15 May Homeowner to do list
You can’t avoid the headlines at the moment. This year is looking like being one of the most financially challenging that the UK has seen in decades. With the Bank of England’s base rate rising and energy prices hiking this month and potentially again in October, households in the UK will have their budgets squeezed.
The cost-of-living crisis is likely to impact us all, if you’re a homeowner, our friends at the HOA have put together a list of things you’ll need to get sorted sooner rather than later this year.
If you’re looking for a property in Slough and the surrounding area, make sure you give the leading estate agents in Colnbrook a call on 01753 683000 or email us and we’ll help you find your next home.
Check your mortgage
It sounds simple but most peoples’ biggest financial commitment is their mortgage payment. Remortgaging could help you save a significant amount on your monthly outgoings; especially if you are one of the UK’s 1.1 million households who are on their lender’s standard variable rate. Remortgaging to a fixed rate will not only secure you a preferable interest rate but also help you to budget as you will know exactly how much your main bill is every month for a fixed term.
If your fixed deal ends in the next six months, you can start looking for a new deal now. Most lenders’ offers will last for six months so locking one in now, could protect you from further rate increases towards the end of the year.
Energy price hike
At the beginning of this month (April 2022), we saw a 54% rise in energy bills when the Ofgem energy price cap ended. The average energy bill in the UK went up by nearly £700 a year.
This means that now is the time to start saving on your energy usage. In previous years people would advise you to find a fixed-rate deal, however, prices are high at the moment and so, you might be better served to adapt your lifestyle.
You can make small adjustments to your lifestyle and your home; a combination of a few adjustments could help soften the blow when it comes to your energy bill increase. First, check to see if you are entitled to help, you might be eligible for free insulation or a boiler grant, speak with your energy supplier to see if they can help make your property more efficient.
If you aren’t eligible for help, do it yourself. A small investment in insulation will help you to keep the heat in during the winter months; even wrapping your hot water cylinder in an insulating jacket can save you £20 a year, not to mention draught-proofing your home to stop heat escaping.
Where you can, be vigilant about how much energy you use. Don’t light empty rooms, and make sure that you replace halogen lightbulbs with LED bulbs, which last longer and are more efficient. Small things in combination, can help you to save.
Having shorter showers, turning your thermostat down by one degree, and only washing full machine loads at lower temperatures – you’ll be surprised at just what you can save.
Council Tax Rise
Last year, it was announced that council tax would rise across the country in order to cover costs and pay for social care. Many authorities decided against raising the tax by the full amount for 2021 and have deferred it for 2022. This could lead to a 6% rise, seeing the average Band D council tax bill soar by more than £100 in a year.
Payment of council tax is usually spread over ten monthly installments; however, you can choose to pay over 12 installments to help manage your monthly outgoings.
The amount of council tax you pay is dependent on your property band. Make sure you check which band you are in and that it is correct, research carefully as you may accidentally end up in a higher band paying more council tax.
If your circumstances have recently changed i.e. you now live on your own, you may be able to get a discount on your tax. If you’re on a low income or claiming benefits you may qualify for a council tax reduction of up to 100%. Contact your local council to check if you are eligible.
Working from home
If you worked from home during the pandemic, you may be able to apply for a tax rebate. This is designed to cover extra costs you may have had when working from home. Check with HMRC to see if you are eligible for the rebate, you may be eligible for up to £250 tax relief.
There are two ways to get the tax relief:
- Your employer can cover your expenses and pay them into your salary tax-free, or
- You can claim tax relief directly from HMRC
If you claim yourself, the amount you’ll get depends on the rate of income tax you pay:
- Basic-rate taxpayers will receive £1.20 a week (tax relief of 20% on £6) which is £62 per year
- Higher-rate taxpayers will get £2.40 a week (tax relief of 40% on £6) which totals £125 per year
Alternatively, you can claim tax relief on the exact amount of extra costs you’ve incurred above the weekly amount. However, you’ll need evidence such as receipts, bills, or contracts.
Get in Touch
If you are looking to move to Slough and the surrounding areas, we are the leading independent estate agents in Colnbrook and are location experts. So, contact us on 01753 683000 or email us. You can also follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.