Tag Archives: Estate Agent

Property Research Tool Latest Articles

UK Property Research Tool
What you need to know and where to find the information

This Property Research Tool is for the benefit of all property buyers, landlords, tenants, owner occupiers and professional advisers associated with property.

Thanks to business sponsors and Property118 Members for their incredibly generous donations making the development of this Property Research Tool.

Property Research generally begins online

Far too many people fall into the trap of not doing proper online research, they see a property they fall in love with or meet a sales person they trust and the deal is done. For those of us who have learned our lessons the hard way, it still takes a long time to wade though websites to complete thourogh due diligence. The really annoying part for me was finding each website individually and then having to enter the same postcode into each one over and over again to find the right pages. For these reasons I wanted to have a system built as a convenient Aide-mémoire (check-list) for every internet user to be able to use and to provide access to to the websites containing vital information with the minimum number of clicks. Property Research Tool

Essentially the Property Research to is a pop up page, called a modal, which consolidates key information used by landlords and other property purchasers to assess properties. Any website can incorporate this technology free of charge. The functionality works best with Google Chrome and Safari internet browsers.

The only data input for users is the Post Code of the area. The key benefit is the ability to access all information required to complete desktop due diligence without having to remember visit multiple websites, thus saving considerable time and effort. The information is called from several websites which provide insight into the location being searched.

Enough of me trying to explain what it is, why not see for yourself?

If you run a website yourself why not write a review and grab the embed code to install the Property Research Tool functionality on your own website? We even have a widget which creates a “call to action” button (like the one below) which you can size to your requirements.

Want to learn even more?

My buy to let property investment strategy is documented and constantly updated in the Advice section of this website. To get back to the main menu >>>

 

Landlords Buy to Let Property Investment Strategy


Getting my mothers tenancy deposit back Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

My mother took tenancy of a flat on 23/03/08, she signed an original tenancy for a year and then as the estate agent had expensive fees for a renewal, so she got only another one the following year (2009), and from then on she has carried on on as something like rolling period. For the last year and a half her health deteriorated and next door to her driveway the same landlord rented a small mechanics garage with capacity for only 1 car. The that tenant has made my mothers life and mine very miserable because he kept parking/repairing his customers cars in my mothers driveway of outside on the double yellow lines blocking my mother’s driveway entrance.

As my mother needed that driveway for her carer to park, as well the oxygen delivery company, I kept complaining to the landlord and estate agent. I even sent a letter to the council who told me that once the inspectors see someone illegally ;parked they have to give the offending motorist 5 minutes to remove the vehicle before issuing a penalty, and that regarding the blocking or parking in my mother driveway was a police matter. The police also told me that was a council matter – get the picture?

Last month I told the estate agent that if this continued I will ended my mums tenancy and move her away.

Unfortunately, Mums health took a turn for the worse and she was taken to the hospital for 3 weeks, they told me my mum was terminal and she has only weeks to live.

I spoke with the landlord (because lives next door) and the estate agent and explained that my mum could pass away in the hospital and I may be forced to end up her tenancy at any minute. That was 2 weeks ago.

Last week I contacted the estate agent telling him that my Mum was not returning to the property and I will vacate the property as she will go to a hospice from the hospital. I vacated the property on Thursday, the rent is paid until the 23. I got a company to do the cleaning, the garden and even professional carpet cleaners. Now the landlord is telling me that he is not going to return my Mums deposit because she did not give him a month notice and that is the estate agents suggestion. The estate agent says that he understands that my Mum is terminal and may live only 3 more weeks but that it is the landlord who doesn’t want to return her deposit…..

Shouldn’t deposits been protected?

What are my chances, acting as legal representative of my mother, if I fighting back in an attempt to get the deposit back? After all, I did try to give them as much notice as possible and after almost 6 years of being a model tenant she does not deserve the aggravation of being messed by the landlord/estate agent.

Can you please give some advice. Getting my mothers tenancy deposit back

Your help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Monica


Rant About Scottish Letting Regulation Commercial Finance, Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

As the Scottish Government gets set to embark on the regulation of letting agents – regulation which is badly needed in my view – I fear that my worst nightmare may be about to become true.

Why? Well, let’s look at what’s happened already with Scottish renting legislation.

Landlord Registration has for the most part been startlingly ineffective in raising standards. In fairness, that perhaps was not its prime purpose (having been introduced under anti-social behaviour legislation) but the fact that we now have a national database of private landlords should allow national and/or local government to target those landlords with awareness-raising advice, invite them to seminars and so on. Those unfortunate tenants who suffer at the hands of malicious or, more likely unaware, landlords need that to happen. I’m fairly sure there must still be many landlords who are not yet registered. The fact that Scottish Government hiked the penalty for non-registration up from £2,000 to £50,000 must surely indicate that registration is seen as important. The requirement to quote registration numbers in property advertisements seemed a pretty good way of bringing all landlords into the system. Yet, how many adverts still appear with no registration numbers? How many unregistered landlords have been fined?

No. I see poor practice flourish aplenty and registration requirement ignored. I see responsible landlords pay their dues while the irresponsible carry on regardless. I see local authority Landlord Registration teams funded by those responsible landlords and, it seems, doing not a great deal to bring all within the net.

Why not simply legislate to make it a requirement that for any individual to rent out a property he or she must either use a regulated agent (when that’s in place) or achieve accredited landlord status (or commit to a time-limited accreditation path)? Overnight, poorly performing landlords would be outlawed.

Look at Tenant Information Packs. Of course it’s good practice to pass incoming tenants information and advice relative to their tenancy and their new property. Responsible agents and landlords have been doing so for years as a matter of course. So surely it’s good that all now have to do so?

In theory, yes, but from our perspective as a letting agency we now find ourselves managing a parallel process issuing the mandatory Tenant Information Pack (TIP) alongside our own one, as the mandatory one is so stodgy as to be a turn-off to most tenants, contains errors, and imparts nothing of substance about the property. The effect of this has been to sap resources, particularly time – our scarcest resource – and so impact negatively on our finances. So a highly responsible agency, regulated by RICS and licenced by ARLA is being forced to go through an ineffective process which hampers business efficiency while less regulated or less responsible agents who decline to do so, or are even unaware perhaps that they need to, sail on in the same old way. How many letting agents have been taken to task for failing to issue a TIP? How many who fail to do so, use a low-fee basis as a means of attracting clients? The answers to those questions are unknown, but I’m pretty certain the first is zero or we’d have heard about it.

Simply Let pays about £2000 per year in professional membership subscriptions and regulation levies. We do that because we believe in high standards, and in demonstrating that we hold that belief. We undertake continuing professional development. We do so because we need to be fully informed in order to serve our clients well. We cannot give our landlord clients and their tenants the service they deserve on a low fee basis.

If a landlord’s agent fails to fulfil one of his client’s statutory obligations, it will be the landlord who is held responsible. Are all landlords aware of this? How many agents are playing fast and loose with their obligations to their clients? Again I don’t have an answer to that. If an agent lands a landlord in trouble as a result of negligence or incompetence does that landlord have recourse to a complaints redress mechanism? If that agent goes bust or even runs off with the cash is the landlord’s money safe? Does the agent have client money protection? Unlike estate agents selling houses, a fairly straightforward one-off task, letting agents have on-going management responsibilities which require detailed knowledge of complex housing law. Currently anyone can set up as a letting agent without any qualifications or training whatsoever and without any insurance or external monitoring and take on responsibility for managing clients’ major financial assets and ensuring tenants’ safety in the home.

You can see then why we favour regulation of letting agents. With a level playing field, landlords and tenants could go about selecting an agent knowing that all agents had the basics in place. Why then do I fear, as I said at the beginning of this blog, that my nightmare is about to be realised?

In my nightmare, responsible and already regulated agents found themselves obliged to register and of course to pay a recurring fee for doing so. In my nightmare less responsible agents continued to operate without appearing on the register. The third strand of my nightmare is that nothing much else happened.

It’s turned out like that with Landlord Registration so it’s perfectly possible that Letting Agent Regulation will go the same way.

Why not simply make it a requirement that in order for any letting agent to practice he or she must have in place:

  • A minimum level of relevant knowledge
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Client money protection
  • A complaints redress mechanism
  • Evidence of continuing professional development?

All are currently available to any responsible agent.

The private rented sector involves the very basics of life: a tenant’s home and a landlord’s financial investment (and possibly pension plan). It is critical therefore that all who manage any part of that process, landlord or agent, have the knowledge and capability to undertake their role to a high standard and fulfil it in a professional manner. It is critical too that those who entrust their lot to an agent have the benefit of certain basic protections. So my plea to the Scottish Government, when it develops letting agent regulation, is to make it impossible for any agent who can’t deliver those five elements above to continue in practice. The country and its tenants deserve nothing less. Rant About Scottish Letting Regulation

John Gell MRICS


Estate agent commission for existing tenants Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

I’m in the process of purchasing my first buy to let. I’m buying it through an agent, who also manages it for the current owner. Estate agent commission for existing tenants

I’d like to keep the current tenants and they’d like to stay. However, I’d like to manage the tenants directly, without an estate agent being involved.

In spite of this, the estate agent is asking for a fee in return for finding the tenant for me. I’ve argued that I don’t require any work from them at all, and don’t have a contract with them, so there’s no reason I should pay them. But needless to say they’re quite keen on the idea that I owe them money.

Does anyone else have experience of this?

Is it common practice?

Thanks

David


Freehold Maisonette – why is this a bad thing? Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

We have just put our freehold maisonette up for sale. It is ex local authority and ground floor, the property above is still local authority, although I believe the adjoining two are private. Buyers will not be able to get a mortgage, because it is freehold. This has never been a problem to us (cash buyers), any more than adjoining any other private property. The council has been kind enough to replace the roof (flat) without contacting us. When I contacted them to discuss the broken gate, this was replace directly. Freehold Maisonette - why is this a bad thing

So why is there this problem about the place being Freehold? Is there any way around it? How could it become leasehold? At the moment we have told the estate agent to market as cash only, but they have stressed that so much it sounds as if the place is falling down.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Celia Burns


Buy to Let Property Sales – Partnering With Estate Agents Buy to Let News, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Letting, Lettings & Management, Property Development, Property For Sale, Property Investment News, Property Investment Strategies, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Earlier this year we spotted an opportunity to set up a buy to let Estate Agency. However, due to lack of resource (time) very little has been done other than a dozen or so sales on behalf of developers, plus setting ourselves up with The Property Ombudsman Service and organising Professional Indemnity insurance to keep ourselves legal of course.Buy to Let Estate Agency

The reason we haven’t got around to growing the buy to let Estate Agency business is that our passion is facilitating the sharing of best practice amongst landlords and letting agents on the Property118 forum which I set up just over two years ago. Prior to that I was a commercial finance broker and I’ve been a landlord since 1989.

The opportunity is a very simple one. Nearly 200,000 landlords and associated professionals subscribe to our daily newsletters and engage on the Property118 forum. Some of these people are no doubt in the market to buy more property. It occurred to us that most properties are sold with vacant possession, however, for landlords that can be a bit of a nightmare as both the vendor and the purchaser both experience costly void periods.

Rightmove and the Zoopla Property Group portals are ideal to sell properties with vacant possession but if a landlord wants to sell or buy a tenanted property these portals are far from perfect as there’s no search facility for buy to let property. Furthermore, their interfaces are not geared up to show rental yields, returns on capital invested, costs of letting etc. At Property118 we have created a landlords calculator to work all of these things out

As we haven’t got time to source properties to sell, never mind to prepare sales particulars, do floor plans, arrange viewings and progress chase offers through to completion, our idea is to work on a split commission basis with other agents.

We will showcase properties on the Property118 forum and link to them in the daily Newsletters. Enquirers will be landlords who may well already own properties in the area, hence for agents who partner with us on this venture, all referrals will be good leads for future sales and letting opportunities as well as prospective purchasers of the property which is being marketed.

From the landlords perspective, they will be presented with properties which are already let and will have no void periods and perhaps most importantly, without any buyers premium attached to them. The sales particulars will include details of the tenancy including:-

  • rent currently being paid
  • profile of the tenant
  • time already in the property
  • management fees currently being charged
  • other expenses relating to the management/maintenance of the property

This information, together with an indicative financing quotation will enable us to calculate not only rental yields but the cash on cash equivalent annual returns after all costs including mortgage, insurance, lettings and management, a sensible maintenance budget and where appropriate any ground rents or service charges. This will enable investors to compare cashflow returns on their money to the returns they are currently receiving elsewhere on their investments. The potential for capital growth is obviously a primary reason for people to invest into property too of course.

We will not allow this activity to overwhelm what we do here at Property118, therefore, we will cherry pick the properties we want to promote based on those which we believe make sense to buy as investments.

It is unlikely that we will be in a position to accept instructions directly from landlords to sell their properties due to the lack of infrastructure to provide a sufficiently professional service, i.e. floor plans, viewings, for sale signs etc. Therefore, any such enquiries will be referred back to the agencies we end up partnering with. Landlords are, of course, also welcome to introduce us to any agencies they are already working with as we will not get tied into any exclusive contracts. Our independence is vitally important to us.

I would like to have a chat with any agents who see some mileage in this opportunity. I have some ideas on splitting commissions but I am very open minded at this stage as the project is very much in its infancy.

Mark Alexander - Your Property ConciergeIf you would like to chat please comment below, email me  – mark@property118.com or call me on 07834 754 223.

Regards

Mark Alexander – founder of Property118.com


Property Investment – what would you buy? Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Whenever I walk down a high street I can’t help looking through the window of the local estate agents and letting agents.

I stand there working out rental yields and often I get tempted to buy.

Do you ever do that?

Property Investment - what would you buy to let?The only reason I stopped buying a few years ago is that I had already achieved all of my financial goals having been in the property investment business for over 20 years. For me it was time to stop investing and to start living.

My current lifestyle is only possible as a result of many years of building my property portfolio.

Over the years I have created systems for everything I do in terms of property investment and property/tenant management and it’s those systems which now afford me the luxuries in life of freedom and opportunity to do what I enjoy best. It’s not all about travelling, spending time with family and sitting on beaches though. I love to engage with other landlords, hence my commitment to sharing best practice on this property forum which, as you may be aware, is funded entirely by donations and sponsorships.

Some of the most common questions I get asked are; how did you do it, is it still possible, what would you do if you were starting again today? Well if you read all 6,000+ posts on Property118 you will get a good idea, however, I’ve been thinking to myself that there must be an easier way to share what I know and to make it relevant to what’s happening in the buy to let property investment business today.

The idea I came up with is to ask you (Property118 readers) where you would consider buying. I will then investigate that area, select a property that I would buy myself (if I was still investing) and explain why. More to the point, I will also document how I would finance, let, manage and maintain the property along with the “desk top due diligence” I would ordinarily do prior to committing to viewing a property with a view to making purchase.

Would you find that useful?

If so, please leave a comment in the section below and let me know which areas you would like me to investigate.

Now I won’t necessarily pick the same properties that you would. That’s because we are all different and we all have a variety of motives for investing into property. Therefore, please don’t ask me to look into high yielding properties such as HMO’s, student properties or housing for state supported tenants as that’s not what I know about. I don’t know much about very high value properties either, my market is far more akin to properties which will appeal to Mr and Mrs Average, either with children of school age or retired. What you might find useful, even if we do do pick different properties, is the way I go about making my decisions.

I will assume that in every case I have access to up to £100,000 cash to invest. Based upon my findings I will explain how many properties I would buy using that money, how much finance I raise in terms of mortgages and how much capital I would retain for a rainy day.

The types of properties I will be selecting will be as follows:-

  1. Decent low maintenance properties in decent areas to attract decent low maintenance tenants
  2. NET cashflow return based on NET capital invested will be greater than could be achieved from a bank or building society
  3. Easy to re-sell or re-let in all market conditions
  4. Prospects for capital growth over the medium to log term, i.e. seven to 20 years

So back to my question, what areas (towns and or cities) would you like me to look into and why?Property Investment - what would you buy


NUS also report on The Private Rented Sector Review Landlord News, Latest Articles

The National Union of Students (NUS) has welcomed The Private Rented Sector review from the Communities and Local Government Select Committee on which has set out a series of proposals to correct serious flaws in the private rented housing market.

One of the report’s recommendations, which NUS suggested in its evidence, is to bring the level of regulation for letting agents up to the same level as that for estate agents. The report also proposes that agents be required to publish a full-breakdown of fees in adverts and that they be prevented from charging both tenants and landlords for the same things.

Students, often renting for the first time, can be the victims of unscrupulous letting agents and would be a major beneficiary should the government take the proposals forward.

Among the Select Committee’s recommendations are calls for tenants’ rights and responsibilities to be more widely promoted to them. This is an area where NUS and students’ unions could play a significant role as students are often not yet well versed in their rights and tend to move at similar times making the timing of promotional work easier.

NUS gave both written and oral evidence to the Committee during their inquiry in May 2013.

Colum McGuire, NUS Vice-President (Welfare), said:

“Substandard letting agents have been able to get away with overcharging and shoddy practice for far too long and it is imperative that the government quickly take forward these proposals.

“Tenants should be able to expect the same standards when they rent a home as they would if they were buying. The cost of student housing is rising at an alarming rate and while standards are improving in some places with the introduction of students’ union run landlord accreditation schemes, students need to know that their agent is not ripping them off.

“It is a pity that the Select Committee have not recommended a national registration which would be able to shut down bad landlords who operate nationwide but nonetheless their proposals would be a huge leap forward for beleaguered tenants.”students


NAEA report 14 percent rise in house hunters Latest Articles, Property News

The latest figures from the National Association of Estate Agents NAEA housing market report revealed another monthly increase in the average number of sales made by NAEA members. Average sales increased from nine per branch in April to ten in May. This follows a continued rise from the beginning of the year, where in January the number of sales reported by NAEA members was only seven per branch.

The NAEA also report a 14% rise in the average number of house hunters compared with last year’s figures – up from an average of 274 per branch in May 2012 to 313 in May 2013. This is in addition to a month-on-month improvement, up from an average of 310 in April 2013 and 286 in March 2013.

Meanwhile, the average number of first time buyers (FTBs) has dropped from 23 per cent in April to 20 percent in May, which suggests more still needs to be done to help this section of the market. The supply of properties also saw a slight decrease from 61 average properties for sale per branch in April to 60 in May, possibly due to the record sales figures in recent months.

Mark Hayward, Managing Director of the National Association of Estate Agents, said:

“These really are encouraging figures; serious house hunters are continuing to enter the market and are intent on buying. The current low lending rates have created attractive conditions for those with sizable deposits who are thinking of buying or moving home. The story is reversed for first time buyers though with figures down on last month, suggesting that there are still issues surrounding access to finance for this group.

“We are hopeful that this positive trend will continue, with the sunny weather likely to bring even more house hunters to the market; plus if banks continue to compete on rates and offer increasingly attractive deals, savvy homebuyers may find their options in the market increase.”

House hunters graph


Tenanted houses in Lincoln city for less than £90,000 Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property For Sale, Property News, Property Sales & Sourcing

Willow tree pic“Your Property Concierge ” Kelvin Kingsley has discovered some more bargains, and these are already let!

If you are looking for a low cost, low maintenance freehold property which is pre-let and will return instant cashflow then look no further.

These are almost new, ready tenanted, two year old, two bed terrace houses with a rental income of £500 pcm.

They are priced at £87,950 which equates to a gross yield of 6.82%. With the benefit of a mortgage of up to 75% of the purchase price the cash on cash return could be much higher.

NOTE – there are only three of these two bed units available and they will be sold on a first come first served basis.

There are also a few three bed semi-detached houses available at £109,950 with a rental income of £580.

Details about the development area:

  • Excellent rail and motorway access nearbyWillow tree kitchen pic
  • Off road parking included
  • Booming University population
  • 19 miles to A1 motorway
  • Lincoln city centre 2 miles away
  • Lincoln County Hospital 2.5 miles

There are several comparable sales listed on HM Land Registry in the last year for similar properties in the area. These units were selling between the range of £100,000 and £110,000.

To download a full copy of Kelvin’s “Due Diligence”, property specs and to get details on how to arrange a viewing or reservation please complete the form below.

The Property Ombudsman Logo

Your Property Concierge is a sister brand to Property118.com. Your Property Concierge does not charge fees to investors as we are retained by vendors which are typically developers or insolvency practitioners. According to the Estate Agency Act 1979 this makes us estate agents. Therefore, to keep ourselves compliant the Trading Name “Your Property Concierge” is registered with the ICO and is also a member of The Property Ombudsman redress scheme (membership number – D8072)


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