Tag Archives: survey

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


Should I raise rent in line with RPI or CPI? Latest Articles

I have just read the latest survey about rent rises.

We have several properties, but one, a townhouse, is coming up for review. In light of the latest RPI, and CPI which this month are aprox 2.7% and 3.3% respectively I am considering a rent increase.

I was thinking of using these figures as a guide for a natural increase, which in effect is no increase. The rent is currently £860.00 per 4 weeks, and the tenants get most of this in Housing Benefit. I was thinking of raising it to £895.00 as the general costs have risen, and because they are in receipt of benefits the insurance is 50% higher than normal.

What does everyone think and do you have any advice?

Regards

AlanRPI


Development finance using Equity instead of Liquid Cash Commercial Finance, Latest Articles

I have an example of how the commercial market is changing. Some lenders are now taking a risked based view of using second charges over equity as security for development finance rather than only relying on pure cash being put up as collateral by investors.

Example of a recently completed case, as follows:

A builder/developer was looking to buy a property to renovate for a long term investment and once complete take out a Buy to Let mortgage based on its new and improved value (and if possible have additional funds returned too).

He was very limited in the cash deposit he had, as all his money is tied up in other properties which he lets out, however he had a good level of equity in his main residence, which has a value of £600,000 and an outstanding mortgage with the Halifax for £300,000

He found a property which needed heavy renovation including a full new and extended kitchen, and also a new bathroom. The purchase price was £150,000 in its current state and the cost of renovation was £40,000 (as he would be able to do it himself). Therefore, the total borrowing required was £190,000

He ideally wanted to borrow 100% of the purchase price and 100% of the renovation costs using both properties as security, including using the equity in his home as additional security.

Once renovated he required a quick solution in changing the bridging loan into a Buy to Let mortgage

He was able to borrow 75% of the new purchase – which gave him £112.5k on a bridging rate of 1.15% for 3 months. A very keen rate for refurbishment deals.

The short fall of £37.5k towards the purchase and the £40k needed for the renovation works was raised by adding in the additional security via a 2nd charge on the client’s main residence by the same Bridging company.

He was offered a 2nd charge bridge on his residential property up to 70% LTV (although he did not require as much as that) including his existing main residence mortgage at a cost of 1.4% per month. This meant he could raise up to up to a max £120k from this property, more than enough to raise the required 100% of the purchase together with 100% of the renovation costs.

The valuer was booked to attend the property within 72 hours. In the meantime the shopping list of requirements was quickly collated and submitted.

Working closely with a solicitor that understood the speed required for a bridging loan, the deal was completed within a few weeks enabling him to ‘do up’ his new property, increasing the value to £300k.

3 months later he was then able to change the bridging loan product to the lenders the same lenders Buy to Let product at 4.10%, releasing 75% of its new improved (and surveyor agreed) value. This released £225,000 back to the client, enough to clear the bridging loans and put some money back into his cash flow.

Summary of Deal:

  • Liquid Cash available £0
  • Purchase Price £150,000
  • Costs £40,000
  • Gross Development Value £300,000
  • First Charge Bridge £112,000 at 75% LTV
  • Second Charge Bridge on Main residence £77,500 at 70% LTV
  • BTL on completion of works £225,000
  • Liquid cash released £35,500

The set up costs not including interest were:

  • 1st Charge on property of £150k = valuation £330
  • 2nd Charge on residential property of £600k = valuation £540
  • Legal fees = £780
  • Total = £1,650

Buy to Let 3 months later:

  • Property now worth £300k = valuation £360
  • Legal fees = £540
  • Total = £900

Could this be of interest to you?

If so, check our my member profile, linked from my author profile at the top of this article.liquid cash


Online advice from building surveyors Advice, Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

I run a website providing online advice from building surveyors.

The advice is given by experienced RICS qualified chartered building surveyors.

I would welcome feedback.

The website is www.askasurveyor.co.uk

Although there is a cost of £40 per question answered, we do not charge if we cannot answer and invariably we save clients considerably more than the cost of the question. For example, it often pays to persuade tenants to use it, especially if they keep complaining about issues such condensation and do not believe the problem is their lifestyle. Online advice from building surveyors

Please have a look!

Constructive feedback will be much appreciated.

Many thanks

Robert Desbruslais BSc MRICS


Property Network says consumers fear another housing bubble Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

In light of the recent announcement by the UK Government that Help to Buy has been brought forward, a survey has been carried out to gauge how the electorate feels about the state of the property market.

The survey was taken by the users of the social media-based property portal, Property Network, and paints a picture of dread in the property market.

According to the survey, over 50% of people fear another housing bubble while over 73% of people are worried that interest rates are going to rise.

Ben Hood, one of the people surveyed by Property Network, said, “I have just about enough money to buy right now but I want to wait a couple of years. If interest rates go up a couple of per cent then I’d struggle to pay my mortgage. I don’t trust this government to think about long term effects of their policies.”

The early introduction of Help to Buy could be timely as over 64% of people believe it’s harder to save for a deposit now than 12 months ago.

Many experts suggest the Help to Buy scheme could have dire consequences on the economy and UK property market so it remains to be seen as to whether this will lighten the general mood of UK residents. The next survey from Property Network will investigate just that. Property Network


Who will lend on a property with no bathroom? Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

I’ve got my heart set on a property going to auction, which has no bathroom.

I can get a mortgage to easily cover the cost of the property. But the problem being, it’s got no bathroom.

Went to Lloyds, and delved into what their surveyors will pass an approval on, and basically saved £300 on a survey, by finding out prior to ordering a survey, that they won’t pass a mortgage unless it has a kitchen, and bathroom (in no matter what condition though).

Would someone be kind enough to enlighten me as to what products are out there, that would lend on such a property?

I believe The Mortgage Works have just pulled a product which would have covered this? Who will lend on a property with no bathroom

Cheers

David


Block of flats falling apart – what can we do? Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Well, not quite but close…

I own a leasehold flat in an 18 unit block in Halifax. All units are owned by investors. About a year ago we took over the management, using the RTM Process. Myself and one of the other owners are now directors of the Right To Manage (RTM) company and we have a managing agent in place. The freehold is owned by a third party.

On the 19/2/2013 the building was inspected by an independent surveyor who wrote a report. The reason for the inspection is the poor condition of the concrete walkways. We bring you here the relevant sections of the report so that you can get an understanding of the situation.

Description & Background:

KC comprises a residential complex of flats constructed over three levels and provides accommodation within 18 units. We would estimate that the complex is 50-60 years old and is constructed of cavity brickwork external walls with a pitched clay and concrete tile covered roof. The intermediate floors, balconies and external access stairs are constructed of reinforced concrete, which appears to be case in situ. Block of flats falling apart - what can we do?

Brief:

We understand that render has been reported as spalling from the underside of the external walkways which serve the first and second floor levels of the building. The purpose of the inspection was to determine the cause of the defect, set out an appropriate course of action for further investigation and propose longer term remedial measures.
We have also been requested to make any relevant general observations with regard to the premises and highlight matters of particular health and safety risk.

Inspection

The building was inspected by Bond Bryan Building Surveying Ltd on 19th February 2013.

Executive Summary

A brief visual inspection of the property known as KC Halifax was undertaken by Bond Bryan Building Surveying.
The purpose of the inspection was to investigate and comment upon spalling render to the underside of concrete walkways at the rear of the property and other items of disrepair identified during the inspection.

In all situations further investigation and testing of the concrete is necessary however we are able to comment on the overall condition and make recommendations as to the most appropriate courses of action.

We would describe the condition of the external walkways as very poor. The spalling of the cement render coating to the soffits of the walkways is attributable to the significant deterioration of the reinforced concrete.

The reinforcement bars embedded within the concrete slabs have corroded significantly. The bars have expanded through corrosion which has caused cracking and spalling of the concrete.

In our opinion the concrete slabs of the walkways have deteriorated beyond economic repair and it is our recommendation that they are removed and replaced with a steelwork structure.

Our challenge is:

We are told by the managing agent that if we don’t take the next step – which is have the concrete tested – they wouldn’t feel uncomfortable managing the site.

As far as we are concerned, no-one knows how long the concrete will last. It could be 5-10-20-30 years. All a test would supply us is with the state of the concrete at the moment and an opinion as to how long it would last.

Myself and the other director went to inspect the site with an experienced builder who explained that he would be able to make good the exposed areas of the walkways so that there is no danger of falling concrete.

We would much rather make good the exposed areas than going through the test which will, possibly, force us to go through a very very expensive repair process (the report speaks of more than £300K to replace the walkways with a steel structure). The flats are currently worth £40K each and there is no way any of the owners could afford to pay more than £16,000 for such a job.

Our questions are:

1. What can we do in this situation which would protect us as directors from being negligent while finding a practical and cost effective solution to this problem?
2. What are we required to do by law?
3. What is the responsibility and obligation of the freeholder in this situation?

We would appreciate any information or advice you may have.

Many thanks

Nitzan


Rics want a 5% annual price rise cap House Prices, Latest Articles

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) want a 5% annual price rise cap for houses that triggers restrictions on mortgage  income multipliers or maximum Loan to Value.

Although Rics did say that sellers  under their plans would not face a limit on how much they could sell their homes for.

Joshua Miller, senior economist at Rics, wants to halt a debt-fuelled house price advance and said “the Bank of England now has the ability to take the froth out of future housing market booms, without having to resort to interest rate increases. Capping price growth at, say, 5% is one way of doing this.”

“This cap would send a clear and simple statement to the public and the banking sector, managing expectations as to how much future house prices are going to rise. We believe firmly anchored house price expectations would limit excessive risk taking and, as a result, limit an unsustainable rise in debt.”

Sir Howard Davies,  a former deputy governor of the Bank, does not think this kind of cap would work and said “The problem is that we are not building enough homes.”

This is a good point as it is clearly the lack of supply that is pushing up house prices especially in the capital rather than increased demand because we are all better off now than before the recession started.

Then there is the question of regional differences. Do you smother any potential housing market recovery in areas outside London that have not seen the same rises and if not how do you tell an National high street bank to have different criteria and systems in different parts of the country.

This would be clearly unrealistic, unworkable and unpalatable for lenders.

The Housing Market is very mature and almost free to work on the pure economic principles of prices being dictated by supply and demand. It is therefore very difficult to control directly without looking at all the factors that influence it.

Rics may be naive in thinking simplistic one sided controls like this are the answer to the problems of a very complex housing market and its demographic and social issues.Rics


Old leases since 1945 Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

I am a landlord of an old lease from the 1960s for a Victorian detached property in Surrey – My tenant who was long term since the 60s recently died. His daughter who cared for him took on the lease – The problem is for such a little rent – they have not complied with the lease and its clauses – which are different from the leases we now have –

I am responsible in the lease for external repairs, they are responsible for the plumbing electrics, internal redecoration condition – surveyors fees –

The trouble is they have not done anything in the last 50 years! the windows do not open due to moss (sash windows), the walls ceilings and carpets are still the same and decor is from the 60s- On the subject of paint although they have said they did paint it- they provided me with nothing when I asked for receipts! – I have thought about sampling and testing the paint to establish the age! I recently had surveyors in who assessed the condition – they have advised me to see a specialist solicitor to advise me on the terms of the lease which are unusual (remember it is from the 60’s) I am really stuck on how I can bring the property back into compliance of this lease? how should I move forward ? the tenants are not helping at all!

Also please shed some light on how leases changed since 1945? Old leases since 1945

Best regards

Tony Bains


Retaliatory eviction – possibility of civil litigation? Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

We’re a professional couple with a limited company which provides a technology solution to the NHS. It suits our circumstances to rent at this moment in time. Retaliatory eviction

We had a 4-year rental of a lovely apartment until last Summer, when the owner decided to downsize and move back into the property. It was a good relationship, we had treated the property as if it had been our own investment and we parted as friends – with our deposit paid back in full.

After much searching we found a 3-bed town house which appeared to offer us everything we needed. The letting agent was a member of NAEA/ARLA and appeared to be respectable. There were some agreed remedial works to be dealt with and we were given assurances that these would be attended to in due course. We moved into the property in late August 2012.

Sadly, by the beginning of November, it was apparent that the property had some significant problems. There was extensive water penetration upstairs and a rising damp problem to the ground floor. The letting agent was informed immediately, with photographic evidence and a request for urgent assistance. We moved our furniture from the 3rd bedroom.

A ‘trades-person’ appeared in due course, with a notepad and pencil but with no damp meter. A report was promised, but was not forthcoming. The letting agent promised to send another contractor. This one only worked weekends and couldn’t agree a time to call; that visit never took place.

I called the landlords contractor to arrange the remedial work to be completed – missing doors, exposed wires, etc. He visited early November, measured up, made notes, promised to return – but failed.

We spent the most horrendous Christmas and New Year in the house. There was serious damp penetration, black mould which was constantly being removed. Slugs were climbing the walls. The house was very cold and the more that we heated it – the worse the damp became. We telephoned, wrote, sent photographs, yet the letting agent did nothing; there were plenty of replies – unbelievably stating that they were attempting to do everything as quickly as possible. We initially resigned ourselves to getting out of the house at the end of our AST.

In early-February, I wrote the strongest letter to letting agent with photos. A survey was made by Peter Cox, a pretty damning report which agreed with our complaint – serious damp and rain penetration. I wrote again, asking for compensation and a reduction in rent. This was refused. The letting agent had said that the landlord was absent; it transpired this wasn’t the case.

We tracked the landlord down and demanded a meeting. The landlord appeared, agreed with us in full and said that it was the first he knew of the problem. He agreed that we should be compensated and that this was the letting agents responsibility. Our landlord sat in our home, apologising and promised us both that this would be resolved. He remarked how clean we kept the property. The next day he had changed his mind and said that our grievance was with the letting agent. The following day – the EHO (Environmental Health Officer) inspected. That week, the missing doors and exposed electrics were attended to. We sent 2 requests to the letting agent, for the landlords address – these were refused.

A week later we received a section 21 notice to quit. The landlords address was given as c/o a family member in the South – presumably to thwart a legal action by us.

It turned out that the landlord had known of the problems. He’d applied for a grant for roof insulation, in my name – without my knowledge – and prior to our first meeting. It transpired that the letting agents were not members of ARLA or NAEA and we contacted both organisations and Rightmove to get these false affiliations removed. The letting agent claimed an oversight.

We spoke with our MP who has written to the CEO of the local authority, in order to push the EHO. The EHO wrote to the letting agent and the landlord but there was no response. We then began to receive threats from the letting agent to enter the property to inspect and allow viewings; we made a formal complaint to the Police and this is logged with a fast-track number in the event that they continue. We threatened to change the locks and the letting agent replied that this was not necessary.

We defended the section 21 notice on the grounds of incorrect dates and continued to pay the rent. We were not going to be forced out and subjected to costs or inconvenience due to their incompetence. The weather had improved and the house was drying out for the summer and we would tough it out now – having gone through the worst. We have since redecorated all damp affected walls as it is unnecessary to be reminded every day.

Our MP has pushed for resolution; this has mustered a stronger letter from the EHO. There has been no response other than a second section 21 notice. The dates are once again incorrect. The letting agent has put our deposit into a DPS but did not provide the Deposit Protection Certificate or prescribed information until we requested it after five months of tenancy. The prescribed information appears to be incomplete. I doubt that any s21 is valid until deposit is returned and the landlord might be liable for 3x under the Localism Act? Our claim should also be for a reduction in rent back-dated to 11/2012 and should provide compensation for immense stress and upset – particularly to my wife – for the repeated inconvenience, small damage, etc.

We’ve spoken with experts in Landlord/Tenant issues, they’ve seen our file which is very complete and have passed it onto Barristers to evaluate. We have a strong case apparently, but would incur costs of circa £7k to seek compensation/enforcement of duty to repair; we’ve been told that there is little likelihood of being awarded costs – if successful. That’s an expensive ‘point of principle’ for us.

It seems a dreadful situation. We actually like the house and the worst of the problems could be so easily resolved. We must now consider vacating the property before the bad weather sets in again – to remain longer would weaken any case against the landlord and the letting agent. The landlord is inexperienced and his conduct and concern for our welfare has been quite despicable. The promises that he made to my wife and I were instantly forgotten and we would like to do whatever might be done, so that he is taught the lesson.

Please accept our apologies for the long post, is there anything that we could do, other than what the landlord and letting agent expects – that being to vacate and walk away? I feel that someone needs to make a stand here, to create some solid case law if necessary – to protect others faced with similar problems in the future.

Thanks in advance

Roy and Tania


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