#PROPERTYOFTHEDAY #12: 3 Bedroom Terraced House – Walton Manor

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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. Today we are highlighting James C Penny Estate Agents in Oxford and their lovely 3-bedroom … 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.

 

The property market in London has been hit harder than any other region in the country by the sharp slowdown since Brexit, official figures reveal today.

The average value of a home in the capital dropped 0.2 percent in September to £483,568, making London the only place in England where prices went into reverse.

Prices in six out of the 33 local authority areas in the capital.Brent, The City, Westminster, Enfield, Kensington & Chelsea, and Lambeth fell year on year. Across London, prices rose just 2.5 percent, less half the national rate of 5.7 percent.

Just outside London, in the South-East region, prices are going up at 5.5 percent a year, suggesting that growing numbers of buyers are giving up on London and looking at locations in the Home Counties instead. Today’s figures do not include the impact of the Bank of England’s interest rate rise this month, the first for a decade. When the benchmark cost of borrowing doubled from 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent.

Jonathan Hopper, managing director of home buying agency Garrington Property Finders, said: “Winter has come early to the London property market. What began as a freezing of prices in the capital’s most exclusive postcodes is turning into a harder frost on both activity and prices.

London is now not just the worst performing English region, it’s a serial laggard. In the 12 months to September, prices in the capital rose at barely a third of the pace of those in the fastest-growing region. This shift is being driven by a steady flight of equity from London — and other previously overheated regions — to areas with greater affordability.

“It’s far too early to talk of the market seizing up, as demand remains relatively robust. But falling real wages and the ongoing problems of affordability are starting to have a noticeable chilling effect.”

North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf said: “Although, of course, there is no average UK price and the UK market reflects all different areas working at various paces, the trend in London is quite different where an excess of supply and weak demand are combining to reduce prices consistently with no real prospect of an increase until early next year at the soonest.”

At the time of the Brexit referendum in June 2016, prices in London were rising at 11.6 percent a year, but they have slowed down dramatically as uncertainty over the withdrawal process from the EU has alarmed buyers. Agents have also blamed higher stamp duty rates for slowing down demand at the top end of the market.

Today’s figures also show that the number of home sales is still plummeting. There were just 6,639 transactions in London in July, down 24 percent on last year. In Tower Hamlets, they fell by two thirds, from 463 to just 160, in an area with a population of more than 300,000.

 

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%

Aviva Investors to float its first property investment trust with plans to raise £200m

Amid increasing demand from investors, Aviva Investors is to float a new real estate investment vehicle and raise £200m.

The fund is the first of its kind for Aviva Investors, which is the UK’s largest real estate manager with around £24bn of properties under management.

It is expected to announce its intention to float on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday, and will then list later this month.

The fund, which will be called Aviva Investors Secure Income REIT, will invest in buildings across the UK that are let to well-known tenants such as blue-chip companies in order to reduce the risk of the income being cut off if tenants default on.

These could include offices, shopping centers, and hotels and would typically be let on leases of 10 years or more, said Renos Booth, head of real estate long income at Aviva Investors.

He added: “With the FTSE at record highs and gilt rates at record lows, there is a search for yield and income. The aim is to provide that secure income through a diversified portfolio.”

Andrew Cunningham, the former chief executive of housebuilder Grainger, will chair the fund, which is targeting an annual yield of 5pc.

Aviva Investors has previously offered a similar investment package to institutions such as pension funds through its £1.9bn Lime Property Fund, which has been running since 2004.

But the move to list a new fund on the London Stock Exchange means it will be open to a wider pool of investors.

Proceeds from the IPO will be spent in the first nine months of the fund’s life, Aviva Investors said, adding that it was already in the process of buying £85m of property. It could also look for fund developments that are not yet built.

 

Properties Going Under Offer Much Faster Than Five Years Ago

Figures from Strutt & Parker actually suggest the time it takes properties to reach the accepted offer stage has improved in the past five years even though Government may want to speed up the home buying process.

Strutt & Parker analysed listings data for between August 2016 and August this year and compared it to the same period in 2012.Over that period, the time taken for a home to go from listing to under offer or SSTC dropped from 87 to 61 days.

Bristol was the fastest with properties listed as going under offer or SSTC in an average of 34 days, while Glasgow has seen the biggest improvement, from 93 to 37 days.

London sellers, on the other hand, are facing an above national average wait to see properties reaching the SSTC stage at 63 days, only two days faster than in 2012.

There are several cities that are now seen as alternatives to London. They offer career opportunities and a contemporary lifestyle, and appeal to people who have been priced out of the capital’s housing market,” said James Mackenzie, head of country houses at Strutt & Parker

Bristol is the perfect example: it has a booming tech hub, a broad range of housing stock and a fashionable harbour area. It is also commutable to London.As technology allows for more flexible working, the ability to commute for two or three days a week to the capital is having a significant effect on regional markets.”

Is your agency in one of the fastest selling property hotspots?

Days to “sold subject to contract” 2017
Bristol 34
Coventry 35
Edinburgh 36
Glasgow 37
Gloucester 39
Portsmouth 40
Southampton 40
Cambridge 40
Birmingham 42
Norwich 44
UK average                 61

 

Kent’s Property Gems

A disused lift shaft has been sold off at auction today for £350,000. The beachfront plot on Viking Bay in Broadstairs originally had an asking price of between £40,000 and £50,000. The lot was in the Clive Emson auction, which was held this morning in Maidstone.

Also on the list was a block of public toilets in Longport, Canterbury, which went for £120,000.It was listed as having ‘potential’ in its location opposite Canterbury College and close by to a pay and display car park.

Even a bunker dating back to the Second World War on the Isle of Sheppey couldn’t escape the gavel after it went for £85,000.It was sold as a “rare opportunity” to buy the freehold which was once an air raid post.

Finally, an office building also went under the hammer at the auction, at The Clive Emson Conference Centre. There is a catch though; it’s right next to Sittingbourne’s fire station. It fetched £210,000 after having a guide price of between £210,000 and £220,000.

Find your hidden gem in Kent on www.propertypropertyproperty.co.uk.

Home buyers willing to spend an hour travelling into central London can save up to £480,858 on the cost of buying a home.

Property prices are about 60 percent lower than London in towns such as CrawleyWindsorRochesterPeterborough, and Oxford, with average house prices of around £316,000.In comparison, the average cost of a home in London travel Zones 1 and 2 has reached almost  £800,000, according to the report by Lloyds Bank.

Wellingborough in Northamptonshire emerges from the study as the least expensive commuter town with an average property price of around £197,000, followed by Kettering, also in Northamptonshire and Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, a close third.

Of course, property prices can’t be the only financial consideration when considering a move outside of London. The current annual rail pass for commuters traveling for 60-minutes costs an eye-watering £5,169 on average, but if the sums stack up, you could buy 93 years worth of travel with the average savings made on the property.

THE CHEAPEST COMMUTER TOWNS WITHIN AN HOUR’S COMMUTE OF LONDON

Town County Average house price (July 2017) Fastest train to central London
Wellingborough Northamptonshire £197,743 51 minutes
Kettering Northamptonshire £206,873 59 minutes
Peterborough Cambridgeshire £207,458 53 minutes
Swindon Wiltshire £234,466 59 minutes
Chatham Kent £234,652 54 minutes
Rugby Warwickshire £237,263 50 minutes
Northampton Northamptonshire £238,306 48 minutes
Luton Bedfordshire £250,593 24 minutes
Sittingbourne Kent £254,457 60 minutes
Basildon Essex £259,176 38 minutes

Source: Lloyds Bank, Land Registry, ONS

 

TOWNS WITHIN A 40-MINUTE COMMUTE OF LONDON

If an hour-long commute sounds too much, there can also big savings to be made on 40 and 20-minute journeys, the research from Lloyds Bank reveals. 

Homes in towns such as HatfieldBillericayOrpington and Reading cost just under £425,000 on average, which is almost half the cost of central London prices. An annual rail pass costs around £3,615 for a 40-minute commute. Even traveling just 20-minutes can save homebuyers almost £300,000, with rail passes from towns such as Ilford and Elstree costing £2,481 a year.

The distance between a potential new home and the office is a key factor for many house hunters, but Andrew Mason, mortgage product director at Lloyds Bank, believes commuting is an option worthy of serious consideration.

Not only do you get more house for your buck outside of central London, but commuters living in the 10 most affordable commuter towns are earning over £9,000 more per year on average than they would be in their place of residence.

“Commuting to London is a smart move for those wishing to benefit from the higher wages on offer while buying a cheaper and typically larger home,” he said.

THE TOWNS WHERE IT DOESN’T PAY TO COMMUTE

There are, however, a handful of commuter towns that command higher house prices than central London. Homes in Beaconsfield, for example, cost an average of £1,054,000, with Gerrards Cross (£903,000), Ascot (£824,000) and Weybridge (£822,000) also more expensive.

Commuting to other major UK cities is unlikely to be cost-effective.

Homes in the second biggest city of Birmingham cost £182,000 on average, yet the towns of DerbyCoventryBurton on Trent and Leamington Spa - all roughly 40 minutes away by train – command significantly higher average house prices of £225,000.

The situation is similar in the third largest city of Manchester, where the average house costs £175,000. Go house hunting in the nearby towns of MacclesfieldChorleyWarrington, however, and you can expect to find higher average house prices of £216,000.