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.

 

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. 

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.

First-time buyers are priced out as number of flats sold in London tumbles

London’s flats have decreased in sales as the prices are out of reach for ordinary first-time buyers, according to new research.

According to figures from Home.co.uk, which analyses data from the Office for National Statistics and property portals, which the number of apartments sold in the capital fell by 47pc in July compared to 12 months previously.

The number of detached properties sold in London fell 5pc in 12 months to July this year, with sales of terraced houses down 8pc. This comes amid a general slowdown in the level of transactions across the country, and particularly in London.

According to the Land Registry, the average price of a flat in London increased by 3.9pc in the 12 months to July to £434,587. The price growth of flats is outstripping all other property types across the country, partly due to a lack of supply, being led by the rises in the capital.

With the slowdown in sales signals that affordability has been crunched and many first-time buyers, who would typically purchase these properties, are sitting on their hands and waiting for a correction in prices. 

While the Government’s Help to buy scheme has allowed many first-time buyers across the country to get on the property ladder with a 5pc deposit, the take-up in London has been far lower. The threshold of £600,000 means that many newbuild properties are too expensive to qualify and analysis by the BBC earlier in the year found that while Help to Buy is used to buy one in three new-build homes outside London, in the capital it is just one in 10.

Other natural buyers of these properties, buy-to-let landlords, have also been squeezed by changes to the tax regime and many are sitting out buying opportunities or selling up their portfolios.

Lucy Pendleton, the founder of estate agency James Pendleton, said: “Solid numbers of people are showing some reluctance at current prices and signaling to all the other market participants they can’t transact unless they come back down to earth.” 

A correction could soon be coming: data from Acadata and LSL property services found that prices in London have fallen the most since the financial crisis. Average property values have fallen 2.7pc in the year to September, the most since 2009.

 

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.

 

7 THINGS YOU SHOULD LOOK OUT FOR IN YOUR RETIREMENT HOME

At Property Property Property we cater to everyone, including our dear pensioners. So this post is dedicated and the start of more to come, that are highlighted specifically to pensioners or those seeking retirement.

We have curated and listed below our top 7 tips on things you should look for in your retirement home:

TIP #1: Ramp or home modification

Now we’re not suggesting that this is a most for everyone, but as most people who are seeking retirement homes for the purpose of living there for the rest of lives, we advise that this is something you look out for. As it is a known fact that strength decreases with age, so looking into securing a property with a ramp and already installed home modifications is a bonus as it will save you time and money in the future when having to maybe install these functions.

TIP #2: Low ceilings

Ideally, when you look for properties, your mind isn’t too focused on the size or height of the ceiling. But as you gracefully age, I believe it is something you should look for in your retirement home. As you’ll still want to be able to have reach of the lighting on your celling and something that doesn’t have an overwhelming effect, such as a high ceiling.

TIP #3: Lower units

Following on from having lower ceilings, you may also consider having lower units. Such as a lower kitchen cabinet, lower bathroom system; anything that doesn’t stress you or is more easily accessible for yourself as you age.

TIP #4: Community park or recreation center

At this age, you are either more free to explore the world or you’re freer to explore your community. We suggest looking for local facilities that encourage pensioner activities or anything that will keep you busy and stress-free in your older years.

TIP #5: Location

Location is a very important factor to consider when seeking a retirement home as you still want to be accessible and reachable to family, friends, and anyone who you are in contact with. But at the same time, aim to look for a more peaceful and scenic neighborhood so that you can enjoy your retirement with less noise pollution.

TIP #6: Maintenance

This leads back to point 3, we just want to reinforce the point that it’s better to look for a property that will require less maintenance work in the long-run. As you wouldn’t want to spend your retirement having to make continuous modifications and alterations to your new home in order to suit your health. Why not jump this step and consider this now.

TIP #7: Transport

And finally transportation. We advise anyone and everyone looking for a new space to look for a location with good transportation links, as this will give you more freedom to travel as this will be something that is easily accessible for you to visit friends or family.

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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 in the ‘Retirement and Pensioners’ series.

 

 

5 COOL THINGS FOR YOUR CHILDREN TO ENJOY IN THEIR NEW HOME

Parents, do your children complain that your home isn’t cool enough or that little Johnny’s room isn’t as nice as little Maxwell’s is his class. Well, we’ve got some tips for you on how you can make your home look super-duper cool for your kids.

TIP #1: Chalkboard walls

You either find it fascinating or annoying and that is; chalkboards. As a kid, you may remember drawing all over the walls of the house, even though there was paper somewhere in the house. I definitely did.

To prevent that but also encourage your children’s creative abilities, invest in some chalkboard paint. Whether you want to paint a panel, a strip or be adventurous and paint a whole wall; go for it. Make sure you actually have some chalk though and a chalk eraser, to clean it up after.

TIP #2: DIY cinema system

Have you tried having an at home cinema day, where you’ve put in some animated DVD’s for the kids, but the issue is the screen isn’t big enough? But the layout is cool, just the screen causing problems. Well for that final touch we recommend that you consider buying some ‘Projection Screen’ (preferably 100” inch 16:9 and portable), have it pinned up or stuck to your wall and get you a projector next. Then project your films on a BIGGER screen! Get some popcorn too, while you’re at it.

TIP #3: Dedicated space

Whether it’s an entire playroom, a small corner, or a reading nook. We believe that your child needs a space where they can have some chill me-time. But decorate it and make it look a bit fancy for them.

TIP #4: Cool scenery wallpaper

Have you ever been to the jungle? I haven’t, but you could take your kids there. And I don’t mean a real jungle; I mean that you could customise your little one’s room with some scenic wallpaper ranging from an animated jungle, a little princess castle, a tropical island or whatever takes their fancy. These are a really good way to drastically change the appearance of the kid’s room.

TIP #5: Cool storage systems

As a youth, cleaning wasn’t one of my biggest hobbies and I’m sure it isn’t your children’s either. Unless times have changed drastically. But in order to slowly nurture your kids into the art of home maintenance and also teach them good household skills, create a cool storage system where cleaning actually looks exciting. Having some hanging storage bins are quite good, as your children could practice basketball and represent our country in the Olympics.

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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 in the ‘Family’ series.