#PROPERTYOFTHEDAY #6: 4 Bedroom Detached House – Brentwood

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propertypropertyproperty.co.uk/blog we are introducing the #PropertyofTheDay segment, which will highlight properties across the UK that are currently available for sale or rent on the portal. Today we are highlighting Keith Ashton Estates in Brentwood and their lovely 3-bedroom, flat property … Continue reading

#PROPERTYOFTHEDAY #1: 4 Bedroom in Kestrels Mead, Tadley Hampshire

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On propertypropertyproperty.co.uk/blog we are introducing the #PropertyofTheDay segment, which will highlight properties across the UK that are currently available for sale or rent on the portal. To start of this series we are highlighting Parkers With Adrian Noad Estate Agents … Continue reading

Benefits of having a property management company assist you with your lettings

If you are considering letting a room, studio flat, house or even an estate, a property management agent can be very valuable in taking care of the whole process for you.

Property management agents are able to provide a variety of services; from the collecting of rent, the day-to-day management of the property and also dealing with any legal aspects of the property and the let on your behalf. So we have highlighted some points below that property management agents can offer you and which ones you should look for when selecting the right agent for your property?

What’s the right time to use a management agent?

Whether you are an active landlord or you are managing the property yourself, the choice as to whether you would like a property management company to undertake the tasks on your behalf is down to you and your circumstances/experience. Another thing that can determine this is if you own several properties, letting out to several people or own a large area of land, then you may not be able to handle all the logistics of keeping the properties maintained, so that’s where a property management company could come in and assist you.

Also, you may not want to deal with all the financial and legal aspects of the letting the property directly with your tenants and prefer to have it all dealt with by experienced professionals. Whatever your circumstances, a property manager can provide you with a wide range of services designed to make the process easy and relatively painless for you as a landlord.

What services do a property management companies offer?

A property management company will provide you with the full range of management services for your properties. In certain circumstances, the property owner will only hand over a selected few tasks to a management company and choose to handle some aspects themselves, but if you choose, you can pass full responsibility to the company. So what are the services a typical property management company offer?

The property management company will act as the middleman between the owner of the property and the tenants who are renting it and are often responsible for the following:

  • Advertising/Marketing your property to potential tenants

  • Sourcing suitable and reliable tenants for the property

  • Accompanying potential tenants to view the property

  • Obtaining references and conducting credit checks on potential tenants

  • Providing you with all information on the latest safety regulations

  • Preparing the tenancy agreements on your behalf

  • Organising and managing the collection of the tenant’s deposit

  • Preparing the inventory and conducting a state of repair assessment on the property

  • Checking in the tenant and agreeing on the inventory

  • Collecting the rent from the tenant

  • Transferring the rental income to your account and providing you with statements of account

  • Managing and arranging any necessary repairs

  • Inspecting the property periodically and feeding back any comments to you

  • Providing tenants with notice at the end of the tenancy

  • Re-letting the property as quickly as possible and minimising any breaks in income

Dealing with legal aspects of the tenancy and property, including evictions, non-payment, harassment or problems with squatters is also another service property management companies provide.

What do I look for in a property management company?

One of the most important things to look for in a management agent is their qualifications and credentials. Check to see if the management company is a member of the Association of Rental Letting Agents. ARLA has recently introduced an award called the Technical Award in Residential Lettings and Property Management. Look out for this accreditation when selecting a property management company. ARLA lists qualified management agents on their website, so it’s a great place to start looking for one that lives near you.

A good recommendation can go a long way. Check with friends or acquaintances that also employ a property management service to understand what their experience has been with their agent.

The majority of property letting agents will offer both letting and full management services, but talk to several and negotiate and understand their terms before deciding which to the agent to instruct. Make sure you know which services you are getting and what you’re paying for, either as part of a package or as extras. Ask about ‘To Let’ boards, newspaper adverts, websites, magazines and their own marketing ideas.

How much does a property management company cost?

The cost of instructing a management agent will depend on which services you buy into. The majority of management agents will ask for a percentage of the gross rental income, rather like a commission. Don’t always be tempted by the cheapest fee, however. You want your agent to be motivated to keep the property occupied and the tenants happy at all times, so negotiate a mutually rewarding deal where you can. Fees can range from anywhere between 5 and 10 percent of your gross rental income for a basic service to 15 percent or more for a full management service.

 

What are the advantages of renting a property?

Due to the notable increase in the sales market and the sudden surge in property prices, a lot of people has turned to the cheaper alternative, renting.

For many people, renting is the only option they are looking to in housing as the prices of homes look to be increasing and increasing. This has reportedly had a major effect on the lettings market as up to a third of the population are renting or are being housed in urban centers and are compact in the inner cities.

So we have listed some reasons why renting is of great advantage to a multitude of people:

1. Short Term/Long Term Stays

You are not solely confined to one space, as a long-term tenancy can start from as little as 6 months and then after you have the choice on whether you would like to stay or move, and it all depends on your preference.

2. Flexible Housing

Due to the high costs of living, a lot of people are changing jobs and are also changing their locations. So renting allows for working professionals to frequently move to locations that offer excellent transportation links and are generally closer to their new job.

3. Less Maintenance

As a lot of Landlords rely on property management companies to manage the homes and also take care of maintenance, this means you can worry less about resolving issues within the property you are staying. As the property management company will be the ones to look for contractors and oversee any works.

4. Getting on the Property Ladder

A majority of people only dream of getting onto the property ladder, and that’s the sales property ladder. But the rental property ladder is significantly cheaper than purchasing a property.

5. Exploring different ideas

If there is a specific area you would like to reside in, property sharing decreases the cost per person and also allows you to stay in locations that would normally be out of your budget.

6. Your safety

All rental properties must abide by the law on health and safety, and are only given approval as rentals if the property passes the safety standards and checks.

7. Landlords pay

Any continuous maintenance, building works and any additional costs for the property are covered by the landlord. So you will have less to pay/worry about.

Also, you are most likely to find one bed or two-bed apartments in a city center that will most likely be already furnished and are cheaper than you buying and decorating the place. Landlords used to be able to claim tax relief against furnished properties.  This tax break has now been removed and so there is no financial benefit to a landlord in providing a furnished property other than it making the property more desirable in certain circumstances.

 

How to showcase your property in preparation of viewings

 

When selling or renting out your home one of the most important things to consider would be the presentation of your home, especially as it’s well appreciated when a homeowner has put time and effort into making a good first impression on their homes.

Preparing your home for viewings is definitely an important step in the current buyer’s market. Why is that? Well, it’s because your buyer audience will decide within just a few minutes of viewing whether or not your property is an ideal for them: an unkempt garden or peeling paintwork is often all it takes to secure a lousy review and send them house hunting somewhere else. Giving your house kerb appeal however, isn’t just about dressing for effect. Rather what you should be targetting is encouraging potential buyers to make an emotional connection to your property, to see how easy it will be to live there, rather than spend time imagining how the place might look and how hard it might be to whip it into shape. So how exactly do you go about showcasing your home to the best it can be?

Make an entrance

The exterior of your home is the very first thing potential buyers see and probably make the judgement on. So take note of the property across the road – and make sure your front garden frames the house with a design that gives it good character, but which also complements the street and also the uniqueness of your own home. Keep garden paths wide and weed-free to emphasise the feeling of arrival and separate any driveway with small trees and hedging plants or neat garden ornaments/decorations. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint and stick with quality door furniture that suits the age and style of the property.

Get snappy happy

It’s human nature to overlook what we see every day, but when you see things on the screen, you get a much-needed ‘other view’. So take photographs of your property and analyse them on the computer. This will allow you to critique each room in sequence and make improvements accordingly and also make sure the theme of your home coincides. 

Clean up the clutter

An excess amount of clutter makes it difficult to concentrate on what you’re actually viewing; the more we see in a room, the less we process naturally. Clutter also has the knack for making everything look smaller, so strip back rooms and detox them of unnecessary items. Put large items of furniture, knickknacks, and books into storage or get rid of them if they are currently in use. Prune furniture – people tend to line their walls with chairs and tables – floating furniture away from walls into cosy groups makes the traffic flow more obvious and the perimeters clear.

Lose the ‘me, myself, I’

Your home is no longer yours once that “for sale” or “for rent” sign goes up, but you still need to prepare it so potential new owners pick up on the positive undercurrents of your efforts. Start by depersonalising and neutralising spaces – remove photos, clothing, and personal items and replace them with more generic alternatives and items that are only fit for yourself/your family. You can still give your home personality with carefully chosen items such as decorative mirrors or scatter cushions; just keep the family heirlooms and kiddie art to a minimum, or store them away.

Light the way

The atmosphere is best created by having a variety of light levels according to your mood and the time of day, so install dimmers if you want to especially showcase this feature of your home. Remedy bad lighting by increasing the wattage of your lamps and fittings. Aim for a combination of floor, table and overhead lighting in key rooms to create contrast and highlight eye-catching objects. 

New research suggests : Despite doomsday predictions for house price growth in the capital, prices in Hackney will continue to keep growth strongly over the next three years.

Westminster and Lewisham which will both experience growth of prices of more than four percent. With Hackney are expected to grow more than five percent in the years to 2020.

With Richmond Upon Thames will experience the lowest growth, with prices rising around 1.5 percent. That’s followed by Harrow and Hounslow, where prices will rise around two percent.

The forecast, by KPMG, follows figures published by Savills yesterday which suggested having fallen this year, London house prices will not begin to rise until 2020. The figures suggested prices will fall two percent next year and remain flat in 2019, before rising five percent in 2020.

KPMG said it expected the UK’s economy to remain relatively lackluster, weighing on local demand in London in the medium term.

“On the whole, our projections for the London housing market see a continued cooling in the short term, followed by a gradual rebound in the medium term, which will allow the cumulative price growth to remain positive over the forecast horizon overall.

“However, annual growth rates are not expected to revert to the above-five percent figures seen before 2017 in most boroughs during the period.”

Borough House price growth up to 2020
Hackney 5.31%
Westminster 4.27%
Lewisham 4.11%
Waltham Forest 4.03%
Newham 3.99%
Southwark 3.90%
Haringey 3.75%
Wandsworth 3.73%
Lambeth 3.63%
Islington 3.41%
City of London 3.36%
Barking and Dagenham 3.23%
Camden 3.18%
Tower Hamlets 3.17%
Brent 3.15%
Greenwich 2.90%
Hammersmith and Fulham 2.84%
Kensington & Chelsea 2.79%
Merton 2.63%
Barnet 2.60%
Redbridge 2.60%
Hillingdon 2.50%
Kingston upon Thames 2.46%
Enfield 2.46%
Bexley 2.43%
Croydon 2.43%
Havering 2.40%
Ealing 2.29%
Sutton 2.18%
Bromley 2.12%
Hounslow 2.00%
Harrow 1.93%
Richmond upon Thames 1.65%

Choosing The Right Lettings Agent For You!

As a landlord who is looking to rent a property out for the first time, choosing the right Lettings Agent is one of the most important decisions you should make very carefully and thoughtfully.

At Property Property Property we recommend that you should do some background research with lettings agents within your area and ideally shortlist it down to 3 agents. Begin with finding the  answers to the following:

Which agent has the most Let Boards in the area? (More Let Boards means they are good at finding tenants and provide a good quality service)

Who has the most online presence and following? (a majority of our tenant enquiries come from online sources)

Test call agents as a potential tenant? (How do they treat you, do they recommend a viewing or just take your number and say they will call you, as you always need to make sure that your needs are being taken care of)

Check out their office locations and what their office looks like, if they have piles of paperwork on their desks then an un-organised service is what they are probably providing their clients.

The easiest way to find out about lettings agents is via your friends & family if they have anyone they have used and can personally recommend then it’s a good indicator if an agent is doing a good job. Recommendations are always welcomed.

Once you have received some good feedback and answers to those questions before you make a call to the agent, you might want to check if they are members of any regulatory bodies and what their companies standing is.

Why are regulated agents more important to a landlord?

Unlike many property sales companies letting agents are not mandatory regulated, so a letting agent that chooses to do so is conscious of their client’s best interests and is willing to show that they are committed to a higher level of service & protection.

So these are just a few things that you need to look out for when choosing your Lettings Agent. Now you are ready to arrange some property visits from your chosen agents.

How To Find The Best Rental Property That’s Within Your Budget – PART 2

Following on from our previous article on the series of finding the best rental property that is within your budget. We have collated a few more tips that will be beneficial to you when looking for that new home.


Test the property, don’t just view it

  • Once you’ve found several properties that match your criteria on the type of property you are looking for, book your first viewing.
  • It’s better to take the mindset that you are testing the property rather than viewing it, as you will have more of an open-mind approach to the features in the property.
  • When you sign for a tenancy it is based upon renting the flat or house as seen, therefore when it comes to looking round the property you should test everything as you go and make sure that the property actually your criteria.
  • It also makes sense to take pictures of any problems as you view to back up your list of improvements.
  • Turn the taps on to test water pressure, test the shower, flush the toilet, check the fixtures and fittings are all fine, open and close windows, and most importantly list any work that would need doing before you move in.
  • Remember don’t allow yourself to be rushed through a property by the landlord or letting agent, they may only want to spend 15 minutes showing you round, but you will ultimately be the one living there so make sure you take full advantage of your visit.
  • You should also try and view a property on more than one occasion, ideally at different times of the day. This will not only allow you to have a second check of the property itself but should also help you get a better feel for the surrounding area.

 
Quiz the agent

  • When you’re viewing a property, take the opportunity to ask the letting agent exactly what you are getting for your money and what features you will not be receiving. 
  • Will any bills be included in the rent, what’s the current council tax level for the property and will the property will be thoroughly cleaned and any repair work completed before you arrive and settle in?
  • Ask if there are any additional on-going expenses, such as communal heating and lighting charges, garden maintenance fees or security features that you may have to contribute to.
  • Checking the energy efficiency of the property is also worthwhile; ask to see the Energy Performance Certificate – the better the rating the more money you can expect to save on your utility bills and the less future hassle.
  • This is also the time to ask what fees you would be expected to pay to the agents themselves. This will allow you to have a clearer understanding of where exactly your money is being distributed to.
  • Letting agents will often charge a finding fee and credit reference fee before you can move in and these can vary significantly, so find out in advance what the Agents basic fees are.
  • If you’re faced with high fees, you may want to check if you letting agent is registered as an Associated Residential Letting Agent, the registered body to avoid any upcoming disagreements.
  • Asking if lots of people have already viewed the property and how long has it been on the market for is also worthwhile. If the agent is struggling to find a tenant, there may be something wrong with the property or they may be willing to accept offers below the advertised rent or a reduction in fees. It’s always good to be aware of these signs.
  • You should also check how long your rent will be fixed for and if the landlord has added a clause in the rental contract that means he/she can increase the rent at any time as this can save you a lot of future stress.

 
Deposit Protection

  • Deposits vary from anything between a month to 6 months rent, often depending on your creditworthiness, so make sure you can afford to pay the deposit before you sign a rental agreement and proceed with anything.
  • You should also check how your prospective landlord will be holding your deposit while you rent the property.
  • Landlords must use a government approved deposit protection scheme to protect your deposit. If they fail to do this they must then repay 3 times your deposit, so check exactly where your money will be heading to.

 
Negotiate

  • Although demand for rental property has gone up in recent years with fewer people able to buy if you are looking to rent you still hold the upper hand and make sure that YOU leave satisfied at the end of the day. As you will be the one to live in the property. 
  • There is no reason why you have to accept the listed rental price, instead view this as the maximum you would be expected to pay and see if you can reduce the costs. Although it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get a large discount on your rent, even £10-£20 a month will add up over the course of a standard 6 or 12-month tenancy.
  • If there proves to be little flexibility where the rent is concerned to consider what bills (if any) are included. Some landlords may be willing to cover the costs of some utilities if pushed before you sign. As this will benefit you.
  • Remember once you’ve signed the tenancy you will be tied into the rent and the terms you’ve agreed, so you are only in a position to improve your deal before you commit and move in.

So these are the last few tips we have on finding the best rental property that is within your budget.

How To Find The Best Rental Property That’s Within Your Budget – PART 1

One of the main benefits of renting an apartment or house is that it gives you your own space, without having the hassle of worrying about a mortgage, but it can also be easier to get ripped off. Here’s how to find the most cost-effective space for you.

With the values of house prices increasing and banks tightening up their lending criteria’s, getting on the property ladder is more difficult than ever before and will continue to get more difficult.

So if you’re considering renting but don’t want to pay too much, here’s how to find the best rental properties for your money.

Set a reasonable budget

  • Before contemplating a fully-furnished luxury penthouse, you’ll need to work out exactly how much you can afford to pay each month to avoid disappointment further down the line. 
  • Working out a maximum amount will stop you from overstretching your finances to breaking point. It’s important in making sure you can afford the payments now and in the future as you will be paying rent for months and possibly years to come.
  • When setting your budget, make sure to factor in the extra bills you may need to cover once you move in. These can include utility bills such as gas, water and electricity, council tax, broadband and paying for your TV licence.

What do you need?

  • Before starting your search it is a good idea to work out exactly what you need and wants from your ideal property.
  • How many bedrooms, bathrooms, guest rooms or parking spaces will you need in your new home, and are each of these factors equally important?
  • Most times it can be difficult to get everything you want, so prioritising what you need over what you want can help making a decision easier further down the line.
  • Deciding whether a furnished or unfurnished property is another important decision, if you’re moving into your first flat and have little furniture, you can save money with a furnished property. However, most unfurnished flats now come with useable goods such as a fridge and washing machine so check exactly what’s included; you might be able to get by with an unfurnished property.
  • Where parking is concerned it may be worth researching offsite parking in the surrounding area; if there are plenty of free spaces nearby you could make big savings by opting for a flat with no allocated parking.

Research the area you want to live in

  • Making decisions on where to live is one of the biggest parts of searching for a new home and the location will play a big factor on the type of property you’ll be able to rent with your budget.
  • You will need to prioritise whether location or size of the property is more important to you when you’re looking. Ideally, the more flexible you can be about where you live the better your chance of finding a bargain. How flexible you can be will depend on your lifestyle of course.
  • If you have young children then access to schools may be a big factor in where you look. But if you don’t you may find better properties with lower rents further away from popular school catchment areas.
  • Being close to transport links and other local amenities is also worth considering. Do you need to be close to a supermarket, train station or sports centre for example?

So these are just a few things to look out for when on the hunt for an ideal rental property that suits you and is within your budget. For more tips check out PART 2 in the series.

3 THINGS ESTATE AGENTS DO IN YOUR INTEREST THAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW OF

There has always been speculation and negative talk on Estate Agents, but we’re here to turn that around as we work closely with the agents on our portal. We’ve now curated a list of 5 things Estate Agents do in your interest that you may not be aware of:

TIP #1: Area Research

Estate Agents make sure that they have an in-depth understanding and appreciation for the community they are serving, as this will better their chances in assisting you in either selling your property or buying one. Either way, them having a closer understanding of the area benefits you in general.

TIP #2: Market Research

Estate Agents strive to be on top of the property market as this will aid them in negotiating prices with Landlords or vendors as well as helping you to understand when is the best time to make an investment in regards to anything property related.

TIP #3: Support other local businesses

Agents are always getting involved in local community events or supporting other local businesses in the area via sponsorships, campaigns and etc. Doing this allows Agents to have a close tie with the community and also, in turn, become your tour guide into the community.

So these are just things that Agents do in your interest!

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Also if you have any tips that you could recommend to us, share them in the comments and we’ll be highlighting them in our upcoming articles on Estate Agents and their services.