Tag Archives: Property blog

Which Commercial lenders are hungry for business? Commercial Finance, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Did you know that commercial lenders have three main categories of manager called Hunters, Farmers and Retailers?

This is very relevant if your business is dependent upon knowing which commercial lenders are hungry for business. Before I explain, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Cliff Verrill, I’m a commercial finance broker and previously worked with Mark Alexander (founder of Property118.com) when he ran The Money Centre. We have remained very good friends.

I’m a member of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) and my current firm are sponsors of Property118, having supported the community with over £20,000 of investment in 2013 alone. You can read more about me on my Member Profile.

Now back to my explanation …… Continue reading Which Commercial lenders are hungry for business?

Barry’s story – it could have been you! Financial Advice, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Barry’s story was written by the Mark Alexander back in December 2010. It has since been updated and re-published several times. The dates, times and people are fictional but the story is based on real life events.

It’s a modern update of the classic “A Widow’s story”, this time written as a cautionary tale for landlords and their families.

Barry is 53 years old and married to Sharon. They have three teenage children; twin girls aged 15 and a 13 year old son. Barry worked as a self employed salesman in the plant hire business. Sharon had a part time secretarial job in a local school.

Barry and Sharon purchased their first investment property in 1996.

As property values have risen they have continuously remortgaged and used a proportion of the equity released as deposits to purchase additional rental properties. They also saved a proportion of the equity released for a rainy day. To accelerate the growth of their portfolio Barry and Sharon raised extra cash for deposits by remortgaging their home. The profits from Barry’s plant hire business covered the family’s commitments comfortably.

They had accumulated a portfolio of 23 properties with a combined valuation of £1,650,000, against which they had mortgages of £1,400,000.  The portfolio produces rental income of £87,000 per annum. Their rainy day fund amounted to just over £64,000. By having all of the above in place you might be forgiven for thinking that they had set themselves up with a very safe future.

On Sunday 21st December Barry had a bad day. He was on the way home that evening having just been out to fix a tenants leaking shower tray when the traffic on the M6 came to a grinding halt. Barry managed to stop his car, avoiding the lorry in front of him, but the car behind him ploughed into the back of him, wedging his car under the back of the lorry.

The emergency services managed to free Barry from the wreck and his only damage was shock, whiplash and major bruising to his legs. However, two days later Barry collapsed whilst out shopping for last minute Christmas presents. He was rushed to hospital where it was discovered that a blood clot in Barry’s leg had passed to his brain. Barry had suffered a major stroke.

He lost his speech and most of the use of one side of his body. The family were in tatters. Sharon had to give up work to care for him.

Up until having a stroke Barry had managed the property portfolio and taken care of most of the maintenance himself. Could Sharon care for her husband, her family and the management and maintenance of the property portfolio too?

They considered putting the properties on the market but soon realised that after deducting selling costs and CGT there wouldn’t be much money left over. They would also lose their income and they would be leaving their tenants in a difficult predicament too. Sharon has had to employ a lettings agent to manage the portfolio. Since then it has cost the family an average circa £3,000 a month to pay for ongoing maintenance and management.

Fortunately there has been some good news, at least financially. First, low interest rates have meant that Barry and Sharon’s mortgages have got much cheaper than when they started their property rental business. Many of their mortgages have reverted to tracker products due to their fixed rates coming to an end. They are focussing on Barry’s recovery. What will happen when interest rates go back up again though? How will the restrictions on finance cost relief for individual landlords affect them?

The real saviour for the family has been insurance. Fortunately, Barry and Sharon were astute enough to insure against these eventualities. They took out life assurance policies that pay out a regular monthly income right up to Barry’s 65th birthday. These policies were written on the basis that they also pay out in the event of a critical illness. The family are therefore confident that these provisions will see them through these troubled times and out the other side. They will then revert to plan A, which was to live off surplus rental income over and above the mortgage payments on their portfolio or to sell the properties and live off their gains.

What insurance provisions have you made for your family?

How are you investing the windfall of increased cashflow that record low interest rates have produced for your family?

Have you made similar provisions to Barry and Sharon?  If you haven’t it may not be too late, we want to help.  If you have already taken advice and put insurances into place we would like to introduce you to one of our recommended advisers to review your policies and ensure they are competitive. Most important of all, to ensure that the right person gets the right money at the right time.

Tax Implications of Buy To Sell Refubishment Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Hi all

I was hoping someone could give me a bit of advice.

I am looking to diversify my investment portfolio (mainly stock market investments) by looking at investing for the first time at Property.

Having done a bit of reading, and looking at property prices (particularly down in London where I am based), I have come to the conclusion that the best approach to take is to buy a property to refurbish then sell on.

I have a fairly sizeable fund available, and the idea is to either buy something at auction.

As this is going to be my first project, I am planning on doing this as a personal project and not within the structure of a limited company. The plan is, that if this project goes well and I think I will undertake further projects to then consider setting up a limited company for further projects. Tax Implications of Buy To Sell Refubishment

My first question to you all is:

(1) Having just moved back to the UK working overseas, I do not own my own property, but instead rent. What would be the tax implication on any capital gain profits I making on flipping a property after I complete refurbishments. If I do not own a residential property, would my Buy To Sell property be considered my primary residence if I continue to live in rented property whilst I refurbish, or would I have to live in the property whilst I am undertaking refurbishments. If the property is classed as my main residence, what are the capital gain tax implications for this? Would all profits not be taxable or is there a capital gains allowances.

(2) Second question, going forward, if the intention is to go down the buy to sell route, as opposed to Buy To Let, am I better off doing this as a Limited company. I have already read Mark Alexander’s post on his preferred method of doing Buy To Lets as an individual as opposed to a Limited Company, but wondered what the best structure would be for Buy To Sell.

Thanking you all in Advance.


My views on consultancy with Mark Alexander Latest Articles

I really had too much to say about the article offering “One to one consultancy with Mark Alexander” for a comment so I have decided to write an article of my own.

I first met Mark in 2002, he has always been very open with advice and sharing his experience believing that what you give you get back in return. There are far too many charlatans in the property market who hide their advice as some sort of ‘secret to be sold’ which often turns out to be nonsense, or just plain illegal. Investing in property has never been a get rich quick scheme for the lazy or ill informed and never will be.

After having spent 13 years indoctrinated in the Banking industry I decided on a complete change in path. Inspired by what Mark had achieved and his inclusive culture of wanting everyone around him to achieve as well, I took a leap of faith and purchased a franchise in Mark’s commercial finance brokerage in order to be a part of his success and culture. This started with a full time 3 week course run by Mark on Buy to Let, and believe me when I say I thought I knew it all when it came to financing property. Yes I was technically competent, but what I was not prepared for was the eye opening light bulb moments of combining all of that information with business strategies.

I did know my Grandparents bought their house for £2000, inflation erodes debt, cashflow is most important to businesses and how to finance property, but what I hadn’t done was combine all this knowledge into a cohesive strategy.

There is no trick or “Snake Oil” required to successfully invest in property, you just have to look at it using common business sense and strategies to minimise risk. Using interest only loans over the longest possible term to buy property is a perfect example. Some perceive this as high risk, but is in fact the opposite if you combine the old business adage of “cashflow is king”, a strategy of retaining maximum control and the fact that inflation erodes the value of loans over time whilst property generally increases in value at a rate exceeding inflation in the long term.

Yes we have tried to share everything we possibly can on Property118, but in my view collecting the information and knowledge is not the same as the “Oh Yeah” light bulb moments when you hear it from Mark, specifically target to your own personal needs.

We are in some ways very different as you can tell by our articles (Mark always jokes that nobody reads mine), but we both have a passion for imparting what we can to help get people on the right track. I speak to many readers that call in and even if they already own property it often surprises me how little they have thought about it as a business. However, that is my fault for forgetting what seems like common sense for me now was not at one time.

I am always more than happy to help and every investors circumstances are different, but if you are not sure of your path then I hand on heart know Mark can make what seems complicated at first become very simple and obvious after explaining it to you in person.

These are a few things you might not know about Mark Alexander:

In 1990 he started a commercial finance brokerage in his back bedroom. The business went on to rank #38 in The Sunday Times Profit Track 100 in 2008 before he retired a year later.

In 1992 he was a founder member of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers “NACFB”. This was a voluntary position. The NACFB is now located in Temple buildings alongside the leading barristers chambers, just a short walk from the Houses of Parliament. NACFB members are now responsible for nearly £10 billion of commercial lending a year.

Mark’s landlord taxation strategy “Milking the Buy to Let” was picked up by the ACCA and communicated to all member accountancy firms – see >>> http://www.property118.com/landlord-tax/

The “Deed of Assurance” which Mark designed was highly commended by Ombudsman Services and is now being considered by the DCLG Private Rented Sector ‘Think Tank’ as an alternative to long term tenancies >>> http://www.property118.com/?p=40949

Mark presented 30 buy to let workshops a year from 2003 to 2008. They were so popular that we had to hire the same stage crew as Robbie Williams and venues including the Reebok Stadium, Emirates Stadium, Aston Villa FC and Leicester City FC.

In 2013 Mark completed a six month Consultancy contract for a leading provincial law firm.

Mark’s training notes on website search engine optimisation are a must read for any business that wants to increase its website expose. Details here >>> http://www.property118.com/?p=33446

His strategies and guidance have inspired literally thousands of landlords to build multi million pound property portfolio’s from which they have attained financial freedom and security for their families.

He has met with hundreds of established landlords who are asset rich yet time and cash poor. It really doesn’t have to be that way. Mark has an amazing gift of being able to help people out to understand, visualise and implement alternative and often life changing strategies. Several of his former clients felt totally trapped by their property portfolio’s before they met him. They’ve since gone on to double, treble and even quadruple their property portfolio’s, have six or seven figure bank balances and most importantly, the time to enjoy life to the full. That’s the real value of professional help.

Mark founded Property118.com three years ago. It operates a not for profit model and is funded entirely by donations and sponsorships. The website is now part of the Google News Publisher Network and has nearly 200,000 subscribers.

It’s not just letting, property investment and development strategies that Mark can help you with, he is also extremely experienced in business, marketing, law, tax, funding, financial services, website development and SEO.

My view of Consultancy is that all people need some guidance at some point in much the same way as all the best sports people need a coach and mentor. Even the likes of Tiger Woods, Ronaldo and Andy Murray all have coaches. The questions posed on Property118 demonstrate the need for Consultancy.

Mark isn’t doing this for the money, but if he offers the service for free or too cheaply he will be swamped with wannabes. If he charges what he previously earned then very few people who need his advice would be able to afford it. Therefore, he’s pitched it somewhere between what an accountant and solicitor would usually charge and will take it from there. All proceeds will be reinvested into the further development of Property118 which is both my own and Mark’s passion and his semi retirement hobby. Mark has many other income streams to fund his personal financial requirements.

Further details of Mark’s consultancy services can be found HERE.Neil

Learning from experience Advice

It can be a lot less expensive and stressful to learn from other peoples experience than to learn by making your own mistakes. Sharing is caring 🙂

I do not profess to have a monopoly on good ideas for landlords and I still learn something new about buy to let property investment every day. The strategies explained in the linked articles below are based on over two decades of experience. I choose to look upon these strategies as maps across a minefield. I may or may not have found the shortest possible route but my strategy is now tried and tested through two full market cycles.

After 20 years in the landlord business I decided to document my buy to let property investment strategy and tips on how to become a landlord. This was then broken down into chapters which I consider to be the most important ingredients of a successful buy to let property investment strategy. I update these articles regularly – last updated 18th December 2013

 Basic fundamentals of a buy to let property investment strategy

Basic fundamentals of a buy to let property investment strategy

This is a general overview of the roots of my buy to let property investment strategy. Many of the chapters below will not make sense unless you read them in order, this being the starting point. read this chapter 

Property Research Made Easy

Property Research made Easy

People selling properties earn commission – “trust but verify”. There are several websites where you can complete your research from your own PC before making a purchase decision. This article explains how. read this chapter

 Interest only vs repayment mortgages

Interest only vs repayment mortgages

Have you ever wondered why most buy to let property investors opt for interest only as opposed to repayment mortgages? read this chapter

 Balancing high gearing risks with high liquidity

Balancing high gearing risks with high liquidity

High gearing effectively means borrowing as much as possible. In this article I will explain the pro’s and cons of high gearing and how to minimise risk. read this chapter

 Calculating rental yields and returns

Calculating rental yields and returns

My Landlords Calculator allows you to analyse returns and other important numbers relating to any residential investment property deal with ease. read this chapter

 Buying property below market value and associated due diligence

Buying property below market value and associated due diligence

We all love a bargain don’t we, especially a property which is being sold below market value. However, just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it’s a good investment. read this chapter

 My first buy to let property investment

My first buy to let property investment

We all have to start somewhere, for me it was just before interest rates soared to 15% as we entered the late 80’s and early 90’s property crash. This is the story of how and why I survived and went on to build my property portfolio. read this chapter

 Finding perfect tenants and minimising risk

Finding perfect tenants and minimising risk

In the 25 years my family have been landlords we have only had to go to Court twice to seek possession, this is despite having granted over 1,000 tenancies. We have not had one single tenancy deposit dispute referred to arbitration or the small claims courts. read this chapter

 Landlord Tax

Landlord Tax

My landlord tax strategy is based upon the intended outcome, NOT income. I suspect your core tax strategy isn’t much different to mine, i.e. make as much money as possible and pay as little tax as legally possible, but how?. read this chapter

 Capital Gains Tax on a property you have lived in

Capital Gains Tax on a property you have lived in

Would you like to know how a £100,000 taxable capital gain can be structured to create a zero tax liability? read this chapter

 Financing beyond retirement age

Financing beyond retirement age

Most landlords believe that if/when they reach the age of 75 they will have to sell at least some of their properties to pay off all remaining mortgage balances. However, that needn’t be true. read this chapter

 Landlords Life Insurance Calculator

Landlords life insurance strategy and calculator

I created my landlords life insurance strategy and built a calculator to work out the minimum amount of life cover necessary to enable my family to retain my property portfolio when my final day of reckoning arrives. read this chapter

 10 tips for landlords before its too late

10 tips for landlords before it’s too late

Know when to stop investing and start living – Learn to delegate and empower. Review your portfolio and your financial position regularly – Stay informed – Succession planning and much more. read this chapter

Mark Alexander

One to one consultancy with Mark Alexander

My fees are £150 per hour plus VAT. All meetings are held at my home in mid Norfolk . I also offer a session from 11am to 3pm at a reduced rate of £500 plus VAT for the four hour slot, including a working lunch.

find out more

 Being a Landlord can be a lonely business - is something bugging you?

Being a Landlord can be a lonely business – is something bugging you?

The more properties you own, the more problems you encounter. Unless you mix regularly with other landlords it is difficult to know who to talk to about challenges what to do for the best isn’t it? read this chapter

Please share this series of articles with anybody you know who is new to being a landlord or just thinking about it. There are plenty of golden nuggets in this series of articles for the seasoned professionals too. ENJOY! 

Landlord & Property Website Awards 2013 Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

And the winners of the Simply Business Landlord & Property Website Awards 2013 are ….. Best Property Forum

Landlord & Property Website Awards 2013The best landlord forum in 2013

#1 Property118.com

Simply Business said ….

“Our number one pick for this edition of Landlord & Property Owners Awards is property118.com. The portal offers a remarkable number of tools and resources for landlords and property owners alike. It is simple to find specific information on the website and most of the published content is free to access. Property118.com manages an active community of nearly 200,000 subscribers and makes participations in its forum discussions easy.”

Mark Alexander

Mark Alexander founder of Property118.com

A message from us “We would like to say a big THANK YOU to all our readers, our members, our sponsors and all the people who post their questions and comments on our forums.”  

Property118.com helps 1,000′s of landlords, tenants and letting agents every day to better understand their legal rights and responsibilities. Please help support our campaign and CLICK HERE

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

Congratulations must also go to the runners up of course. They were ….

#2 Landlord Law

Landlord Law is a portal with lots of free legal advice for landlords. The website is managed by solicitor Tessa Shepperson, who also runs the popular Landlord Law Blog.

#3 Homes & Property

Homes & Property is a very extensive portal covering property buying, selling, and management. The website is owned and managed by the Evening Standard.

#4 Landlord Zone

Landlord Zone is a property portal with an impressive amount of high quality content for both landlords and property professionals.

#5 Landlord Today

Landlord Today is one of the best UK landlord blogs online. It is kept up to date and often offers users the opportunity to consult experienced property professionals.

#6 Property Wide

Property Wide, part of the Countrywide Group, is a great source of information on services such as conveyancing and surveying.

#7 Property Owl

Property Owl is a network with a well managed community of users focused on property development and management.

#8 Landlord Expert

Landlord Expert is the website of the Landlord Associaton, which has over 36,000 members. It contains free landlord documents, forms, and legal advice.

#9 Property Hawk

Property Hawk is a landlord portal that has been active since 2006, and which is full of valuable content. The website offers free cloud-based property management software.

#10 Property Investment Project

Property Investment Project is a blog with an extensive database of forms, tools, and articles specifically designed for landlords. It also has a lively discussion forum.

Daniel Burton from Unida Place Resurfaces Latest Articles

Channel 4 TV have tracked down Daniel Burton of Unida Place in Scunthorpe. The self proclaimed “Rent to Rent Guru” vanished from London back in August this year leaving both landlords and tenants 10’s of thousands of pounds of of pocket. More details in this 5 minute News clip courtesy of Channel 4 TV. Daniel Burton Unida Place

Mark Alexander, founder of Property118.com said….

“obviously we feel for the tenants who have lost their deposits but landlords arguably have an even bigger problem. They let their properties to Unida Place in good faith but probably have a very small chance of being compensated for any losses they will now suffer as a result of lost rent, damaged properties, fines for unlicensed HMO’s and any Court awarded damages for evictions undertaken by Unida Place and unprotected deposits. Many of these landlords will still be housing tenants who paid Daniel Burton’s company but rents were not passed to them. Burton’s agreements with tenants are equally spurious, possibly even unenforceable.  These tenants will probably hold the property owners responsible for their losses. We saw the potential of a disaster such as this looming and had a Rent to Rent agreement professionally drafted by renowned contracts Solicitor Justin Selig to hold operators such as Daniel Burton personally accountable to property owners. Sadly Mr Burton didn’t use this Rent to Rent agreement.

Fortunately, not all Rent to Rent operators are rogues and many of them want to to the right thing by their landlord and tenant customers. More ethical operators are prepared to put their money where their mouth is and have purchased the Rent to Rent contract template, as have many property owners who are attracted to the concept of the scheme which can work well if operated by a financially sound and trustworthy business.”

The Property Geek Blog Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

It’s not often you will find me eulogising about a website for new and wannabee landlords.You might be forgiven for thinking they could be seen as competing with part of what we do here at Property118 but that’s not the reason I promise you. The reality is that they are often are an alluring upsell for wannabee property billionaires who are taught by “guru’s” that “by this tine next year Rodney you will be a property millionaire”. Yes, in the main they are all run by Plonka’s just like Del-Boy, the very same people who give up their evenings and weekends to present Get Rich Quick courses in dreary hotel conference suites, complete with their rented Aston Martin parked right outside the front door of the hotel of course! – LOL

Property Geek Blog

However, I’ve found a website for newbie landlords that’s very different to the above stereotype and I really like what they have to say, it’s called Property Geek.

So why am I telling you about Property Geek?

The Property118 motto is that “Caring is Sharing”. I created Property118 to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords and associated professionals. Property118 operate a not for profit model and are funded entirely by donations and sponsorships, we don’t even sell advertising hence we have no competition. Credit where it’s due then, and in this case it’s the Property Geek website.

The person it belongs to is not paying me to write this article by the way, in fact, he doesn’t even know I’m writing it. Just in case you’re wondering, we are not related or old mates either. I only came across the Property Geek a few months ago.

The Property Geek blog is run by one of the presenters of the Property Podcast, I did an interview with them recently and have since provided content for their future podcasts – see >>> http://www.propertygeek.net/podcast-mark-alexander/

If you are new to property investment or you are just considering dipping your toe into the water, the Property Geek blogs I’ve listed and linked to below are definitely well worth a read …

1) There’s no rush

2) In defence of the day job

Rob Dix is the man behind the Property Geek blog and as he’s a member here at Property118, therefore he will get the notification email when I publish this article. I would love to be a fly on the wall when he reads it, better still have a hidden camera to film his reaction.

Please let me know what you think.

Property Geek

What accountancy software do landlords use? Latest Articles, Tax & Accountancy, Tax and Accountancy, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Hi all,

I’m fairly new to property investing and brand new to this site. Thanks Property Geek, Rob Dix, for your podcast on Mark Alexander that pointed me here.

Quick question; what accountancy software does this community recommend? What accountancy software do landlords use?

I currently only have three properties, but plan to scale to a lot more. I use spreadsheets for now, but it may be nice to use something with cool, pre-customised reporting and dashboards.

I’m going to use odesk to find a Virtual Assistant to do the book-keeping for me: they could use excel, but again, I want to know if there is something better out there. I’ve checked out Xero, but it seems more relevant to a trading company.

Any recommendations?



Calling all Wikipedians Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Neither Property118 nor myself have a page on Wikipedia and that makes me 🙁

Can you help?

I understand that other people have to compile the page and the more input the better?  Calling all Wikipedians

If this is the case I suggest the following as a starting point.

Property118 forum

An online forum and news feed with a mission to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords and letting agents.

Founders of The GOOD Landlords Campaign.

Funded entirely by sponsorships and donations.

Google News Publisher.

Claims to have nearly 200,000 subscribers to its weekly newsletters.

Founded by Mark Alexander – Twitter handle @iAmAlandlord

Property Forum and News website where UK landlords and letting agents share best practice