NEWS

Extra property tax – but who will pay eventually? - February 02, 2016
The Scottish Government proposes to introduce a significant new property transaction tax of 3% on purchases of residential property where the buyer already owns a residential property. Effectively this tax on anyone buying a second home or a property perhaps to let out. The charge is likely to come into force on the 1st of April this year. Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the change in legislation was intended to help first time buyers. Mr Swinney said “our priority is to make sure that first time buyers have the greatest possible chance to get a foot on the property ladder” The move was met with a mixed reception. The Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland welcomed the new tax. Spokesman Ashley Campbell said “We welcome proposals to increase land and buildings tax for second homes and buy to let properties”. On the other hand John Blackwood chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords was scathing about the new proposals. He said “The supplementary tax on the purchase of second homes will have a huge impact on the buy- to- let market and exacerbate an already serious shortage of properties in many areas.” The new tax certainly is quite significant – kicking in as it does for all properties over £40,000 in value – which pretty well means every property. That means anyone buying a second property of £145,000 or over will pay a minimum m 5% tax with the rates going up at higher prices. So the cost of buying second homes is going to be hefty from April. David Borrowman of Caesar and Howie comments “Mr Swinney suggests this measure is to help first time buyers. I really don’t want to get into politics but I cannot agree with that suggestion – this is a revenue raising exercise pure and simple. The Scottish Government failed to make the targets it set itself with the new Land and Buildings Transaction Tax - and this is a way of raking in more revenue. Housing markets work best when buyers and sellers at any price level can complete transactions at reasonable costs – anything which artificially puts up these costs doesn’t help the market or anyone involved in it, or reliant on it. Personally I think “buy to letters” will probably still buy in reasonable volume, and the losers here will be tenants in the private sector – with landlords putting up rents to recover these extra costs”
Now is the time for first time buyers - August 01, 2013

First time housebuyers have been a bit of a rarity in Scotland over the last five years.  After the financial collapse in 2008 mortgage finance became close to impossible to get for “first timers”.  Even those who could get a loan were faced with having to find really large deposits.  Effectively therefore first time buyers all but disappeared from the market for several years. 

Gradually however things started to change.  Mortgage finance is a lot easier to get now and the Scottish Government with its Shared Equity initiative (LIFT) has made no deposit housebuying a real possibility for many individuals and couples looking to buy for the first time.  Lenders are reporting more “first timer” mortgages being approved and the number of purchase and sale transactions are now slowly on the increase.

Sandy Macfarlane – mortgage broker at Caesar and Howie believes those with ambitions to buy for the first time should move now.   “House price falls have stopped and indeed prices are beginning to increase again.  I think this trend will become stronger next year as the market picks up.  So now is the time in my view to get on that housing ladder.  Good mortgage products are available including no deposit shared equity schemes.  I think in a few years time the price you can get a “starter home” for now – will be seen to be a bit of a bargain.  So my advice would be buy now whilst the going is good.”
Boost for first time buyers. - August 01, 2013

The Scottish Government has announced new funding for their Open Market Shared Equity scheme.   This is a scheme where the government effectively provides an interest free deposit to first time buyers.  The scheme is operated under the LIFT mortgage scheme administered by various housing associations on behalf of the Scottish Government.  The scheme is aimed at first time buyers with low to moderate incomes – the idea being to help this group get on to the housing ladder.

The extra funding of £62 million over two years was announced by Housing Minister Margaret Burgess. 

Mortgage broker Sandy MacFarlane of Caesar and Howie comments.  “This is really good news.  We already have bought houses for many clients under this scheme which is relatively straightforward to apply for.  With the fact that renting property has become much more expensive over the last few years – many young folk will find it actually is cheaper to buy.  And with the likelihood that house prices will start to increase again as the economy gradually improves – I think buying under this scheme will be a really good deal for clients.  Actually we are already working flat out arranging LIFT mortgages – this will just make things even busier”

 

To see if you qualify contact 01506 815900 and ask for a free consultation.  

International Happiness Day - March 21, 2013

20th March 2013 is the first UN sponsored International Happiness Day.  The idea is to try to bring happiness to someone today.  Staff and Partners at Caesar and Howie, members of Solicitors for Older People Scotland will try to do something for someone to make them happy.  But what could the firm do?  Of course this day is not all about money – quite the contrary.  On the other hand it would certainly make a client happy to have their fee cancelled would it not?  This is not something for which lawyers are perhaps well known.

The lucky clients on this occasion happened to be Douglas and Alexandra Smith of Aberdeen whose Equity Release case settled today.  The legal fee note was cancelled completely.   “We are delighted” said Alexandra.  “We plan to do a complete garden makeover and other improvements with the money.  It was great news to hear we were getting the money today so quickly – then even better to hear our fees were being waived.”   Douglas added – “I had never heard of International Happiness Day but we are quite happy now I can tell you!  But we will donate some of our windfall to a local charity - hopefully that will help spread the happiness a wee bit further”.

David Borrowman, Senior Partner commented “This has been a bit of fun for all involved.  But there is a serious message behind the day and hopefully everyone reading this today will want to do something to bring happiness to someone close to them”.

Caesar and Howie Welcome Lift Mortgage Announcemen - March 08, 2013

The Scottish Government announced increased funding for the LIFT mortgage scheme this week.  Deputy First Minister announced £20 million will be made available to support the scheme through to April 2014. 

This money goes to assist first time buyers to buy property by the government effectively offering an interest free deposit, generally repayable on later sale of the property.  The Low Cost Initiative for First Time Buyers scheme has been in place for several years now – but the monies available this year have been increased by about £4 million.

Sebastian Kedziora of www.kupdom.co.uk – a specialist service run by Caesar and Howie helping Polish people buy in the UK comments “This will be a welcome boost.  We have many clients on our books who didn’t manage to get funding last year but who hopefully now can access some of these new funds.  There are properties available on the market now and we anticipate a busy year ahead”.

The senior partner of Caesar and Howie, David Borrowman feels this new funding will help generate activity in a difficult property market.  “Being unable to save enough of a deposit is a major difficulty for people - and this scheme gets many first time buyers over that difficulty.  Despite the economic conditions being tough, many young folk still aspire to buy houses and this scheme is a good way to get started.  I commend the Scottish Government for continuing to support the LIFT scheme”.

For information on how to access a LIFT mortgage see www.liftmortgage.co.uk

Finalists in Legal Awards - January 16, 2013

Twenty three finalists have just been announced in the Scottish Legal Awards 2013 sponsored by Scott and company. These awards recognize excellence in the Legal Profession.  Caesar and Howie is among the twenty three firms shortlisted as finalists.  Actually Caesar and Howie have reached the final in two of the awards categories - Innovation of the Year and also for probably the most coveted award of all – that of Firm of the Year.

Senior Partner, David Borrowman commented - “Whether we actually win either award remains to be seen.  We are just delighted to have been named as finalists.  It really is encouraging to feel that a prestigious panel of judges have recognised the effort and commitment our partners and staff put in to do our very best for our clients.  I am particularly pleased that our work with older clients has again been commended”. 

The judging panel is chaired by Margo Macdonald, MSP and the winners will be announced at a glitzy awards ceremony to be held in Edinburgh on the 28th of March. 

Terry Ann O’Donnell, Professional Relationship Manager at Caesar and Howie looks forward to the event.  “I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed – but we will enjoy the event win or lose and the best thing about the evening is that we all raise lots of money for charity”.

When will the market turn? - May 04, 2012

The Scottish residential house market remains very far from buoyant.  Prices remain subdued and may still be falling in many areas.  Outwith the cities many sellers face a very long haul indeed to find that elusive buyer.  On top of all that when the buyer eventually turns up he or she generally offers under the asking price or Home Report value.  Sellers have faced these tough conditions for fully four years now and you just have to enter the market as a seller with a gritty determination to see things through realistically.  On top of all this we now hear the UK is still in recession – hardly the news to excite anyone trying to sell their house.

Yet behind all this doom and gloom the fact remains that all markets for assets trend up and down depending on supply and demand.  Since people live in houses there will always be demand for them – but now much of that demand is met by letting the asset – not buying.  However, it is just possible now to identify some signs that the popularity of buying rather than letting may be returning. 

A recent Bank of Scotland survey found that there was “a considerable improvement” in affordability of houses in most areas of Scotland for key public sector workers such as nurses, teachers, police and fire fighters.

A further survey by the bank into confidence in the housing market showed a significant increase in the number of people believing house prices will go up in the next year.

On top of that the major Solicitors Property Centres – which sell most property in Scotland – report a modest increase in sales activity in the first quarter.

So perhaps for the first time in several years there is some modest evidence that the housing market is perhaps approaching a return to better times.  The next few months should tell if these “straws in the wind” turn into something significant. 

Lift Funds Increased - November 03, 2011

Housing Minister, Keith Brown has announced extra funding for the LIFT Scheme.  This is a government sponsored scheme designed to help first time buyers to buy houses in Scotland.  The scheme is intended to target in particular, those on low or moderate incomes and to assist them buy their first house.  Effectively, the government provides an interest free deposit to house purchasers wishing to buy in the lower cost sector of the market – often called the “starter home” sector.  In return for the interest free deposit the Scottish Government effectively takes an equity share in the property.  A further £4.65 million housing is being made available to help the Open Market Shared Equity, part of the overall Lift scheme.  This is that part of the LIFT scheme which allows purchases of second hand properties as opposed to “new builds”.

Figures suggest that the new money available could help around 250 first time house buyers into the market. 

David Borrowman, Managing Partner of Caesar and Howie, welcomed the announcement but suggests a sense of proportion be retained by all in considering the effect on the market.

David comments “Caesar and Howie favour the Lift scheme - we have introduced it to many of our clients and they have found it useful to them in getting a start on the housing ladder.  So it is good news if more money is going into LIFT – this is really a good scheme for young house buyers.  There are two things, however, which would make this scheme much more effective.  The restriction in giving these funds to tenants renting in the private sector should be removed.  Plenty of private tenants are desperate to buy and with private rents going up, this group may be needs more help than those tenants of social landlords – yet these tenants are given priority under the scheme.  Also the amounts of money going in are pretty limited.  The Scottish Government are right to look at ways of helping first time buyers.  When a first time buyer buys a property the seller usually buys a new property as well.  That means you could give the market a much needed fillip with this LIFT scheme.   But in all honesty at this funding level it is a bit like firing a couple of airgun pellets when you really need a barrage of artillery to get a result.  When the City of Edinburgh District Council (of all institutions) can find £150 million to fund social house building this government investment of under £5m in LIFT looks feeble.  So I would say to Mr Brown – you are on the right track – but much more money please if you want to get the market buzzing again.   

Pensioners avoid the worst of legal aid cuts - April 21, 2011

With a £900 million cut in the Scottish Budget next year it is clear various services must be hit.  A whole series of bodies including Age Scotland and the Scottish Association for Mental health have flagged up worries facing various sectors in society – particularly disadvantaged groups.

The Law Society of Scotland has joined the debate and warned that cuts in the legal aid budget would threaten the public’s access to justice.  An unseemly spat between some lawyers and the chief executive of the Scottish Legal Aid Board followed by disagreements between Glasgow lawyers and the Law Society of Scotland must have induced a sense of foreboding amongst the public following the debate.  With such bad news all around perhaps the whole system is in meltdown.

But in fact the truth is far from catastrophic at least for one group – older people in Scotland.   One little publicised feature of the Scottish Legal Aid system is that it is relatively generous to pensioners.  Through the “Advice and Assistance” element of the legal aid system a high percentage of Scottish pensioners can have basic legal work done absolutely free or at a significantly subsidised cost. Older people on a state pension only can be homeowners and have up to £250,000 in the bank and still be entitled to Advice and Assistance.  This type of legal aid does not cover court hearings of course but it does cover items of great interest and importance to older people such as the preparation of wills, powers of attorney and advance directives.

David Borrowman of Caesar and Howie   “I am pleased that his relative generosity to older people has remained in place meantime at least – with the Legal Aid Board at the moment looking elsewhere for cuts.   A key document every older person should prepare is a Power of Attorney appointing a trusted friend or relative to look after their affairs should they become unable to themselves. Powers of Attorney can still be prepared free of charge for many older people because of legal aid and I would hate to see that benefit removed.   But logically leaving that benefit in place probably reduces legal aid expenditure in the long run anyway.  Apart from anything else the cost of dealing with incapacity would go up because the less powers of attorney that are written the more court applications for guardianship there will be.  Of course legal aid remains available for guardianship applications – which are much more expensive.” 

David’s advice to older people and to those involved in pensioners groups is simple.

“Pensioners should act now - the three key family care documents, a will, a power of attorney and a living will can all still be done on legal aid. Do them now –  who knows what the future is going to bring anyway and who knows what the Legal Aid position will be in the future.“

LIFT Open Market Scheme re - open for first time b - March 18, 2011

For 2011/12 The Open Market Scheme will again be open to social renters (Council and Housing Association Tenants) and people in the armed forces or veterans throughout Scotland. Additionally the scheme will be opened up to help all first time buyers in certain defined rural local authority areas which are:

Highlands, Eilean Siar, Moray , Perth and Kinross, Aberdeenshire, East Lothian, Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Argyll&Bute, South Ayrshire and Angus

Would you like to find out more? Contact us on 0845 855 9900

Want to buy your first home with little deposit? - March 09, 2011

If you are a first time buyer with little deposit please see attached

Pensioners should act now to beat legal aid cuts - January 08, 2011

With a £900 million cut in the Scottish Budget next year it is clear various services must be hit. A whole series of bodies including Age Scotland and the Scottish Association for Mental health have flagged up worries facing various sectors in society – particularly disadvantaged groups. .

Now the Law Society of Scotland has joined the debate and warned that cuts in the legal aid budget would threaten the public’s access to justice.

One little known feature of the Scottish Legal Aid system is that it is relatively generous to pensioners. Through the “Advice and Assistance” element of the legal aid system, about 80 to 90% of Scottish pensioners can have basic legal work done absolutely free or at a significantly subsidised cost.

David Borrowman of Caesar and Howie is worried that this aspect of the system may change. “I really hope that whatever changes come to the system this relative generosity to older folk stays in place” says David...“A key document every older person should prepare is a Power of Attorney appointing a trusted friend or relative to look after their affairs should they become unable to themselves. We prepare lots of these free to the client because of legal aid and I would hate to see that benefit removed.   Apart from anything else the cost of dealing with incapacity would go up because the less powers of attorney that are written the more court applications for guardianship there will be”

David’s advice to pensioners and to those involved in pensioners groups is simple.

“Pensioners should act now - the three key family care documents, a will, a power of attorney and a living will can all be done on legal aid. Do them now – don’t’ wait. If this benefit is cut you will be too late.” 

 

Do It Yourself – at your peril. - August 20, 2010

(Senior Partner Ivor Klayman of Caesar and Howie sounds a note of caution)

We live in austere times these days.  Money is tight in most households and we are all looking for ways to get things done cheaply if we can.  DIY stores are apparently bucking the retail trend for that very reason.  We are also seeing from time to time some legal work being done by individuals themselves.  This seems to be limited to probably two areas of work, letting residential property and writing wills.  On the letting side some people are reluctant landlords rather than landlords of choice – with letting being a last resort when the housing market is poor.  These landlords may be trying to let “on the cheap” On the wills side there has always been a small number of people who go “DIY”.

Sometimes a DIY legal job is done properly but over my career, for every well done DIY job I have seen, I have probably seen 10 times as many failures.  That’s a pretty horrible ratio and the consequences for the individuals and their families can be  damaging and expensive to fix - if they can be fixed.

Not setting up a Short Assured Tenancy properly can make it very difficult to recover the property from the tenant.   Not serving Notices to Quit properly can have the same effect and cause significant wasted court costs.  On top of that there is now a mass of legislation placing obligations on landlords, where if any obligations are not met, the consequences are potentially extremely serious.  So letting a house in Scotland without understanding the legal framework surrounding residential letting in Scotland is risky to say the least.

On the wills side I have seen “self made “wills which vary from being completely invalid to ones which were wholly confused and contradictory.   I have even seen a DIY will which did not actually leave the person’s property to anyone!

If legal documents are to have legal effect, experience of drafting such documents and of the meaning of legal terminology is really necessary to get things right.

I would never dream of rewiring my own house because I don’t have the skill and knowledge of an electrician (and anyway, it would now be illegal!).  I think DIY in critical areas is simply dangerous and usually a false economy.  In our field we generally earn higher fees sorting out an estate for example with a shambolic DIY will than we ever would from doing a correct will in the first place.

And one last point – all Scottish solicitors carry compulsory insurance against defective work.  If a solicitor does make a mistake clients can be and are compensated for losses occurring.  This is a massive protection for the Scottish public and really should make people think twice before perhaps dabbling in drafting legal documents which if wrongly completed could cost them or their family dear.

GOVERNMENT MOVES TO REGULATE WILL WRITERS - July 14, 2010

One of the most important documents anyone will sign in their life is their Will.  The purpose of a Will is legally to transfer a person’s property to other parties on death.  That means the Will itself is a document of fundamental legal effect.  It should be written in such a way as to comply with the mass of law surrounding the transfer of property and the validity of legal documents.  Despite that, in Scotland Will writing is not regulated at all – anyone can call themselves a Will Writer and many people do operate as Will Writers who have no legal training.  The Scottish Government has now announced that it intends to close this loophole and put in place a regulatory framework under which Will Writers will have to operate.

Caesar and Howie welcome this move.  Senior Partner Ivor Klayman comments:

“This proposal is important and in my view cannot come quickly enough.  I’m sure there are capable non - solicitor Will Writers out there but that is not the point.  How can clients be sure that a Will Writer has the necessary legal expertise to write a Will validly and safely?  Only regulation can give some comfort here and I am all for that.”

Sarah Patrick, Executry Partner at Caesar and Howie agrees.  “I’m afraid I have seen some not great work done and high fees charged by non – professional Will Writers – even if this is not the story across the board.  But, I have had a long and arduous legal training – as do all lawyers – and I think that it is necessary to have this background to prepare Wills safely.”

Open Legal Day - June 01, 2010

Feniks Counselling, Personal Development and Support Services LTD in Glasgow
And The Caesar & Howie Group
Invite you to

Open Legal Day

We can help you with:

  • Ascpects of Employment Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Business Law
  • Family Law (divorces, separations)

When:

18th of June 2010  between 9am-1pm and 2.00pm - 6.00pm

Where:

The Pearce Institute
840 - 860 Govan Road
Glasgow
G51 3UU

To find out more please call on +44 78 53033213 or email on info@feniks.org.uk

Stamp Duty Cut Announced - April 15, 2010

Alastair Darling announced a change in stamp duty charged on house purchase in his last pre- election budget.  The changes are not actually a cut but a change in the rates – removing stamp duty for first time buyers buying up to £250,000 but increasing the rates for purchases over £1m.

In practice for Scotland however this is effectively a cut for most if not all first time buyers.   But will this change stimulate a pretty subdued market?

Property professionals seem mostly to feel the change may help somewhat.

"In the property market the last two years have been full of  mostly bad news – so anything positive is a bit of a help.  Certainly a big cost will be removed for many fist time buyers – and that can only be good” says Sandy McFarlane, mortgage broker at Caesar and Howie.  “But I’d like to see the Scottish government letting us know how much money they are going to make available under the Lift scheme this year.  That did help a lot of my clients last year and I hope it will do so again this.  On balance if Lift monies come available again from April – with the stamp duty cut now  also in place – there should be more activity seen in the first time buyer sector."

This view is confirmed by Sebastian Kedziora – who works with Caesar and Howie’s many polish clients buying houses in Scotland and indeed in the UK.  "A large number of would be Polish buyers didn’t get the loans they wanted under Lift last year – because of the rationing of funds.  If new tranches of money become  available under Lift this year I predict many more Poles will be buying houses in Scotland."

See www.liftmorgage.co.uk
See www.kupdom.co.uk 

Inverness Property Prices Surge Ahead - December 08, 2009

Many clients of Kupdom have been buying houses in the Inverness area.

Those buyers will be pleased then to have seen figures from the Lloyds TSB house monitor issued this week.  They show that the average price for a house in Inverness and the Highlands and Islands is £168,815.  Also the price shows a healthy growth of 6.9 % from the same period last year.

Not all parts of Scotland have experienced figures like that with Glasgow and Edinburgh still showing price falls.

Aberdeen showed the highest prices rises – averaging 13% - but the North now lies third behind Edinburgh and Aberdeen in the house price league.

Many Poles buying houses in Scotland have been drawn to Inverness and the North with Inverness now experience good population growth.

“I am not surprised at the figures” says Sebastian Kedziora from Kupdom.  “A lot of our clients appreciate the beauty of the North and many have found jobs perhaps a little more easy to come by than in some parts of Scotland.  It looks like they have been making a good investment buying there also – so I expect the Polish community in Inverness to continue to expand”

The Scottish House Market Is Returning To Health - November 16, 2009

Figures from various sources confirm that the Scottish House market is changing a little, with prices stabilising and even starting to increase slowly again.

The Registers of Scotland – where every Scottish house transaction is recorded – state that prices have gone up in the third quarter (July to September) by 6.1% from the second quarter.  That leaves the average price of a residential property in Scotland at £154,453.  The national average figures of course disguise significant regional variations, and in six local authority regions prices were still shown to be falling.  The biggest rise was in Perth and Kinross at 15% and the biggest loss was in Renfrewshire with a loss of 3.7%.

The picture therefore remains very mixed but at least after two years of bad news clearly there are some signs of a market returning to health.   Solicitors and estate agents, however report that trading volumes are still down and this is confirmed by the Registers who state that five thousand less house transactions took place in the third quarter this year compared with 2008.

Kirsty Jack, Property Manager at Caesar and Howie and who works closely with the Kupdom Project states “There are clearly some positive signs but our sales volumes remain at about half the level of two years ago.  I would say however that there are many people who would wish to buy but who still cannot get mortgage finance.  The house buying culture is still strong in Scotland and as the financial world slowly returns to normal I predict a slow improvement in prices and sales volumes over the next few years.  People buying a house now, I think will look back in a few years and think they have got a bargain”.

LIFT mortgages may Lift the market - June 22, 2009

The Low Cost Initiative for First Time Buyers is proving an attractive option for some first time buyers – and is bringing more activity to the housing market – at least that is the view of Caesar and Howie property experts.

Experienced mortgage broker Sandy McFarlane of Caesar and Howie comments – "I have never been busier on the mortgage front – mostly with LIFT cases.  We have learned everything there is to know about LIFT mortgages and provided you know and understand the criteria you can access LIFT funds as a deposit for first time buyers.  This will help meet the continuing demand for young couples in particular to get on to the housing ladder."

The scheme which is operated through housing associations effectively means you are gifted a percentage of the purchase price as a deposit – provided on a future sale the same percentage is repaid.  But with no interest payable this is an attractive proposition for many first time buyers who might struggle to save up the deposits now required by lenders.

There is a price limitation however – as the scheme is intended to stimulate the first time buyer sector of the market. Experienced property consultant at Caesar and Howie Vivienne Malcolm explains that the limits can sometimes be restrictive but do work. "The key thing is to know the price range in your local area – you can get these on the LIFT section of the Caesar and Howie website.  Once you know the range you can concentrate on finding a property within it – and with lots of properties going under the asking price you would be surprised what can be bought under the scheme.  And another benefit is that the scheme covers second hand and new properties – and some developers with the reduced prices they are seeking - have available new properties which qualify.  I think with sellers willing to do deals – it can be win win for some first time buyers using the LIFT scheme."

With sixty million pounds available to be lent under the scheme maybe up to 2000 purchases could be carried out using these funds.  Managing partner David Borrowman comments "This is clearly a help to the market at this time – it has been the lack of first time buyers over the last 18 months which has slowed things down.  If this group were to get buying again it would get everything moving since the sellers to this group would presumably also purchase."

To find out more please contact 0845 855 4411.

'Kup dom' in Newcastle - June 03, 2009

The global economic downturn and crisis in the financial markets might not seem to be the best moment for buying your own house. Fortunately, it is. Prices of properties are going down, demand on the market decreases, so there is plenty of apartments and houses to choose from. 

Sebastian Kędziora, Business Development Consultant in The Caesar & Howie Group commenting on the current situation in the property industry said: “Prices of real estates have gone down considerably throughout the last two years in the Great Britain. The situation was caused by the ‘credit crunch’. Nevertheless, having the big picture of the market situation, buying a house or an apartment in this moment in time is a very good investment for the future”.

Moving to a new country is an exciting and challenging experience for anyone. Apart from finding a job, the most important priority is to find a place to live. Renting a property can be a short term solution to this problem. Taking  a long term view you need to realise that money paid to your landlord or an agency are only gradually increasing costs – not an investment. Years are passing by quickly and you may suddenly wake up one day realizing that you are ‘on square no.1’ – with no money and no home of your own to live in.

Buying your own property seems to be a comprehensive task, but using professional help it is easier to achieve. Properties agencies or advisors offering legal and financial services like The Caesar & Howie group with its project ‘Kupdom’ have wide knowledge about the situation on the market and will assist you to succeed and buy a dream house.

Experts are able to analise quickly and assess if a property is located in undesirable neighbourhoods known, for example, for drug problems and youth crime. Professionals offering help in selling and buying real estates have knowledge to assess if a particular transaction is also a good investment. According to the golden rule for success in the property market - choose location rather than a property. That might mean less bricks and mortar for the money – but usually a better investment.

To find out more and get answers to further questions regarding the purchase of property in UK, we would like to invite you to attend a meeting on 6 of June at 2.00pm at The Globe Pub, Railway Street, Newcastle upon Tyne EH47AD. The seminar is organised within a project www.kupdom.co.uk , which has been awarded a prestigious Scottish Legal Awards for ‘The Best Marketing Initiative’. The Caesar and Howie group has a network of 17 offices across the UK. 

During the meeting, you will receive information on the current situation of the real estate market in the UK and Poland. The company will also present a comprehensive offer for people living in Poland who are interested to buy properties in the Great Britain for investing purposes.   

'Buy a property' Meeting
(Seminarium Kupdom)

Saturday 6 June at 14:00

The Globe
Railway Street
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE47AD

Caesar and Howie Spread the Word - June 03, 2009

Caesar and Howie were guests in attendance at the Scottish Pensions Association held in Loanhead Miners Welfare on Tuesday 26th May.

Members of the Firm’s Senior Issues team Terry O’Donnell and Suzanne Borrowman manned an information stall at the event and discussed legal matters of interest with delegates direct.  Managing partner David Borrowman made a keynote speech to the conference on the value of planning ahead to prepare for adverse life events.  Mr Borrowman explained to conference delegates what legal steps individuals could and should take to maximise the care of their family members should adverse life events occur.

The well attended conference heard some stimulating debate on various issues affecting senior citizens The conference’s other guest speaker, Tommy Sheridan, lambasted politicians for not improving the financial position of pensioners – a stance which met wide approval from the floor of the conference.

The Caesar & Howie Group - Law firm scoops awards - September 19, 2008

The Caesar and Howie Group, who have offices throughout the central belt, achieved huge prominence at the Scottish Legal Awards held in Glasgow on 18th September.  Nominated in no less than four categories the firm lifted the prestigious "Conveyancing Firm of the Year" award, fighting off competition from bigger city centre firms.

Not content with one award the firm then went on to win the "Up and Coming Firm of the Year" trophy, sparking off a night of celebration for the partners and staff attending the glittering awards evening.

Senior partner Ivor Klayman commented "I am delighted to have won these awards.  We have a great group of people in Caesar and Howie and we work extremely hard to ensure we give the best possible service to clients and also to ensure that we are as modern and forward thinking as we can be.  It's nice to receive recognition from our peers for that."

The Credit Crunch – is the end in sight? - September 16, 2008

We've had a year of bad news on many fronts.  We all first learned of the credit crunch last July and it probably took a bit of understanding for most of us.  Then gradually we saw in dismay the effects on individuals and businesses across the country – these effects are still being felt.

In the last few months however there has been nothing but good news in the Mortgage Market.  First there was that odd change in banking practice which allowed the Bank of England to step in and inject liquidity into the market.  Then the Libor rate came down followed tentatively by a few mortgage rates.  Recently mortgage availability improved dramatically with plenty new products available and signs of mortgage providers competing for business.  Now even 95% mortgages are available and amazingly rates are down to very close to what they were when the whole process started last July when the Northern Rock was forced to go cap in hand to the bank of England for money.

On top of all that we have the Government's "help the market" package which was criticised in some quarters but still provides definite savings for buyers in the crucial "£125,000 to £175,000" price range.  Even better news for house buyers – less good for house sellers – is the fact that house prices are down in most areas – but crucially there remain huge numbers of houses on the market.  This means deals can be done and buyers will steadily become aware of that.  Like all market movements there will be a turning point.  Have we reached it yet?  Maybe not quite,  but we seem to be edging ever more closely to it and it may not be very long till the "credit crunch" is nothing but a distant and unhappy memory.

Current UK Housing Trends - September 04, 2008

The effects of the “credit crunch” have hit the UK housing market pretty hard – perhaps more so in England than in Scotland.  From last July onwards it became more and more difficult for buyers to get mortgages so less buyers were in the market.   Transaction numbers in England went down form nearly 100, 000 last year to nearly 60,000 in the last year.  Because the supply of property on the market exceeded the demand to buy prices have dropped in England by just over 10’% , much less in Scotland.

We think buyers have been forced out of the market by lack of mortgage availability – we see no drop in the demand to own your home.  However mortgages have come down sharply in price, and are readily available again.  The Stamp Duty holiday announced by the government will produce savings of up to £1,750 in buying some houses – so things are getting easier for buyers.  On top of that there has never been a better time to negotiate prices – with many sellers realistically accepting lower prices.

At Kupdom we believe the longer term prospects for house prices are that they will go up.  This seems inevitable with population increase, increased immigration, an ageing population and differing family units adding to the pressure for more housing units in the country.  We would not say buying a house is sensible if you think you will be selling again quickly, but we do think most people’s motivation in buying is to find a good home for their family.   There are plenty now available on the market and they can be got at prices now which we suspect will look pretty well bargain basement in a few years time.

POLISH COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE FROM DRUMBOW HOMES - August 07, 2008

Drumbow Homes is one of the country’s leading, quality housebuilders and they are now working to meet the needs of the country’s growing Polish community to assist them as they seek quality housing in good locations. Appreciating that the purchase of a quality property can be difficult until full registration is granted, the housebuilder is introducing a number of ways to help in the interim, including various Rental and Let to Buy initiatives.

 As you would expect, Drumbow offer a range of excellent properties for everyone from young professionals and couples, right through to growing families, in locations across Scotland.

The housebuilder is currently active on a number of developments across Scotland including The Mill at Caldercruix, The Dell in Darvel and The Meadows in Blackridge.

At The Mill, centrally located in the heart of Caldercruix, 3 and 4 bed detached family villas, offering spacious and extremely comfortable living for families, are currently available. 3 bedroom end terraced BEECH homes as well as stunning 4 bedroom detached ROSEWOOD Bungalow are on offer at The Dell, Darvel in scenic Ayrshire. With young professionals and couples in mind, 1 & 2 bedroom cottage apartments are now available at The Meadows in Blackridge.

For further information on Drumbow Homes, its current developments and initiatives, t 01506 815940 or log onto www.drumbowhomes.co.uk
for further media information on Drumbow Homes, please contact;
Mary-Jo Devlin of Emjay PR M 07795 346970

Initiative pledges to double FTB deposits - August 07, 2008

Housebuilder Persimmon Homes and Halifax have teamed up to offer first-time buyers a helping hand with a brand new initiative, which will see the builder double the deposit of the prospective homebuyer.

The aim of the scheme is to help first-time-buyers bridge the gap between their savings and the minimum deposit needed for their home. This is achieved by making regular deposits into a savings account, with Halifax or Bank of Scotland, for a minimum of six months, with an upper limit of £5,000. If the savings are used as a deposit on a brand new Persimmon home, Persimmon will match the savings exactly pound for pound, thereby doubling the deposit.

David Bryant, group development director of Persimmon Homes, said the scheme was designed for any first-time buyer, from students moving through further education, to people in their 20s and even 30s who have been unable to buy a home.

He explained: “Indeed, it can make a real difference in people’s circumstances, on getting onto the property ladder or not. Not only will the ‘Double your deposit’ scheme allow more people to be able to afford a deposit for a new home, it actually encourages young people to save instead of spend.”

One in Five of Home Buyers in UK are Polish - May 22, 2008

One in every five home buyers in Britain is now a Polish immigrant, estate agents have revealed.

The new arrivals from eastern Europe are forcing up house prices as they work tirelessly to get on the property ladder.

The migrants are selling their properties back home to raise a deposit - making it more likely they will remain in the UK for good - or taking out 100 per cent mortgages.

Some estate agents are even employing Polish staff to cope with the demand, and make transactions easier.

Experts said that, when eastern Europeans began arriving in the UK following EU expansion in May 2004, most opted to rent - pushing up rental prices for Britons seeking homes in the private sector.

But many of the 600,000 arrivals have now decided to settle here, and are seeking to buy their own property.

The result is an increase in property prices, as more buyers compete for a limited pool of homes.

In the past year, prices have increased by around 10 per cent.

A survey by the estate agent Connells, one of the largest agencies in the UK, found one-fifth of its customers were Polish in some areas.

Spokesman Gill Rigby said: "It looks like Poles are buying property everywhere. When I asked around, I was told that there are several dozen Polish clients in each of our 150 offices. In some cases they are selling their property back home and buying houses here."

Karen Mocko, a manager at the Partick Williams Agency in Reading, said: "Poles form almost a fifth of all our clients, and it's growing all the time."

The Ceasar & Howie chain of estate agents said it has begun employing Polish staff.

Spokesman Jakub Maleszyk, himself a Polish immigrant, said: "Usually the Poles buy in the cheaper districts. Often they buy to refurbish houses or to build from scratch even."

He said that, as Poles often earn slightly above the UK minimum wage their entry to the property market is frequently fuelled by taking on large amounts of credit, many taking 100 per cent mortgages.

Banks also ask them to commit to stay in the UK for at least between two and five years after buying the house.

Mr Maleszyk said: "Until recently the banks were not that well-disposed towards the Poles but now they are taking them on more and more. They are quite surprised at how easy they are to deal with and how stress-free the whole process is."

The number of arrivals from eastern Europe is 20 times the Government's original estimate of only 13,000 a year.

But the Government has insisted most will eventually return home, and are taking up short-term opportunities.

The figures from estate agents suggest that, on the contrary, large numbers are intending to stay. Many towns and cities now have large - and ever-growing - eastern European communities.

These include Slough, in Berkshire, which has 10,000 Poles.

Earlier this week, a Government-sponsored inquiry found the massive migration was causing a number of social problems.

It cited noise and disruption around migrant housing, street drinking, breakdowns in refuse collections, tension over parking spaces and arguments in libraries where migrants "monopolise the Internet".

The Audit Commission report also pointed to problems with incomers who cannot speak English and with schools struggling to teach children who also lack language skills.

Via The Daily Mail

Polish service wins National Awards - April 07, 2008
Polish service wins National Awards
 
Sebastian Kêdziora, UK, 25-03-2008
Project Kupdom an initiative from Caesar & Howie to help Polish immigrants to purchase property has been recognized in this year’s Scottish Legal Awards. The company has 17 offices throughout the UK and picked up the coveted Best Marketing Initiative of the Year award. The first time the award has been won by a Polish initiative.

 

 

 

As part of Project Kupdom the firm employed Polish staff specifically to make the process of buying a house as smooth as possible for Polish clients. Managing Partner David Borrowman said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this prestigious award for “Kupdom”. Scotland has historical links with Poland - and many of this latest influx of Poles find they wish to settle permanently after enjoying their early experience of Scotland. Many of our clients say they feel they have been made welcome in the country and most seem able to get and keep good jobs so more and more want to stay. We now have hundreds of Polish clients either already buying or intending to buy.”

Caesar & Howie organized a series of seminars across the UK to raise awareness of “Kupdom”. The events organised by its Polish employees Agnieszka Kuna, Jakub Maleszyk and Sebastian Kedziora have been well received in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Falkirk and Leeds. The next seminar takes place in Newcastle on 29th March.

The success of the initiative is the result of the leadership shown by David Borrowman and the support of Caesar & Howie in giving the “green light” to the Polish employees to create “Kupdom” service. The Caesar & Howie Group are officially recognized as one of Scotland’s most progressive legal firms with a number of niche divisions in the group.

For more information about The Caesar & Howie Group please visit
www.caesarhowiegroup.co.uk and www.kupdom.co.uk
PERSIMMON GOES FLAT OUT FOR HOME HUNTERS - April 04, 2008

 

Persimmon Homes East Scotland knows the importance of offering high quality and highly sought-after properties with an affordable price tag, which is why the company has a range of attractive incentives on its apartments.

 

Persimmon Homes hosts a choice selection of one and two bedroom apartments. Ideal for first time buyers, down-sizers and investors alike, the apartments all boast spacious living areas and ample storage.

 

Patsy McLaren, Sales Director for Persimmon Homes East Scotland comments: “We’ve seen a rising trend in the number of househunters choosing apartments over the traditional style of houses.

 

“I believe low maintenance, increased security and value for money are just a few reasons why home buyers are now considering apartments to be the way forward, whether you’re a first time buyer, wishing to down-size or simply looking to invest. And with a wide range of flats, potential buyers will be spoilt for choice when looking for the home of their dreams.”

 

Prices start from as little as £99,950 for a one bedroom apartment. Persimmon apartments are now even more appealing thanks to the range of incentives currently on offer from Persimmon on selected plots.

 

Incentives include 3% Deposit paid or up to £5k discount or carpets and stainless steel upgrade. Alternatively, Persimmon can pay up to a maximum of £200 per month towards mortgage payments for two years.  These incentives are available on selected plots, at selected developments, subject to status, terms and conditions and use of a Persimmons-nominated broker and/or solicitor where necessary for reservations made on or before 29th February 2008.

 

Patsy McLaren adds: “Home buyers looking for a contemporary style of living should take a look at the stylish apartments and take advantage of this generous offer which could leave them with spare cash to help furnish their new home.”

 

For more information on the homes available, please call 08459 10 10 11. Alternatively visit the company online at www.persimmonhomes.com

 

ACCOLADE FOR FIRM - March 07, 2008

Local legal firm Caesar & Howie has been recognised in this year’s Scottish Legal Awards.

The Firm, which has offices in Dunfermline and Kinross, picked up the coveted “Best Marketing Initiative” category at the awards ceremony in Glasgow last Friday. The award is for the firm’s creation of “Kupdom” which is a division of Caesar & Howie specialising in helping Polish immigrants purchase houses.

“Kupdom” is Polish for “buy your home” and the firm has employed Polish staff with simultaneous translation capability to ease the process for Polish buyers.

Managing partner David Borrowman said, “ Scotland has historical links with Poland – and many of this latest influx of Poles find they wish to settle permanently after enjoying their early experience of Scotland.&rdquot;

“Many of our clients say they feel they have been made welcome in the country and most seem to able to get and keep good jobs so more and more want to stay.”

Fife & Kinross Extra Series

1st March 2008

Leicesterview - March 07, 2008
Project KUPDOM aims to make lives easier for Poles
 
Sebastian Kêdziora, UK, 19-02-2008

Project Kupdom from Caesar & Howie aims to help Polish immigrants in Scotland and England looking to buy property. Caesar and Howie was the first company to realize that a considerable number of Poles living in the UK could have problems getting onto the property ladder. So they established a dedicated Polish speaking team with mortgage advisors and solicitors to help Poles obtain finance and complete the transactions necessary to purchase a home in the UK.

David Borrowman - Caesar & Howie Managing Partner says: "Moving to a new country is an exciting and challenging experience for anyone. For Poles coming to the UK there is so much to learn, and so much to achieve it can be a daunting experience. But most Poles seem to be able to find places to rent initially and to get decent jobs. Many are making a very good impression with their employers as conscientious workers and are finding it relatively easy to move from starter jobs to perhaps more suitable ones with longer term prospects. To buy successfully it is worth imagining a scenario where you are forced to sell a few months after you move in! Will that property sell again quickly at the same or better price? You want a yes answer to that question – and if you get that you have effectively selected a desirable location. And that is the golden rule for success in the property market - choose location rather than property. That might mean less bricks and mortar for the money – but usually a better investment."
 
Caesar & Howie Managing Partners are concerned about newcomers considering buying a property, and want their decisions to be well informed. The Polish speaking team will take you throughout all the aspects of buying property, providing clients with professional care at every stage in the process.
 
The Kupdom Polish team has a lot of experience and boasts a large number of happy Polish property owners in the UK. This success was one of the reasons that Caesar & Howie with its Kupdom project is among the finalists of the 6th edition of Cuthbert Scottish Legal Awards final. If you are interested, more information can be found on www.kupdom.co.uk .

 

Local Legal Firm wins National Award - March 05, 2008

Local Legal Firm wins National Award

 

Well known local legal firm Caesar and Howie has been recognised in this year’s Scottish Legal Awards.

 

The firm which has 17 offices and over 30 display outlets throughout the central belt of Scotland picked up the coveted “Best Marketing Initiative” category at the awards ceremony in Glasgow last Friday. The award is for the firm’s creation of “Kupdom” which is a division of Caesar and Howie specialising in helping Polish immigrants purchase houses.  “Kupdom” is Polish for “buy your home” and the firm has employed Polish staff with simultaneous translation capability to ease the process for Polish buyers.  

 

Managing Partner David Borrowman comments: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this prestigious award for Kupdom. Scotland has historical links with Poland – and many of this latest influx of Poles find they wish to settle permanently after enjoying their early experience of Scotland.  Many of our clients say they feel they have been made welcome in the country and most seem able to get and keep good jobs so more and more want to stay.  We now have hundreds of Polish clients either already buying or intending to buy.”

 

The Caesar and Howie group are one of Scotland’s most progressive legal firms with a number of niche divisions in the group.

 

For more information about The Caesar and Howie Group please visit www.caesarhowiegroup.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Scottish Legal Awards - February 28, 2008
PETER RANSCOMBE reports from the 2008 Scottish Legal Awards – the ‘Oscars’ of the profession – when the leading firms in the country were honoured.
SCOTLAND’S first female judge, Lady Hazel Cosgrove, was the toast of Glasgow on Friday after receiving the Lifetime Achievement award at the 2008 Scottish Legal Awards. Lady Cogrove, who was born in Glasgow and educated at Glasgow High School for Girls before studying law at Glasgow University, became a senator of the college of justice in 1996.

In the other categories at the awards – which were sponsored by Bank of Scotland Corporate, with The Scotsman as the media partner – Anderson Strathern stole the show, walking off with three prizes, including the coveted TFB Firm of the Year title.

The firm’s Chris Dickson was tipped as Registers of Scotland rising star of the year, while a group from Anderson Strathern was also named as the DM Hall Commercial Property Team of the Year.

Robert Carr, Anderson Strathern’s chairman, said: “It’s not just about the people who are here today. It’s a real team success.”

Anderson Strathern beat off strong competition from Archibald Campbell & Harley, Gillespie Macandrew and Irwin Mitchell to carry off the top prize.

Previous firms of the year include Pagan Osborne (2003), Biggart Baillie (2004), Tods Murray (2005), Harper Macleod (2006) and last year’s champion, Gillespie Macandrew.

Margo Macdonald, the independent list MSP for the Lothians and chairwoman of the judges, said: “We’re delighted with our winners this year and congratulations to Anderson Strathern”.

Shepherd+ Wedderburn picked up a brace of prizes – Bank of Scotland Corporate, Corporate Team of the Year award and the AON Academy Choice Firm of the Year award – as did the Govan Law Centre, which won the Lightershade Website of the Year category for its bank charges site and the Sound & Vision Project Team of the Year award for its homelessness campaign. Alastair Sharp, who worked on the Govan Law Centre’s project to prevent homelessness, said: “This award is absolutely fantastic. It’s brilliant to be recognised by people at this level.”

Mike Daly, from the Govan Law Centre, said: “What’s good about our project is that it gives people long-term solutions to stop them becoming homeless.

He added that he was delighted that the centre’s bank charges project – which had helped bank customers claim back £1 billion in charges – had been recognised. He also paid tribute to the work of the Money Matters Advice Centre in Govan.

James Will, head of corporate finance at Shepherd+ Wedderburn, said he was “absolutely delighted” with the firm’s prizes. “ It was an extremely active year for the corporate team and we are very fortunate with the clients for whom we work,” he added.

Rebecca Cuthbert, director of Cuthbert Recruitment, the founders of the awards, said: “These awards recognise both Scotland’s legal elite and the aspiring rising stars of the profession. The process involved is rigorous, meticulous and totally independent. These winners are valid and important examples of business excellence. Congratulations to all the recipients.”

The prizes were presented by Alan Hansen, the former Scotland and Liverpool defender turned football pundit, who also entertained the crowd at the gala lunch. One of Hansen’s nephews – Gregor Boyd, a second-year trainee at Tods Murray – was at the awards ceremony, which took place in the Glasgow Hilton, with more than 550 other legal professionals.

Michelle Rankin, from Harper Macleod, was named as First Scottish Searching Paralegal of the Year, with Commended: Samantha Kennedy, from Purdie & Co, receiving a high commendation from the judges.

Simpson & Marwick took the ESPC Residential Property Team of the Year award while Tods Murray won the O2 Support Team of the Year category.

The Summerhall Marketing Initiative of the Year award went to Caeser & Howie, the central Scotland legal practice, for its Kupdom UK project, which encouraged Polish people to buy homes in Scotland.

Brodies was named as the Balvenie Private Client Team of the Year, while the Law Society of Scotland Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Firm of the Year award went to McGrigors, beating Tods Murray to the title.

In his entertaining introduction to Lady Cosgrove’s award, John Campbell QC, one of the competition’s judges, said: “The attainment of high judicial office is a great distinction, which is marked as much by the approval of peers and colleagues as it is by official recognition. To do it first is a great thing; but to do it convincingly, in a sustained manner, for nearly three decades, and retain the love and affection of your colleagues and those who appear in your court is quite something else.

“Without the least drama or histrionics, she has broken down the barriers of gender and religion to become a powerful force for good in the country’s highest court, especially in the criminal justice world.

“She quietly but effectively chipped away at the male public school protestant-dominated bastions, showing many of us how it should be done.”

The judges included: Colin More, from Bank of Scotland Corporate; advocate John Campbell QC; Michael Lugton, chief executive of the Scottish Law Commission; Robert Pirrie, chief executive of the WS Society; advocate Valerie Stacey QC; Dr Andrew Cubie; Tom Wood, special adviser on drugs and alcohol to Edinburgh City Council; David Lee, assistant editor of The Scotsman and editor of the Law & Legal Affairs pages; John Ferguson, director of development at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations; Andrew Sturgess, chairman of the Institute of Directors Scotland; Geraldine Gammell, director of the Princes’ Trust Scotland; Professor Tom Mullen, from Glasgow University; and Alastair Northrop, editor of Scottish Business Insider.

• For more information about the awards, visit www.thescottishlegalawards.com
Problems Encountered When Buying – and how to fix - February 21, 2008

Problems Encountered When Buying – and how to fix them.

If anybody has bought a house recently they will probably know that quite often any problems encountered when trying to negotiate the contract between the buyer and seller arise from practical issues rather than a legal issue. This article will look at some common practical problems which have to be dealt with by our conveyancing team when buying for clients. .

  1. Unauthorised alterations

The survey report may detail alterations carried out to the property. Some alterations may need various consents. Depending on the type of alterations carried out, different documentation is required. If the alterations are relatively minor the buyer will be looking for a building warrant and completion certificate to be in place. If the alterations are on a larger scale, e.g. a kitchen extension, then in addition to your building warrant and completion certificate, planning permission should have also been obtained. There is also an added complication if the property is listed as listed building consent will also be required.

If the seller can produce all the necessary building consents then all is well and good and the contract will be able to proceed without any delays, but what happens if the correct documentation has not been obtained? In this situation the seller will have to apply to the appropriate local council or approved architect’s firm to hopefully obtain a Letter of Comfort. The cost of this application differs from area to area but on average costs around £175. Once the application has been received a building control officer or architect will visit the property to investigate the alterations which have been carried out. Hopefully after this visit a Letter of Comfort will be issued.

Unfortunately sometimes the alterations do not comply with building regulations. In this instance a report will be received detailing what requires to be done to the property to allow a Letter of Comfort to be issued. In this scenario the buyer and seller can agree on what should happen next.

The first option is that Seller will be responsible for making the necessary renovations to the property to bring it up to scratch. If the changes have not been completed by the date of entry then the move does not necessarily have to be delayed. The buyer could make a retention from the purchase price until such time as the Letter of Comfort is received from the seller. The amount of retention should cover the approximate expected costs of making the alterations compliant.

The second option that could be agreed is that the purchase price will be reduced, on the proviso that the buyer will be solely responsible for remedying the alterations to bring them in line with building regulations. Obviously the reduction in the purchase price should reflect the likely costs the buyer will incur in doing this.

On most occasions any problems relating to alterations will be resolved between the conveyancers of the buyer and seller.

  1. Statutory Notices

A Statutory Notice is a Notice served on a property by a Local Authority demanding that certain repairs require to be carried out. Such notices are usually served on flats (and normally on tenement buildings). If a Statutory Notice has been served on a property the contract will be negotiated so that the seller will remain liable for the repairs under the notice. There is often a large time delay between when the notice has been served and when the repairs are carried out. To ensure the buyer’s interests are safeguarded it is the norm for a retention from the purchase price to be agreed. The money will be retained by the buyer’s agents until such time as the repairs have been carried out and final invoices have been issued. This may be in a few months times or several years down the line.

If estimates have already been issued then agreement on the level of retention is normally straightforward. If there are no estimates available then this may cause a few headaches. The seller may have to obtain his own estimates or if time is short and there is not enough time to do this guidance will have to be obtained to agree a suitable retention. Again the conveyancers for the parties can usually work out an amicable solution to let the transaction go ahead.

  1. Specialist Reports

The survey report may highlight that Specialist Treatments have been carried out to the property. Specialist Treatments includes treatments for wet rot, dry rot, rising damp and other infestations. If such treatments have been carried out the buyer will be looking for Guarantees. It is usual when such treatments have been carried out that a 30 year Guarantee will be issued. It can often be a very costly business to have such treatments carried out and the buyer would wish to be safeguarded against any such costs. Therefore the buyer will require the Guarantee to be handed over to them on the date of entry.

If no guarantees are available, and on advice of the surveyor, there may have to be negotiations between the buyer and seller as to how to proceed. It may be that a reduction in price may have to be agreed. Usually an agreement will be reached without things getting too heated. Very occasionally consensus can not be made, especially if the retention is a large one, and the sale may fall through. One point of warning however to buyers – guarantees in this area are sometimes quite restrictive and it is possible that any new work required may not be fully covered.

The above 3 problems do commonly occur in conveyancing transactions. The reader should be re-assured, however, that it is very rare for our conveyancing team not to be able to remedy the situation. On most occasions the problem will be ironed out allowing the sale of the property to proceed on the date of entry originally agreed.

KUPDOM IS MAKING POLISH FRIENDS’ LIVES EASIER - February 12, 2008

We invite you to find out more about our Kupdom project, which has been initiated by Caesar & Howie, a division of the Caesar & Howie Group. The Kupdom project is dedicated to those Polish immigrants in Scotland and England who want to buy a property in UK.

The main target of Kupdom project is giving a full service to help Poles obtain finance and buy homes in UK. We work with panel of mortgage advisers and solicitors throughout UK, so wherever you live, we are able to help you.
Caesar & Howie was the first company to realize that a considerable number of Poles living across UK could have problems with accommodation in Great Britain, that is why an idea has emerged to enable Poles to get on a property ladder in UK and make it easier for them to access the property market.

David Borrowman - Caesar & Howie Managing Partner said:

“Moving to a new country is an exciting and challenging experience for anyone. For Poles coming to the UK there is so much to learn, and so much to achieve it can be a daunting experience. But most Poles seem to be able to find places to rent initially and to get decent jobs. Many are making a very good impression with their employers as conscientious workers and are finding it relatively easy to move from starter jobs to perhaps more suitable ones with longer term prospects.”

He also added:

“To buy successfully it is worth imagining a scenario where you are forced to sell a few months after you move in! Will that property sell again quickly at the same or better price? You want a yes answer to that question – and if you get that you have effectively selected a desirable location. And that is the golden rule for success in the property market - choose location rather than property. That might mean less bricks and mortar for the money – but usually a better investment.”

As we can see, Caesar & Howie Managing Partners are concerned about newcomers who should think about buying a property, and want their decisions to be well informed.

That is why Caesar & Howie Group decided to create a Polish speaking team under the Kupdom project. We will take you throughout all the aspects of buying property, providing all our Polish clients with professional care at every stage in the process.
The Kupdom Polish team has a lot of experience and boasts a large number of happy Polish property owners in UK.

This success was one of the reasons that Caesar & Howie with its Kupdom project is among the finalists of the 6th edition of Cuthbert Scottish Legal Awards final.

We invite all our Polish friends who are interested in buying a property to work together with us and use our service.

Scottish Legal Awards - February 06, 2008

Who will emerge victorious when the Scottish Legal Awards are presented?

THE winners of the 2008 Scottish Legal Awards will be named at a gala lunch on Friday 22 February at the Glasgow Hilton.

The competition, now in its sixth year, has attracted a lot of interest, with organisers reporting a steep rise in the number of entries and rising competition at the top tier of legal practice.

Four of Scotland's five largest legal firms are represented on the awards shortlist, with Brodies, Maclay Murray & Spens, McGrigors and Shepherd + Wedderburn all in the running.

The chasing pack, including Anderson Strathern and Tods Murray, are well represented, as are mid-tier firms, such as Gillespie Macandrew, Harper Macleod and Morton Fraser.

Many smaller, more specialised firms are also represented among the nominees, including Balfour + Manson, Bird Semple, Caesar & Howie, Millar & Bryce and Purdie & Co. The organisers report that two of the individual awards provoke some "interesting debate" at the judging session.

The shortlist for the First Scottish Searching Paralegal of the Year Award includes: Andrea Barbour of Balfour Manson; Samantha Kennedy of Purdie & Co; Neil McNab of Archibald Campbell and Harley; Michelle Rankin of Harper Macleod; and Richard Smith of Gillespie Macandrew.

The second hotly contested category is the Registers of Scotland Rising Star of the Year Award, which is designed to pick out high achievers early in their careers. The category will be contested by: Louise Cockburn of Archibald Campbell & Harley; Chris Dickson of Anderson Strathern; and Maryam Labaki of the Scottish Young Lawyers Association.

Rebecca Davies of Cuthbert Recruitment, the awards' organisers, says: "The range and depth of skill of these individuals is phenomenal and I hope that our awards can give them the recognition that they truly deserve."

Away from the individual awards, the organisers report that a diverse range of entries were also received in the categories for support services.

Millar & Bryce goes head-to-head with the Govan Law Centre for the Lightershade Legal Website of the Year Award.

In the Summerhall Marketing Initiative of the Year category, three firms will fight it out for the top honour. Caesar & Howie was shortlisted for its campaign to attract Poles to buy houses. Blackadders was nominated for its rebranding, while Maclay Murray & Spens also received the nod for its marketing efforts.

According to the competition's organisers, some of the most spirited debate at the judging session came when the judges considered the nominees for the Law Society of Scotland Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Firm of the Year Award. McGrigors and Tods Murray go head-to-head in the contest.

Alan Hansen, the football pundit and former Scotland and Liverpool defender, will be the guest speaker at the Cuthbert Scottish Legal Awards lunch, which is sponsored by Bank of Scotland Corporate, with The Scotsman as the media partner.

Tables at the 2008 Scottish Legal Awards can be booked by calling KDMedia on 0131- 624 9844 or by visiting www.thescottishlegalawards.com

The full article contains 493 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper

Last Updated: 03 February 2008 7:47 PM

Scotland bucks house price fall trend - January 22, 2008

Scotland bucks house price fall trend

January 17, 2008
In news which may be of interest to those who are about to buy a house in Scotland, the latest housing market survey by the Royal Institutions of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) shows that the house price balance dropped to its lowest level since November 1992.

According to Rics' figures, 49.1 per cent more chartered surveyors reported a fall than a rise in house prices in December, compared with 40.6 in November 2007.

Surveyors reported price falls across all regions in England and Wales. Only in Scotland have assessors told of price rises, which is likely to be welcomed by those about to sell a house in Scotland.

Rics spokesman Ian Perry said: "The housing market is clearly feeling the pinch from the credit crunch and the round of interest rate hikes in 2007.

"While sentiment seems to have reached its lowest ebb, the underlying economic conditions are vastly different to what the country experienced in the early 1990s."

The survey also shows that four per cent more surveyors registered a rise than a fall in new instructions to sell property, compared with seven per cent in November.

According to Knight Frank, the country house market fell by a slight 0.04 per cent in the final quarter of 2007, although Scotland saw price rises of one per cent.
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House price tide turns for a new year - January 07, 2008

The housing market has turned. Last week, Nationwide reported that house prices had fallen for two consecutive months for the first time in seven years.

The worries are confirmed by the Council of Mortgage Lenders saying the number of home loans approved is plunging sharply.

A gloomy picture but one that must be taken in context. Since 1997, house prices have risen 179pc from an average price of £70,000 to £195,000 today. Nationwide's figures show the market is still 5pc higher than a year ago, despite the falls. So, until now, most homeowners have probably had a solid return on their investment.

However, the fall in house price inflation is great news for first-time buyers, whose numbers have dwindled to record lows. Wage inflation should make housing more affordable.

First published in The Business - London's First Global Business Magazine

Law firm helps Poles buy first Scottish homes - November 08, 2007

Law firm helps Poles buy first Scottish homes

A NEW service set up by a West Lothian legal firm has helped dozens of Polish people buy their first homes in Scotland. Bathgate-based law firm Caesar and Howie set up the service last October, which aims to help Polish migrants understand the house-buying process in Scotland. Since its launch, more than 300 Polish people looking to buy homes in Scotland have signed up for the service and 30 have already bought houses. The firm also now employs several full-time Polish staff and has a number of paralegals learning Polish to help with the service. David Borrowman, managing partner of Caesar and Howie, said: 'We were very keen to let the Polish community know that, providing they have the correct documents and appropriate finances, they can purchase a property in Scotland.' This article: http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=1297652007 Last updated: 16-Aug-07 14:01 BST .

realandestateandwisconsin-news

Re-structuring at Caesar & Howie - November 08, 2007

Re-structuring at Caesar & Howie
November 2007

Central Scotland law firm Caesar & Howie has been re-structured and will now come under a single umbrella brand known as The Caesar & Howie Group.
The re-structuring at the the 200-year-old firm sees all of its services now being offered by five divisions. The five divisions of the new group are:

  • Bereavement Legal Services (BLS) - provides discreet help and support for those left to deal with the legal and practical issues that follow the death of a loved one.
  • Senior Issues (SI) - provides advice and support for elderly people in the UK on everything from legal, welfare and financial issues to health and leisure tips and equity release.
  • Kupdom - a specially tailored service to the Polish community in the UK, which helps Poles obtain finance to buy homes throughout the UK.
  • Central Scotland New Homes (CSNH) - an informative website for those who are interested in purchasing a new property in this exciting region.
  • SPORTSassist - the scheme that allows providers to pay amateur sports clubs that market their services, via a SPORTSassist marketing payment. The idea is that clubs will have a continual source of income, rather than have to rely on sporadic sponsorship deals.

Managing partner David Borrowman said: "Traditional legal firms need to move with the times, a fact of which we have known for a number of years."

"Now, with the prospect of a deregulated Scottish legal market, where competition will open up and the rules will be changed, it is even more imperative that we stay ahead of the game."

"However, no matter what, our clients will always be guaranteed a first class service from every one of our ever expanding divisions. We are looking forward to the continued expansion and success of the business well into the 21st century and will continue to look at ways in which our services can be improved upon."

2007 THE FIRM

Integration Event in Whitburn 02.11.07 - October 22, 2007

Opportunity for young people across West Lothian!

"Equality Diversity and Celebrating Difference"

Friday 2nd November 3pm - 9pm held in Whitburn Community Education Centre for 12 - 25year olds across West Lothian.

The event is free of charge, transport will be provided and food will be included. The young people requiring transport will travel from various pick up points across West Lothian(for further information contact your local Community Education Worker or Youth Worker and pick up a parent/ guardian consent form – if you are under 16years of age). The day will be officially opened at 3pm and there will be a range workshops offered including, arts, mask making, henna tattooing, sports, music, cultural dancing (Chinese, African, Scottish, Belly dancing etc), there will be card making, sign language and drumming workshops. Foods offered for evening meal will be of 5 choices (Indian, Chinese, Scottish, Polish and African). From 6.30-8.00pm you can pick a second workshop then this will be followed by a disco and a chance to learn different types of cultural dancing! Transport will be available to take the young people home from 8.30pm onwards - come along and join in there will be something for everyone!

For further information phone 01506 776478(Claire Dougall)

or 01506 653014 (Catherine Roberts)

BuyYourHomeUK Seminar Glasgow - October 18, 2007


Good quality of life 'tempts people to buy in Scot - October 18, 2007
Good quality of life 'tempts people to buy in Scotland'
October 12, 2007
A high quality of life and a strong business sector have been identified as reasons people move to - and buy property in - Scotland, it has been asserted.

James Whiston, director of sales at property and estate agency firm Rettie & Co stated that the recent high performance of "big hitters" such as Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Life, combined with a "very good" quality of life, has drawn people to the region.

He added that at the same time, some consumers may make "a lifestyle decision" to purchase a home in a typically Scottish locale - such as by a loch or in a rural location - and such a decision may be made regardless of house prices, in news that may interest those looking to purchase a new home in the region.

According to last month's Halifax House Price Index, the average price of a house in Scotland is £141,158, a rise of 14.2 per cent from September 2006.
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Law firm helps Poles buy first Scottish homes - October 02, 2007

A NEW service set up by a West Lothian legal firm has helped dozens of Polish people buy their first homes in Scotland.

Bathgate-based law firm Caesar and Howie set up the service last October, which aims to help Polish migrants understand the house-buying process in Scotland.

Since its launch, more than 300 Polish people looking to buy homes in Scotland have signed up for the service and 30 have already bought houses.

The firm also now employs several full-time Polish staff and has a number of paralegals learning Polish to help with the service.

David Borrowman, managing partner of Caesar and Howie, said: ‘We were very keen to let the Polish community know that, providing they have the correct documents and appropriate finances, they can purchase a property in Scotland.’

This article: http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=1297652007

Mortgage Clinics Together with First Mortgage - September 24, 2007

We have organized Mortgage Clinics together with First Mortgages. If you want to meet with a mortgage adviser – please call us 0845 8559900 or email enquires@kupdom.co.uk to make an appointment at any of the days and locations detailed below.

  • Mondays from 15:00 to 17:00 - First Mortgages, Leith Walk, Edinburgh
  • Tuesdays from 17:00 to 19:30 - First Mortgages in Falkirk
  • Thursdays from 15:00 to 17:00 - First Mortgages in Newington
House-buying Made Easy for Polish Peope - September 18, 2007

Housing Dilemmas & Practical Solutions

Much confusion surrounds important lifestyle issues that British people take for granted, particularly the process of buying property. Within the Polish community there are many myths surrounding the housing market, and many people are unsure if they are even allowed to buy property.

Practical Solutions
Aware of this confusion and discovering that there was very information for Polish buyers, Scottish law firm Caesar & Howie has introduced a service dedicated to helping Polish people obtain finance and buy property in the UK. The firm employs several full-time Polish staff and has several others currently learning the language. It works with a panel of mortgage advisers and solicitors throughout the United Kingdom, so a quick phone call is all it takes to get things underway.

‘We are very keen to let the Polish community know that, providing they have the correct documents and appropriate finances, they can purchase a property in Britain,’ explains managing partner David Borrowman. ‘Some may be worried about the stress of attempting to buy a house in a country where they do not fully speak the language. However, our service offers guidance notes in Polish and also expert guidance from our Polish home buying advisers.’ On top of this, if required, Polish speakers will attend meetings with lawyers and mortgage lenders to explain procedures in their native language.

Jakub Maleszyk is one of Caesar & Howie's specialist home buying advisers to the Polish community, and having himself bought a house in Scotland last year, he is now keen to help his fellow countrymen and women follow in his footsteps.

‘Many Poles are unsure what is required when buying a house in the UK but often find it is much easier than buying property in Poland,’ he says.

‘One priority is a deposit of around 10 or 15 per cent of the value of the house but cash should also be laid aside to cover things that need to be paid before the deal is closed. That can include solicitor's fees and outlays, mortgage broker fee, valuation and lender’s costs. Potential buyers should be in full-time permanent employment and able to provide a P60, three months' salary slips, employer details, a national insurance number and a salary reference. They will also need to disclose details of all loans they have, which could affect the amount offered.’

Other requirements include proof of identity and address and, if it is a joint application, this information is required for both parties. A three-year residential address history, which can include an overseas address, should also be provided.

Piotr and Anna Hreska Case Study - September 13, 2007

Piotr Hreska (40) moved to the UK from Poland 2 years ago. Like many Polish settlers, he spent the first year of his life here in London in rented accommodation while he secured a job, saved money and looked for a place to settle down with his wife and son.

Anna (40) and Mariuz (15) joined Piotr a year later, and when the family visited Scotland for the first time in April 2006 they fell in love with the country and decided to make it their home.

By June 2006, Mariuz was enjoying life as a pupil at High School and Piotr had a job as a full time groundworker in

Livingston. Feeling that they were settling in well, the Hreska’s were keen to lay down roots in the country they had adopted as their home. Piotr explains:

“We originally moved to the UK to provide a better future for our son. When we saw how well he was doing at school, and how much he likes it here, we were keen to buy our own house rather than pour all of our money into rented accomodation.

“Our landlord informed us that it was possible for us to purchase a property in Scotland, but as my wife and I only speak a little English we thought that it would be impossible to embark on the house-buying process. However, we contacted Jakub Maleszyk, a specialist home buying adviser at Caesar and Howie, and were delighted to find out about their Polish translation service, which removes the language barrier from the process, and their step-by-step guides to requirements and procedures.”

With the help of Jakub and Sandy at Caesar and Howie, the Hreska’s began looking for a house in early September 2006, secured a mortgage, and were settled in their new Livingston home by 31st October 2006.

“Although we were uncertain about the process, everything went very smoothly, as Caesar and Howie did everything on our behalf,” explains Piotr. “The translation service was invaluable, and made everything so much easier.”

“In Poland you have to deal with all the documents and property checks yourself, which takes a good deal of time, so we were very pleased when we learnt how fast the Scottish process is in comparison. There is also a requirement to pay stamp duty on all properties in Poland, so we feel that we have benefitted in several ways from purchasing a property in this country.”

“We are so happy with the way that everything has worked out for us here. Mariuz has been given such a warm welcome at the school that he would like to make Scotland his permanent home, and it has been relatively easy to find employment. Obviously there are certain things with miss about Poland, such as the good weather, but then there are things in Scotland that make up for this, such as the beautiful countryside (and the whisky!).”

Piotr and Anna can now look forward to the value of their house increasing over the years, and have already encouraged other Polish people to follow in their footsteps:

“Some Polish people are worried that attempting to buy a house in a country where they do not fully speak the language will be stressful, and some Poles think that they are not able to buy a house in the UK at all. However, the dedicated Polish house-buying service at Caesar and Howie addresses all these concerns. We have now recommended Caesar and Howie to three other Polish families who are looking to buy homes here.”

Law firm polishes up its act to help newcomers buy - August 31, 2007

Caesar and Howie has set up a special service which is dedicated to helping Polish people buy a home in the UK.

Since its launch last October, 300 Polish people have signed up to the service, and 30 have already bought houses.

The firm now employs several full-time Polish staff and has a number of paralegals currently learning Polish.

With at least 30,000 Polish immigrants living in Scotland, David Barrowman, managing partner of Caesar and Howie, believes the service his company is providing is vital.

Mr Barrowman said: "We were very keen to let the Polish community know that, providing they have the correct documents and appropriate finances, they can purchase a property in Scotland.

"Some Polish people may be worried about going through the process of buying a house in another country when they don't speak the language, something they fear may be extremely stressful or risky.

"Our service addresses this, with guidance notes available in Polish and help in understanding the process provided by our Polish home buying adviser, Jarub Maleszyk, in Polish or English as required."

Jarub bought his own house in Scotland last August and is now keen to encourage other Polish people to follow in his footsteps.

He said: "Many Poles are unclear as to what is required when they want to buy a house in Scotland.

"However, many will find that it is actually much easier than buying a house in Poland!"

The Polish home buying website can be accessed at www.buyyourhomeuk.co.uk or www.kupdom.co.uk

Law firm helps Poles buy first Scottish homes - August 28, 2007

A NEW service set up by a West Lothian legal firm has helped dozens of Polish people buy their first homes in Scotland.

Bathgate-based law firm Caesar and Howie set up the service last October, which aims to help Polish migrants understand the house-buying process in Scotland.

Since its launch, more than 300 Polish people looking to buy homes in Scotland have signed up for the service and 30 have already bought houses.

The firm also now employs several full-time Polish staff and has a number of paralegals learning Polish to help with the service.

David Borrowman, managing partner of Caesar and Howie, said: "We were very keen to let the Polish community know that, providing they have the correct documents and appropriate finances, they can purchase a property in Scotland."

The Scotsman 16.08.07 http://news.scotsman.com/edinburgh.cfm?id=1297652007

Wirtualna Polska - July 09, 2007

Polish emigration to the UK and the Republic of Ireland since the May 2004 entry into the European Union has reached 500,000 to 2 mln people, research firm ARC said in a report out Thursday.

The firm's base-line estimate is of 750,000 Poles in the UK and a third of that in the Republic of Ireland.

Half the emigrants have no plans to return within four years.

"Only half of the emigrants have realistic plans to return to the country, that is they plan to return within four years," ARC Rynek i Opinia Vice-President Adam Czarnecki said.

The average Polish migrant to the UK is relatively young and well-educated. Three-quarters of the emigrants are in permanent employment with half of those performing skilled manual work.

read more...

Polished performance from Caesar & Howie - June 18, 2007

One of Scotland's oldest law firms has reinvented itself in advance of Clementi-style changes to the legal services market by introducing a multi-branded web-based strategy.

 

Bathgate-based Caesar & Howie has launched a string of specialist websites selling legal services to specific market niches - including Scotland's burgeoning Polish population, pensioners and members of sports clubs.

Founded in 1792, Caesar & Howie started the push into cyberspace last autumn with the launch of several targeted web-based services, and several more are in the pipeline. Each new service has been given a distinct brand identity, and they are not immediately identifiable as being provided by a traditional law firm.

read more...

A Puzzle and a Prize - June 08, 2007

As Scottish – Polish links continue to increase – with Poles continuing to come to Scotland to work and many planning to stay – my thoughts stray to the many historical links between our countries. I previously wrote about the fascinating story of Lieutenant Josef Kosacki inventing the mine detector whilst stationed in St Andrews. Now I have come across the intriguing story of “The Scottish Book”.

“The Scottish Book” was a notebook which was started Lwow which was a major Polish city in the 1930’s. (Lwow is now Lviv and within the borders of Ukraine) The purpose of the book was for mathematicians who worked in the city to record in it mathematical problems – and for them or others after discussion to inscribe into the book the solutions to these problems. The group of mathematicians met regularly informally in coffee houses in Lwow to discuss these problems. Most of the meetings were apparently held in an establishment called “The Scottish Coffee House” - and it was after this establishment that the book obtained its name.

Apparently the practice was for the head waiter in the The Scottish Coffee House to keep the book in a safe place and to bring it out when requested for problems or solutions were to be entered into it.

The city of Lwow suffered occupation by the Russians and the Germans during the war. Some Russian mathematicians apparently even continued the tradition of entering mathematical problems in the book – with prizes offered for solutions.

The fate of the original book is not known but a typewritten transcript apparently of it has survived. As a non - mathematician however I find the transcript pretty well indecipherable!

However this is a fascinating story and following the tradition of “Puzzles and Prizes” in The Scottish Book we at Kupdom would like to offer a prize of £100 to any of the visitors to our site who can provide us with an explanation as the why “The Scottish Coffee House” in Lwow was so named. Since we have probably got no way of checking the truth of answers we get – we will treat this competition as a bit of fun – and pay out to the most convincing answer!

Answers to enquiries@kupdom.co.uk. Best of luck!

David Borrowman

Kupdom Team Expands - May 31, 2007

Caesar and Howie the Central Scotland Law group is strengthening its specialized house buying service for Polish immigrants by adding to its team of buying advisors.

Two new recruits Agnieszka Kuna and Piotr Jaworowski have started in KUPDOM’s Livingston offices.

Agnieszka Kuna has been settled in Scotland for four years and is a fully qualified interpreter. Agnieszka has had a background in teaching English and interpreting but now wishes to chance her arm in the fast moving house purchase market – considering a possible career in conveyancing. “This is a great move for me” said Agniezska, “I am getting a lot of training in Scottish Law and this will give me the opportunity to consider getting a legal qualification. In the meantime I hope my interpreting skills can help a lot of our clients”.

Piotr has a slightly different background in that as well as working with KUPDOM he is studying for a Bsc in Building Surveying at Napier University. “Working here and being involved in legal contracts and so on fits in well with my studying at university. I hope eventually to be a qualified surveyor and the more I can get my teeth into property work the better. “

Both Agnieszka and Piotr form part of a team now of seven in Caesar and Howie ‘s Kupdom division - comprising an administrator – three housebuying advisors and two paralegals, all under the watchful eye of Caesar and Howie’s business development and marketing manager Karen Dodds and Conveyancing Associate Lesley Cunningham. “There’s never a dull moment in the office” says Karen with telephone calls from Poland, new clients arriving and even Polish lessons on the go.”

“Due to demand our service is expanding a little – with Divorce and Accident claims also being catered for – but our core service remains house buying – which is more and more in demand as more Poles decide to settle here” said Karen. The recent survey published by Joseph Rowntree Fundation seems to confirm Karen’s predictions. According to a survey, at least half of eastern European immigrants in Britain intend to stay here, the longer a migrant stays, the more likely he is to remain in the new country, the study said.

Lesley confirms this trend “ More and more Poles seem to be becoming confident about buying in the UK, and we are also finding more of our clients have a little more knowledge of the process than when we launched this service over a year ago. Mind you if someone had told me three years ago that we’d be having weekly Polish lessons in the office I’d have told them they were mad!”

Full details of the service can be found on www.kupdom.co.uk.

Buying for Polish Newcomers - May 23, 2007

David Borrowman of Kupdom gives a big tip.

Moving to a new country is an exciting and challenging experience for anyone. For Poles coming to the UK there is so much to learn, and so much to achieve it can be a daunting experience. But most Poles seem to be able to find places to rent initially and to get decent jobs. Many are making a very good impression with their employers as conscientious workers and are finding it relatively easy to move from starter jobs to perhaps more suitable ones with longer term prospects.

It is perhaps at this point – when people have settled in to the country and wish to stay permanently – that the more difficult decisions come up – should I buy property and if so what type and where?

Well of course proximity to the workplace is a main consideration – but after that I would encourage some fairly thorough research into the local property market before making purchase decisions. This can be done fairly easily these days over the internet and with local agents and by a physical visit to various neighbourhoods. This gives buyers a feel for the prices, the demand, and the area.

Too often I have to say – newcomers zone in on property which appears to offer extensive accommodation for a cheap price. When that is the case there is usually a reason - sometimes related to the quality of the neighbourhood. One Polish client felt he’d found a “great buy” being a flat which appeared to offer all the accommodation he needed at about half the expected price. With local knowledge we were able to advise him that this property was in fairly undesirable neighbourhood known for drug problems and youth crime.

To buy successfully it is worth imagining a scenario where you are forced to sell a few months after you move in! Will that property sell again quickly at the same or better price? You want a yes answer to that question – and if you get that you have effectively selected a desirable location. And that is the golden rule for success in the property market - choose location rather than property. That might mean less bricks and mortar for the money – but usually a better investment.

House prices gain momentum in April - May 22, 2007

House prices across the UK gained momentum in April, according to the latest figures released by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).

And in news likely to be welcomed by investors in property north of the border, the strongest performances were once again demonstrated in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

While 30 per cent of surveyors in Scotland reported no increase in prices, the remaining 70 per cent all reported rises, while 15 per cent identified an increase exceeding eight per cent.

Meanwhile, new buyer enquiries stabilised after rising sharply in March, Rics reports.

Ian Perry, a spokesman for the institute, said: “Last week’s interest rate hike may not be the last as the housing market has not slowed as quickly as expected given the initial round of rate rises.

”With prices buoyant and conditions still tight another rate rise later in the summer looks likely.”

Current experience in Caesar and Howie tends to confirm this news.   David Borrowman managing partner states “we have seen no slackening of demand or easing of prices since the last rate rises.  I think there are factors at work in the Central Belt of Scotland which will tend to keep the market buoyant for some time to come.  In particular immigrants from other parts of the EU are adding to demand mostly in the first time buyer sector – which is often the first to show a response to interest rate rises.   So we see house purchase as a sound investment still”