SUMMER OR WINTER?? When should I market my property??

So, whilst sitting watching my new puppy chew his jammie dodger squeeky toy I find my mind wandering and thinking about what is happening in the market at present. We are now very much into the back end of the year, the nights are dark, the mornings are dark and the sun is hiding far more often than in previous months. And the question every morning now is: do I wear a vest under my shirt, jumper over my shirt, a coat or all 3!

But what does the winter bring the property market? Is it a myth that more properties are sold in the summer, than the winter? Well, here are some stats for you…

  • According to rightmove.co.uk Oct – Dec 2015 saw 150 properties sold in BH8 and Oct – Dec 2016 saw 128 properties sold in BH8.
  • According to rightmove.co.uk July – September 2015 saw 138 properties sold in BH8 and July – September 2016 saw 129 properties sold in BH8.

So as you can clearly see, in recent years, the time of year does not actually affect the number of properties sold in BH8. Specifically, in BH8 more properties have been sold in the winter of recent years, than in the summer months.

A stat that might be interesting to add to this, is how many properties are new to the market in that same time frame:

  • According to rightmove.co.uk in Oct – Dec 2015, for BH8, there were 190 new properties brought to market and 148 for Oct & November in 2016 (Dec 2017 stat not available)
  • According to rightmove.co.uk in July – September 2015, for BH8, there were 225 new properties brought to market and 273 for July -September 2016.

The interesting conclusion to take from this is that many more properties were new to market in the summer months but it is still a similar number of properties that are sold across the 2 times of year.But why would this be? Buyers buy for a number of reasons but mainly the reason revolves around a ‘want’, or a ‘need’. The ‘need’ buyers have little worry over what time of year it is, whether it is raining or bright sunshine, they have the need to move and move! When they move is much lower down on the list. Those who buy out of ‘want’, buy with their head and will be more reactive to the time of year, what the property looks like in the summer over the winter and will be looking for the deal. They have the option of being able to buy when something comes up, rather than having to buy what is there when they have to move.

In answer to the title question the stats above aren’t the only reason to make a decision on when to market. If there was, then this would suggest to bring your property to market in the Winter. But is that right for you, and your property? Does that fit in with your reason / need to sell? Who is likely to buy your property? Is your property then likely to be part of a chain? At what time of year does your buyer type buy?

There are a long, long list of reasons why a seller markets the property when they do. Be sure to know the questions and answers that will give you the right result.

There are many more interesting articles around the property market in Bournemouth, and surrounding areas, at www.propertyblogbournemouth.com and at www.gordonbarker.com. Please do check them out, I’d love to hear your thoughts on some of the talking points currently swimming around our industry.

 

 

BUY TO LET SALES | SHOULD YOU BUY WITH TENANT OR WITH VACANT POSSESION??

With the shift in tax, stamp duty and mortgage interest relief all changing at the moment landlords are moving property on as they may not be geared up right or they may have other avenues that fit their money circumstances better. But for new investor, who know and are geared up for the current rules are buying them and looking to buy more.

One question I am getting asked a lot at the moment because we have a number of these BTL sales on the market:

”Should we buy with a tenant in situ, or should they buy a property with vacant possession?”

To me, it seems a straight forward answer if you simplify it; If the property is tenanted, and you trust the agent currently managing it to tell you the truth about the management of the property, and the rent currently being paid is market rent then of course buy it with the tenants in situ. But only if they are good tenants.

Once you have established they are a good tenant, at this stage, it is about numbers. With all things equal you will make more money by buying a tenanted property because you are being paid from day 1. Costs going out are going to hurt less because you see money coming in instantly and you have no new / set up costs to pay the new managing agent as the tenant is already found and they should just continue as normal with whatever commission rate is agreed. And especially if they were the sales agency as they will want to keep you and the management of the property.

One extra thing to think about, if the property is already in a good condition and acceptable to the current tenant then there is little that will be required to be done to the property and the costs of this can be deferred to a later date when they vacate which gives you chance to build of the buffer for the works to be done.

When should you not buy it with tenants in situ? Well to me, this is where trust comes into play with the agent you are buying from. You need to find out who the tenants are, what rent are they paying, do they pay it every month, are the safety checks up to do, how long are they fixed in for, will they renew… these sorts of questions will help you to build trust with the agent but also to get the information you need to decide if the tenants are good or not and if they are likely to stay. You really don’t want to be inheriting bad tenants with the purchase.

If the property is already empty then it’s not a choice but given the choice, and if the ground work can be done to check the tenants of the property then every time, YES, buy with tenants in situ. Even pay a little more for that given there will be no immediate void, instant start of the return on the money, and tenants are already used to the property which should equate to easier management and less costs.

I am always happy to look over a possible option you’re thinking of buying so feel free to ask me – aaron@gordonbarker.

 

 

 

 

 

7 tips for Bournemouth Landlords

In my daily life running a sales and lettings agency I’m constantly asked about tips, tricks and things that clients should be looking out for. Well…while I’m sitting on hold with British Gas I’ve written out 7 things that should be considered before and during the lettings process


1 – Property presentation
When it comes to handing your property over to a agent / tenant for the first time be sure to give it over in the best condition possible and make sure an accurate inventory and schedule of condition is done. This way it helps to protect the condition of the property and slows any decline as it is starting higher, easier to see / deal with any damage and mush more chance of success with any deposit claim if there is evidence to suggest condition at start, and end, of a tenancy.


2 – Insurance
Be sure to have your property insured against the unforeseen. A standard landlord buildings insurance will do, but there are optional extras that include rent and eviction protection and accidental tenant damage (if higher than deposit taken) . These are useful items to have. Be sure to speak to your agent about this too. My agency has a rent guarantee policy, as most do, so make sure you are not doubling up but also make sure that any referencing done on the tenant will cover your protection policy too.


3 – Maintenance
Make sure you plan your maintenance as well as deal with reactive maintenance quickly and efficiently. Pick once, pick right and pay once. Be sure to use trusted contractors to fix problems to be sure they are not creating or finding further problems that don’t exist. Regular boiler servicing along with the Gas Safety Cert can uncover / fix problems before the cause serious concern.

 

4 – Paperwork
It is more important now, than ever, to be sure you have the correct paperwork in place from the very outset. From lodging and protecting the deposit to providing an EPC, from producing prescribed information to handing out the government made ‘how to rent’ booklet there are a large number of boxes that need to be ticked on move in. If these boxes are not ticked then it causes serious concerns on exit, if the tenant stop paying and you have not done what you should have then you cannot evict them until you have. Any notice, under section 21 especially, will be void if the boxes aren’t ticked at the start of the tenancy. Be sure you’re doing it right, from the start.

5 – Void periods
This is where Bournemouth landlords lose most of their money on their BTL investment. One month empty and that cold be your years profit gone, so be realistic on rents and keep good tenants in situ where you can. Is it worth losing a tenant, having an empty property for the sale of an extra £15 per month. On an £800pcm flat it will take 53 months (which is over 4 years) to get back a month’s lost rent at that increase!

6 – Suitability
There is a lot to be said for making sure a tenant is actually suitable for the property, and for you as owner. If you have a 1 bedroom flat with no garden or parking, then think carefully about letting to the couple with a child and a car.  Not only will the wear and tear be quite high on the flat, this will only ever be a short term fix for the couple. It will likely be empty again within 6-12 months, is that what you want? Also if you a particularly whiney neighbour then the family with a yappy dog, small children and pare works van and likely to cause you a lot of headaches during their tenancy with complaining neighbours, and likely through no fault of the tenant but again it will likely force them away and the property will be empty again soon. Think carefully about how suitable that tenant / applicant is for your property before letting them in?

7 – Service
And finally, what is it that you want your agent to do for you? And what can you do for yourself? Speak to them in detail about how their managed / tenant find services work for you and how they work with your ideals and ways of working. There needs to be synergy and compatibility with that you want. Otherwise you are just paying for something you don’t need or want and ultimately wont be happy with.

This is just an insight into what goes through an agents head on every let, this is what we do for a living and always offer the benefit of our experience for each and every landlord and tenant combo to get the best out of the scenario for all parties involved.

Read more articles: Why not read more articles from the Property Blog | Bournemouth by clicking this link..

Speak to me: If you’d like to speak to me about anything in this article, or anything property related please do drop me an email at aaron@gordonbarker.com. I’d love to hear from you.

 

Bournemouth BTL deal

If you are looking to start your BTL journey or you are a seasoned investor then here is a option for you to consider. I have been fortunate this week to have been instructed on a tenanted 1 bedroom first floor flat with ground floor entrance, own rear garden, freehold and converted loft room on top of the usual bedroom, lounge, kitchen and bathroom. See link below:

Sales

As it is currently tenanted it is a ready made investment. It currently rents at £650 pcm, with a scope for increase. Being located close to ensbury park it sits in a very central, and handy location offering great access to all local areas.

Having the freehold means no leasehold fees or concerns over lease length and no monthly or annual maintenance costs controlled by someone else.

At the current rent of £650 pcm it offers a return of over 5%. Couple that with what should hopefully be good capital growth and a rising rental market this looks a solid investment that should only go one way…

I am happy, as always, to chat through your personal requirements and thoughts surrounding BTL investment and what you are looking to achieve through any BTL purchase. Feel free to contact me anytime on aaron@gordonbarker.com

Bournemouth Landlords – How do your rental prices compare??

Whilst having an investment conversation with a Bournemouth landlord last week he asked me a question about how his properties were performing against the average in the area. So below was the research graph I showed him:

This graph showed her that his 1 bedroom property on the Talbot Woods / Winton border was outperforming the average 1 bedroom in the area by some distance. It was renting for £695.00pcm in 2015 (market average at £585.00pcm) and has just renewed at £725.00pcm at the end of 2016. A statistic that he is very happy with, as this shows it is out-performing the market average by over £100 per month now and shows an increase of 4% (as opposed to the market average of only 2%)

Just as I finished this conversation another client called, with a maintenance issue. Once we dealt with the details of that and arranging a contractor to fix it, I informed them of the previous conversation I had just had and he asked how his 3 bedroom house in Winton was performing against the average. The graph shows the average 3 bedroom property in Bournemouth rents for £1009.00pcm (on average from Oct ‘15 – Sept ‘16) whereas his 3 bedroom house in Winton was renting for £1395.00pcm. His property is a 3 bedroom 2 reception room detached house wit stunning rear garden and garage, so was always going to be out-performing the average but it is always lovely for a landlord to see the choices they made, the property we let for them is doing so well.

Please do use this graph above to judge your property against the market average, and if you want a 2nd eye to look it over or want a true market valuation with supporting evidence report then please do give me a call or email me and I’d happily take a look for you.

Read more articles: Why not read more articles from the Property Blog | Bournemouth by clicking this link..

Speak to me: If you’d like to speak to me about anything in this article, or anything property related please do drop me an email at aaron@gordonbarker.com. I’d love to hear from you.  

 

 

 

 

 

What should you consider before getting into BTL??

What should I consider before committing to buying Buy-to-Let property?

Like any investment, buy-to-let property comes with its risks; there is always a risk as with any investment. Below are a few steps to consider before making any decision.

1. Research the market

If you are new to buy-to-let, what do you know about the market? Do you know the risks, as well as the benefits?

Make sure that buy-to-let is the investment you want. Your money might be able to perform better elsewhere. In tough times a high-rate savings account will beat most investments. If you know someone who has entered the buy-to-let market, ask them about their experiences, or chat with other investors. GordonBarker can also introduce you to IFAs and other financial contacts to help with the decision making process.

2. Choose a promising area

Promising does not mean the most expensive or cheapest. Promising means a place where people would like to live and this can be for a variety of reasons. Where in your town has a special appeal? If you are in a commuter belt, where has good transport? Where are the good schools for young families? Where do the students want to live?

Have a look at the rental market and homes to buy online or speak to someone within our office to help you with the desirable areas for the type of tenants you are looking for.

3. Do your maths. Is it financially viable?

Before you think about looking around properties sit down with a pen and paper and write down the cost of houses you are looking at and the rent you are likely to get. These days most lenders want a minimum of a 15% deposit, which protects against falling prices, and in the wake of the problems in the mortgage market many are now demanding 25% deposits. On some occasions the best rate buy-to-let mortgages also come with large arrangement fees, so be sure to factor these in too

  • Can you afford an increase in interest rates?
  • Would you be able to cover interest payments if you had no tenant?
  • If the boiler, or other vital equipment, breaks could you afford to replace it immediately?

4. Get Independent financial advice

Do not just walk into your bank and building society and ask for a mortgage. It sounds obvious, but people who do this when they need a financial product are one of the reasons why banks make millions in profit. GordonBarker can introduce you to a number of IFAs, mortgage brokers and other financial contacts that can help you pick the best deal for you

5. Who is your ideal tenant?

Instead of imagining whether you would like to live in your investment property, put yourself in the shoes of your target tenant. Who are they and what do they want?

The team at GordonBarker are very experienced with tenants of all types from students to retired professionals, and young professional families to those on housing benefit. Each property type will likely attract a certain tenant type, this is a huge factor that needs to be considered before buying anything.

6. Don’t be over ambitious

We have all read the stories about buy-to-let millionaires and their huge portfolios, but a lot of these have gone bankrupt by over extending. Be sure that you can survive any market condition that is predicted or likely in the coming 5 – 10 years. With house prices at a high level currently then buy-to-let investing should be seen as an income, and long term capital growth rather than short term capital growth.

Short term capital growth, buying at BMV and flipping are other forms of investment into property that could also be explored.

7. Consider looking further afield

Most buy-to-let investors look for properties near where they live. But your town may not be the best investment. The advantage of a property close by is being able to keep an eye on it, but if you will be employing an agent anyway they should do that for you.

Cast your net wider and look at towns with good commuting links that are popular with families or have a sizeable university.

We are very fortunate in that parts of Dorset and Hampshire are very good buy-to-let investment areas with house prices rising, rental prices are also rising for popular property types and there is an abundance of tenants looking for good quality property at present.

8. Negotiate over sale price

As a buy-to-let investor you have the same advantage as a first-time buyer when it comes to negotiating a discount. If you are not reliant on selling a property to buy another, then you are not part of a chain and represent less of a risk of a sale falling through. This can be a sizeable asset when negotiating a discount.

9. Know the risks

Before you make any investment you should always investigate the negative aspects as well as the positive.

Even in popular areas properties can sit empty, tenants can become redundant / lose their jobs and rent can just not be paid by a tenant. Rent recovery, eviction protection and rent guarantee policies offered by GordonBarker can really help to reduce the risk of lost rent.

One rule of thumb many buy-to-let investors apply is to factor in the property sitting empty for 6 weeks of the year – this gives a substantial buffer that in most cases will never be reached. Tenants are becoming longer and longer terms and it is more likely that years could go by with the same tenant in situ.

Homes often need repairing and things can go wrong. If you do not have enough in the bank to cover a major repair to your property, do not invest yet. When a property is kept in a good state of repair on the whole tenant’s do respect that and will keep it that way. Regular cleaning, decorating and repairs will keep a good tenant and keep them for longer too.

10. Consider how involved you want to be…

Buying a property is only the first step. Will you rent it out yourself or get an agent to do so?

All agents will charge you a management fee, but will deal with any problems and have a good network of plumbers, electricians and other workers if things go wrong.

You can potentially make more money by renting the property out yourself but be prepared to give up weekends and evenings on viewings, advertising and repairs. And be sure that you know how to deal with non-payment, be sure you have the correct procedures in place for renewals, gas safety certificates, fire and soft furnishing regulations, carbon monoxide alarms legionnaires testing and a whole host of other legal requirements that a landlord must adhere too. When you manage the property yourself you need to be sure you are following the rules, as a tenant that knows the rules more than the landlord is a very dangerous thing and can be very, very expensive if it’s not done incorrectly.

I am always happy to discuss any BTL purchase before you make it to ensure you are getting what you want / need from the deal. Feel free to email me anytime at aaron@gordonbarker.com or call 01202292400