any day. Father and son venture Kin on Foley Street is a delicious vegetarian option for lunch time and customers can either eat in or take away. For something a little more exotic, head to Lima in Rathbone Place – this was the first Peruvian restaurant to be awarded Michelin status and it won’t disappoint.

Meet up hotspot

For your daily dose of coffee head to Kaffeine on Eastcastle Street or for those of you cocktail lovers, take a pew at The Reverend JW Simpson on Goodge Street.

What’s on offer?

Fitzrovia has so much to offer its residents, from excellent schools to picturesque parks.  For those of you looking to bring up a family Fitzrovia has several state and private schools, including a bilingual French school.  Fitzrovia also has a variety of parks and open spaces – Regents Park and Queen Mary’s Gardens are a short walk and serve as a haven for cyclists and walkers alike.  All Souls Church Langham Place is a fantastic spot to watch watch the world go by.  If you are looking for some culture, seek out the blue plaques dotted around the streets which feature snippets of local history and information.

Property in Fitzrovia is a diverse mixture of old and new.  Roads such as the desirable Goodge Place are characterised by Georgian townhouses, however more modern developments such as the much talked about Fitzroy Place offer modernity and luxury.  From the Grand Grade I Listed Fitzroy Square to the large sixties council development Holcroft Court on Clipstone Street, property prices are inclined to vary hugely.

Property

A report published by Lonres in December 2014 indicated an 11.4% increase in average price paid per square foot in Q4 2014 compared to Q4 2013.  Fitzrovia has some exciting new residential developments, not to mention Fitzroy Place – one of the newest squares in W1 for over 30 years, boosting demand for the area in both the sales and the letting market.   Goodge Street has subsequently seen some gentrification with its many pop-up restaurants enticing the ‘foodies’

However, I think that most agents will agree that there is some uncertainty in the property market with the run up to the general election.   The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) published a report in February 2015 which stated that Chartered Surveyors in London have reported falling residential property prices which is no surprise with a potential ‘mansion tax’, the recent reform on stamp duty and the ‘envelope’ tax.

Historically, it is widely known that property transactions are often lower before a general election; however the RICS reports that on average respondents expect to see prices rise by 2.4% over the coming year and by an average of 4.5% per annum over the course of the next 5 years.

As the old adage goes – buy low, sell high.  These might be challenging times but perhaps a market we should consider embracing?

For more information about properties in Fitzrovia, please Contact us today and speak to Emma our Residential Manager, or Sarah-Jane our Residential Negotiator.

A Guide For Tenants

Looking to rent in London? Here at Davis Brown, we have over 100 years of experience in residential lettings in London and W1 and we wanted to share our knowledge with you, to help make your journey from offer to let a little easier. Here’s our five-step-guide.

  1. Making an offer & agreeing terms
  2. Firstly book in a selection of viewings with different estate agents in the area you wish to reside in, whether it’s Covent Garden or Fitzrovia. Once you have found a property you like, Davis Brown will put forward your offer to the Landlord. It is important you provide as much information as possible in your proposed terms. Usually if the offer is agreed it will be subject to contract, satisfactory reference checks and cleared funds at the commencement of the tenancy.

    We will also ask you for an initial payment (also known as a holding deposit) equivalent to two week’s rent to reserve the property whilst we undertake the necessary reference checks and tenancy paperwork. As is common practice, acceptance of the reservation fee does not imply a tenancy and is non-refundable should you withdraw your offer at any time for any reason.

  3. Referencing
  4. Davis Brown will obtain and verify references by an independent reference agency. You will be asked to complete an application form which will normally ask for your personal details, employment details and contact details of your current or previous Landlord.
    If you are studying in the UK, we will require confirmation from your educational establishment and details of a UK based guarantor. The guarantor will also need to complete a credit reference application. Should you be unable to provide a UK based guarantor, the Landlord may require the rent to be paid in advance for the total term of the tenancy.

  5. Tenancy Administration
  6. A tenancy agreement to let the property will be prepared which will form the legal obligations between the Landlord and the tenant. You should ensure you take the time to read through the agreement thoroughly. Each party will be asked to sign a copy of the agreement and have their signature witnessed. Once both agreements are signed they will be dated and the contract becomes legally binding.

  7. Initial payment
  8. As estate agents in W1, we will send you a Request for Payment outlining the break-down of costs required to be paid prior to the tenancy start date and collection of keys. The break-down will usually consist of:

    1. First rent payment, i.e. one month if monthly, three months in quarterly, six months is bi-annually.
    2. Deposit – usually equivalent to six weeks’ rent
    3. Administration fee – £180 inc. VAT
    4. Reference check fee – £30 inc. VAT per applicant and £12 inc. VAT per guarantor

    Unless otherwise stated, we will hold the deposit as ‘stakeholder’ in a separate client account protected under the Tenancy Deposit Scheme for the duration of the tenancy. At the end of tenancy the deposit will be returned, less any agreed deductions and following written consent from both parties.

  9. Inventory and Check-in
  10. On the day of the move-in, you will be asked to meet an inventory clerk at the property where they will assess its conditions and contents. The clerk will normally hand over the keys unless you have otherwise collected a set from our estate agents office in Fitzrovia. Once moved in, you will receive a copy of the inventory report and a welcome pack if the property is managed by Davis Brown Estate Agents.

    As a tenant under the terms of the tenancy agreement you will be responsible for the following:

    1. Gas
    2. Electricity
    3. Water
    4. Telephone services
    5. Council tax – students should note that they would still need to register for Council tax, although in most cases students are exempt from this charge.
    6. It is advisable that applications to the utility companies should be made at least 7 days prior to the commencement of the tenancy to allow sufficient time for the accounts to be opened.

    Now you’re moved in, unpacked and organised it’s time to start enjoying your property! Contact us to speak to Emma our Residential Manager, or Sarah-Jane our Residential Negotiator.

Our guide to choosing a Chartered Surveyor in London

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Are you buying a property in London? Do you require a Red Book Valuation? Do you have a party wall and need advice? A Chartered Surveyor plays an important role in most property matters and we have prepared a simple guide on the types of services we can offer and some important considerations when choosing a Chartered Surveyor.

The basics

A Chartered Surveyor is a Property Professional who plays an important role in a multitude of matters.

All practising Chartered Surveyors must be qualified and are regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Most companies will display the RICS logo or you might see the words MRICS or FRICS after a Chartered Surveyors name. You can search for a Chartered Surveyor in London via the RICS website.

What do you want?

Chartered Surveyors offer a range of professional services. For example you might be looking to extend the lease on your flat and require a Chartered Surveyor in London to assist on the lease renewal process and adjuring the correct premium payable and negotiations. You may require a building survey or homebuyers report if you are purchasing a property and have any concerns; or you might be thinking of excavating your basement and require assistance from a Chartered Surveyor on party wall matters.   Other services can include valuations, rent reviews, rating appeals, enfranchisement, project management, schedules of dilapidations amongst other services!

Chartered Surveyors generally specialise in certain disciplines or services. It is therefore important to find a Chartered Surveyor in London with specialist experience and a reputation in the service you require.

Shop around

Before instructing a Chartered Surveyor in London, we recommend obtaining some quotes first.   You are then able to compare and contrast between companies and spot any areas that need clarifying.   Talk to the Chartered Surveyor about their experience and knowledge. Do they have any experience in your type of property?

Davis Brown is one of the longest standing independent property consultants in Fitzrovia and with over 150 years combined experience; we believe we offer our clients a valuable and professional service. Our surveyors are regulated by the RICS and we take great pride in being part of this professional organisation.

Should you wish to get in touch, please contact us on 020 7637 1066.

Choosing a Commercial Property Agent in London

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Are you looking to acquire new offices? Purchase a freehold building? Or are you thinking of letting or selling your commercial premises?  Davis Brown is a firm of Commercial Property Agents in London and we have written some simple guidelines for choosing a commercial property agent to deliver good professional advice.

Buying, selling and letting commercial property in London takes a lot of time, work and knowledge. Obtaining specialist advice from a Commercial Property Agent is of the utmost importance to ensure your requirements are taken care of in a professional manor.  Commercial Property is an important aspect of any business so ensuring your commercial property affairs are handled with professional care and due diligence is key.  Here’s how to get straight to the best Commercial Property Agents in London.

Ask for recommendations

If you are looking for a Commercial Property Agent in London you should first obtain recommendations.  There are often there are a few names that will immediately stand out and this can help you narrow your search.  Don’t be afraid to phone your preferred Commercial Agent and ask them for their customer testimonials – this will give you a much clearer idea of the quality of the service that they offer.

Look online

Most commercial agents in London will have an informative and impressive website detailing their services and their history in the industry. Look at reviews on the company you are interested in. There is a wealth of information available online, including guide prices for particular services, so it’s worth undertaking some research before going any further.

Get some quotes

Before giving your custom to any one of the commercial agents in London, it’s a good idea to get a few quotes first. This way you can compare and contrast and spot any areas that need further clarification. Once you have some quotes that you are happy with, you can decide on the commercial property agent that you feel confident to deliver the professional service you require

Davis Brown are highly respected commercial agents in London.  With years of knowledge and experience you can be confident that we will deliver a service that exceeds your expectations.  Visit our website to find out more about what they do and the services that they offer. Alternatively call David Green, our Head of Commercial Property, to discuss your requirements.

Turning your home into a property ready for rental

Renting out your home is a brave move for anyone, especially in central London. However, to make the transition from home to rental property a little easier, Davis Brown Estate Agents W1 has created a step-by-step guide.

Mortgage

If applicable, first and foremost you must obtain consent from your mortgage provider. It is usually one of the conditions of your mortgage that you apply for permission to sub-let the property.

Leasehold or freehold?

If you own the property on a “leasehold” or “share of freehold” basis you will also need to gain consent from the management company and the superior landlord to let your property out. It is essential to check the terms of your head lease prior before letting your property. Davis Brown offer property management services for residential landlords so we can ensure that consent is gained before you let your property. Speak to one of our Property Managers to find out more.

Insurance

You will also need to inform your insurance provider (building and contents) as it is essential that you maintain full cover during the period that you are letting out the property. Your provider may also wish to make alterations in order to cover a third party residing at the property.

Condition

Take a good look at the condition of the building, interior and exterior. These things must be taken into consideration before letting out your property, and it is essential to have any necessary work done before moving a tenant in. Davis Brown Chartered Surveyors London can provide a full survey of your property and organise any works that need doing.

Energy

How is energy provided to the property? Is there gas in the building? A legal requirement of advertising and letting your property is provision of an Energy Performance Certificate and a Gas Safety Certificate (where applicable). These must be undertaken by qualified and registered engineers. You may also want to check when your boiler was last serviced along with the radiators and other basic utilities. Davis Brown Estate Agents W1 can organise Energy Performance Certificates and Gas Safety Certificates and help with making sure you are complying with regulations.

Décor and Furnishings

Once you have the legalities sorted, you can decide how you want to present your property. Will you let it furnished or un-furnished? Can you make use of any previously wasted space to create an extra bedroom? Is the kitchen up to date and in good condition? Applicants prefer new, modern fittings and neutral tones such as white or light grey. Davis Brown Estate Agents Fitzrovia has an in house design team who can help you with all aspects of the interior of your property.

Now that your property is ready for rental, take a look at Davis Brown’s Landlord Guide for more information about letting your property with us.

What to Consider Before Talking to Commercial Agents in London

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Buying commercial property is always something you should be careful about, but you should be especially wary when buying commercial property somewhere such as London. Here are some tips on what to consider before making the next move of talking to commercial agents in London.

Carefully Consider Location
When considering buying commercial property you should consider the location very carefully before talking to commercial agents in London. If you pay a lot of money for property that is in the best area now, the case might be very different in years to come and you might waste your money. The reverse is obviously also true. Rather than choosing somewhere ‘in’ but unpredictable, it might be better to choose an area that is generally good but not risk massive loss. Similarly, you may also find that your budget doesn’t cover certain areas and in this case you should always go for something within your budget, rather than risk your financial stability.

Carefully Consider Costs
Another thing to consider before talking to commercial agents in London is the general costs of buying property, including deposits and any legal costs. Evidently it is expensive to buy commercial property, so you should ensure that you are not spending money that you might need if business slows. On the one hand, you will have property that you can sell. But you may also find that you have to sell the property for less than you bought it for and thus lose out.

Including Unexpected Costs
Similarly, you also need to consider unexpected costs associated with buying property – and these often depend on what you are buying the property for. If you are buying the property to rent out to people then you need to consider how you will cope if renters stop paying. Can you afford to cover costs if tenants don’t pay? Can you afford legal costs to chase these payments? If you are starting a business then you also need to evaluate the potential success or failure of the business – it’s generally not the best of ideas to buy property for a business that has not yet shown any success. Other costs, such as building repairs and commercial property tax, can also creep up on you so it is important that you consider this too.

For more information and to talk to commercial agents in London visit Davis Brown.

Estate Agents in Fitzrovia: Should You Rent or Buy?

Fitzrovia Estate Agents - Rent or Buy

When you’re looking for a property in London, you may want to enlist the services of estate agents in Fitzrovia. However, before you do this it might prove beneficial to consider whether you want to buy or rent property first. There are, of course, benefits and drawbacks to both, so it is important to carefully consider what exactly it is that you need.

Rent
Renting property is, of course, preferable to buying property if you are only going to live in the area for a short period of time. Even if you are unsure of how long you will be in the area for, it is still wise to rent. However, people with small budgets also find it preferable to rent property as they would struggle to pay a mortgage. Other costs, such as a deposit, are often significantly less when you rent so it is often more feasible financially than buying property.

Buy
When buying property there are a number of things you need to consider. First of all, you need to be sure that you will stay in the area for long enough for it to be reasonable to have a mortgage. Although most mortgages are portable, there may be complications or fees if you want to move home again. You also need to be sure that you can afford the mortgage. Although your bank will assess you before they give you a loan, there are some other things worth considering like the likelihood of you having children. The house you can afford now might not be so affordable with a few children to pay for too. That being said, if you can afford the deposit and the mortgage, and you’re not planning on moving house again anytime soon, then buying is often the better option and what you should discuss with estate agents in Fitzrovia. Evidently, when you rent property you are paying to live somewhere but never get anything else in return. When you buy property, however, you also own the property at the end of the payments.

Whether to rent or buy is also important to consider in when it comes to decorating and pets. Lots of landlords are strict when it comes to decorating, as they will have to rent it to someone else if you move on. Any extravagant colours or themes, therefore, are often frowned upon or banned by landlords. Similarly, lots of landlords won’t allow pets in their property for fear of noisiness and damage. So if you plan on having animals in your home it may also be beneficial to consider buying when discussing your options with estate agents in Fitzrovia.

For more information about commercial and residential property to rent or buy in Fitzrovia, visit Davis Brown today.