Ogilvy & Sneyd https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/ en-GB Nottingham Selective Licensing Scheme https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/39/79/Nottingham-Selective-Licensing-Scheme.html Mon, 04 Sep 2017 20:38:06 +0100 Ogilvy and Sneyd take a look at the Nottingham Licensing Scheme

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Nottingham has seen selective licensing get unanimous backing from the council's executive board, giving the council's official approval. The matter now rests with the central government for final approval.

 

For those of you that don’t know, the selective licensing covers approximately 32,000 properties and aims to improve housing standards in the city’s Private Rented Sector (PRS). It is claimed that the scheme will raise standards of housing, reduce anti-social behaviour and tackle rogue landlords. 

 

At Ogilvy & Sneyd we are firm believers in a high quality private rented sector and strongly support landlords who join industry bodies such as National Landlord Association. However one wonders the limitations of such a scheme. At face value, the aims are very agreeable, who would not want such issues to be addressed? However can the scheme actually address them or will this turn out to be yet another financial attack on landlords? 

 

The scheme claims that it will raise the standards of accommodation by driving up standards in the PRS, however the council should be careful that this does not simply increase rents and lead to more housing being out of reach for the many in need. Landlords have already suggested an increase in rents as a reaction to the recent tax changes, may this have a similar outcome? 

 

It also seems that the many are being punished for the few; it's a common misconception that every landlord provides low quality housing, this was proven in a recent survey, carried out by home let, when 84% of stated they were happy in their property. Similarly not one landlord we deal with provides subpar housing and all are very conscious to provide quality housing and meet all regulations. It's not surprising that we do not manage properties owned by “rogue” landlords, in fact I would be very surprised to hear any agent say the contrary. This is because agents more often than not, will refuse to represent a “rogue” landlord. Most agents are members of professional bodies that insist properties are managed in line with all legislation. The “rogue” landlords work in the shadows and I fear are unlikely to join the scheme due to their nature and will be troublesome to catch. 

 

There are many schemes such as The National Landlord Association that have been improving the PRS for many years now and it seems that these, whose members are many, have been potentially overlooked. Only landlords who are accredited with DASH or Unipol get a discount on the licence. If all councils took this stand point on licensing, then landlords would have to be accredited with numerous different “localised” industry bodies, rather than just one national and recognised body. 

 

Ogilvy & Sneyd wholeheartedly supports any plans to improve housing stock in Nottingham and make sure that the PRS works for both landlords and tenants alike.

 

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HS2 arriving in Toton https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/38/79/HS2-arriving-in-Toton.html Mon, 04 Sep 2017 18:35:52 +0100 This article provides readers with some brief facts on the high speed railway and the effects on The East Midlands.

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 The HS2 looks set to go as the government confirm its full steam ahead and The East Midlands will be one of the few places looking to benefit from the HS2.

The high-speed railway will follow along the east side of the A42, then through Long Eaton via a high level viaduct to reach its hub station in Toton. Although this station is not due to open until 2033,  it is already having an effect on local people and local property prices. We have seen shorter void periods in the area than ever before and each property having multiple applicants interested.

 For long term property investors this area is really worth keeping an eye on, as a result of HS2 it's quite possible that Toton, with the tram system also stopping in the area, could become the one of the best connected locations in the UK.

Facts  

Projected Travelling Times from East Midlands

1hr 8mins to London compared to 1hr 44

36mins to Birmingham compared to 1hr 13

46mins to Leeds compared to 1 hr 46

Jobs created in Toton: 1500

However there has been some concerns raised by people in Long Eaton and this has mostly been surrounding the high level viaduct that will go through the area. Ben Timberley from the Stop HS2 Erewash Group said: "This viaduct will do lots of damage for Long Eaton. It will destroy the town.''

Here at Ogilvy & Sneyd we are not so negative and agree with Erewash MP Maggie Throup who believes that it will really put Long Eaton and the surrounding areas on the map. creating more jobs and opening up more land for housing and in turn it will generate a thriving area with a booming property market. 

Ogilvy and Sneyd are a specialist local letting agent in Long Eaton, Stapleford, Toton and surrounding areas in Nottingham.

 

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How to be a property investor – a beginner’s guide https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/36/79/How-to-be-a-property-investor-a-beginners-guide.html Wed, 19 Jul 2017 08:04:02 +0100 There are so many reasons why property investment is a good business to be in. Long-term financial gain, short-term rental dividends, and control over your own portfolio to name just some of the more desirable benefits. But, doing it right is where the challenge comes in, especially if you are a beginner.

So, where do you start? Here’s a guide on how to be a property investor.

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1.       Choose your route

Be clear about what type of investor you want to be. Some would argue that investing in a few smaller ventures is more profitable than one larger project, but be sure to look at all the options before diving in. The other thing to consider is whether you are going to stick to one type of property or have several on the books – there are arguments that consider flats and apartments as financially easier to manage than houses when considering buy-to-let opportunities, but this may not be the best option for the area in which you intend to set up.

2.       Research your target area

Which brings us to the second point, research. It’s imperative that you have an understanding of the market you are planning to delve into, as it would be with any new business venture. Make sure you know who the rental market is in your area if this your plan and research the types of properties they are looking to rent. In the beginning, you may find it easier to establish your property investment business in your local area as you will have better knowledge of the dos and don’ts. What’s more, don’t discount unfashionable areas – making an investment at the right time in upcoming districts can prove to be an extremely lucrative move further down the line.

3.       Match your property

Once you have decided on an area in which you’d like to invest in, be sure to buy appropriately for a potential resale or rental outcome. Find out who is buying in the area if you aim to do up the property and sell it on, but similarly, if it’s a buy-to-let opportunity, make sure you are purchasing a property that will figure positively with potential tenants. It’s a good idea to target an area with a high proportion of young professionals if you intend to rent, as they will be looking for a high-end property and be prepared to part with more of their income to get it.

4.       Shop around

Be prepared to shop around to find your perfect property and don’t ever buy on a whim. Remember your intentions with a property and keep an open mind when viewing. You are buying a property as an investment and not for your own personal use.

5.       Add value

Do what you can to add value to your property and stay on top of living trends. Open-plan living, an extra bathroom, gardens and patios will all feature highly on the wish list of most buyers and tenants, as will added security features. Remember that people are looking for the most they can get within their budget.

6.       Tax efficient

Getting to grips with the legalities of property investment is essential but it’s also one of the ways you can be at your most profitable. Making sure you are a wizard at filing your tax return and making the right claims where you can could be the key to making your millions!

7.        Be aware of the pitfalls

As with any business, there are always going to be hurdles and challenges to overcome but knowledge is power. Try and be aware of potential pitfalls before they occur so you can face them head on. Don’t be disheartened if you do make mistakes along the way, it’ll make you a stronger investor in the long run.

8.       Choose how you want to manage your portfolio

Once you are up and running, you might want to draft in a property management company to help you manage your existing portfolio which will free you up to look for other opportunities to grow your empire!

  

Ogilvy and Sneyd provide a bespoke residential property management and lettings service for property investors, buy-to-let investors, and property landlords in Staffordshire and Nottinghamshire. For advice on your portfolio, call our Staffordshire branch on 01538 360245, or our Nottingham branch on 0115 7528399.

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Landlords’ crib sheet: 9 things you need to know in 2017 https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/34/79/Landlords-crib-sheet-9-things-you-need-to-know-in-2017.html Tue, 11 Jul 2017 10:44:35 +0100 2017 has been a turbulent year all round and landlords are feeling the pressure more than ever, particularly with the increased scrutiny over their responsibilities following the recent Grenfell Tower fire.

The property market has also hit a lull, especially in the buy-to-let sector, thanks to changes in rules and regulations making a difference to the way landlords can operate.

The aim is to try and kick start the lending market by ‘cooling off’ the rental game, but with rising living costs and interest rates keeping mortgages out of reach for many people, there is still a very big need for rental properties - so what do landlords need to know?

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 1.       Right to Rent

As part of The Immigration Act 2016, the ‘right to rent’ legislation came into force in February 2016 meaning landlords have to be sure that tenants can legally live in the UK. Furthermore, since December 2016 the breach of this can now carry a five year prison sentence as well as a £3k fine.

2.       Tax relief

Landlords have benefited from mortgage interest tax relief in previous years but since April 2017 this is being phased out. By 2020, landlords won’t be able to offset any mortgage interest and instead will be able to claim a tax credit for just 20% of their mortgage interest.

3.       Rogue landlords

The Housing & Planning Act 2016 has produced some key procedures to try and stop illegal and dishonest landlords from operating. It includes the ability to ban landlords who commit an offence from being allowed to rent out properties for 12 months, and establishing a database of rogue landlords and property agents. (Expected October 2017)

4.       Stamp Duty

Stamp duty is one of the biggest pitfalls when it comes to purchasing properties both for private and for buy-to-let purposes. Landlords have been hit with a 3% surcharge on properties they purchase over a certain price.

5.       Deposit schemes

While compulsory deposit protection schemes have been in place a while, landlords should keep an eye on the legislation surrounding this. There are significant alternatives coming to market which could make the process much more complicated, such as tenancy insurance and free deposit renting in certain sectors.

6.       Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

An EPC is required when any property is built, sold or rented, and lasts for 10 years. New legislation is ordering that all new and renewing EPC certificates in the private rental sector must be rated E or above by 1st April 2018, and any tenancy (new or existing) must meet these standards by 2020. 

7.     Evictions

Since 2015, there have been new regulations in the complex Section 21 eviction process, and landlords who manage their own properties needing to undertake this process may not be aware of the legalities now enforced.

8.       Letting agent fees

There are plans to abolish letting agent fees for tenants meaning the costs for things like credit checks, tenancy agreements and agency fees could pass over onto landlords. If these plans proceed, it will be a change that landlords will need to factor into their 2018 budgets.

9.       Landlord licence

Landlords could be made to agree to strict management rules in order to bring a uniform structure to the way the rental market is executed. If landlords do not adhere to these rules then they may face charges and fines. Some councils are already operating these types of licencing schemes.

 

Keeping on top of landlord rules and regulations is an extremely stressful and challenging part of the job, especially if you only manage just one or two properties on top of your existing career commitments. Bringing on a trusted and professional rental management company takes away all of these pressures. Speak to the team at Ogilvy & Sneyd today to find out if you should be doing more than you are!  

 

Ogilvy and Sneyd provide a bespoke residential property management and lettings service for property investors, buy-to-let investors, and property landlords in Staffordshire and Nottinghamshire. For advice on your portfolio, call our Staffordshire branch on 01538 360245, or our Nottingham branch on 0115 7528399. 

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Ogilvy & Sneyd Expands Its Property Management Business With New Sandiacre Branch https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/33/79/Ogilvy-Sneyd-Expands-Its-Property-Management-Business-With-New-Sandiacre-Branch.html Wed, 14 Jun 2017 14:23:20 +0100 Ogilvy & Sneyd, has opened a new office in Sandiacre, on the border with Nottinghamshire, in a direct response to increased demand for residential property management services in the area.

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Having successfully managed a range of local properties from the company’s head office in Leek, Staffordshire since the company was founded in 2015, owners, William Scott-Montcrieff and Christopher Wheeker, decided that the time was right to open a second branch.

Christopher, who will head up the new office, explains:

“This location is ideally situated to provide a quick response to landlords whom we currently service in the Long Eaton, Sandiacre and Stapleford areas, and with the local property market booming, huge demand for good quality housing stock, and nearby Toton included in the planned HS2 development, we truly believe that these areas will continue to go from strength to strength.

“We have witnessed considerable success in the county to date due to extensive local knowledge, and we are confident that having a foot on the ground here will enable us to further reduce the void periods for landlords – offering a win-win for all parties.”

The opening of the Sandiacre branch is part of Ogilvy & Sneyd’s ambitious plan to expand its network across the Midlands.

Ends

For more information about Ogilvy & Sneyd, please contact Tracey Thake, Director at Purple Sprout PR on 01782 658524 or email tracey@purple-sprout.co.uk

Notes to Editor

Ogilvy & Sneyd provide a residential property management and lettings service for property investors, buy-to-let investors, and property landlords in Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, and surrounding counties.

www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk

 

 

 

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Building a property portfolio - a view from the inside https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/32/79/Building-a-property-portfolio-a-view-from-the-inside.html Wed, 14 Jun 2017 13:04:01 +0100 Buying your first property is still one of the biggest financial commitments people can make, but with house prices consistently rising and the property market bursting with potential buy-to-let opportunities, property investment has become an extremely popular source of income generation in the UK, if you know what you are doing!

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The most successful and dedicated investors can see an incredible financial return, but if you are new to the industry, it is important that you have a clear understanding of what it takes to build a successful portfolio; including the amount of time you will need to commit and the level of budget that will be required for the initial purchase and upkeep. You will also need to decide who will oversee the day-to-day management of your properties.

Do your research


Remember that the primary goal of investing in property is to generate a profit. One mistake that plenty of inexperienced property investors make is buying a property with their heart, rather than their head. A successful investment may not be somewhere you desire to live yourself, but is in high demand from potential tenants.
 
We have all heard the term ‘location, location, location’, and it has never been truer than when investing in property. It is essential to have a detailed understanding of the area in which you plan to invest – particularly the potential downfalls. Start by focusing on one or two areas of the country and get to know them inside and out before extending your reach.
 
Keep your options open
 
A little research may reveal that your initial idea for investment needs some tweaking. For example, a one bedroom city centre flat located above a restaurant may not seem the most desirable investment to some, but this sort of property will generally give you a lower purchase price. The rents may be slightly lower too, but not proportionately so, which can lead to higher yields.
 
Think about the diversity of your portfolio too. There is a range of investment options; from commercial to residential properties, student lets to HMOs. Consider the capital gains and realised returns that each one has the potential to deliver, and the benefits of spreading your risk with a variety of investments – sinking all of your funds into one property can be costly if it sits empty, especially if it’s a commercial facility.
 
Speculate wisely
 
If you require third-party funding to support a property purchase, plump for loans with low interest rates and make sure that you stress test your investment to safeguard your portfolio should interest rates rise and ensure efficient streams of cash flow.
 
Use the right agents
 
Once a property is purchased and ready to let, you can save yourself a lot of time and money by employing the correct professionals to manage your affairs. From an accountant who will ensure that the structure of your financial investments covers you against things like loss of mortgage relief, to reliable tradesmen who can fix any issues quickly, keeping your properties habitable and your tenants safe around the clock.
 
For many landlords, the onus is on them to manage their property portfolio privately – resided to the belief that paying a professional property management company to handle things would be expensive and more hassle than it’s worth. But a reputable letting agent will be able to offer services such as sourcing tenant references and credit checks, overseeing inventories and inspections, collecting rent, and reducing void periods. They can also keep track of warranties and works so you don’t make purchases unnecessarily, for example, replacing the boiler every two years.
 
In reality, taking on this responsibility personally can end up costing much more money in the long run. The ability to leave the management of existing properties in the hands of a professional portfolio manager will take the pressure off, allowing a landlord to go in search of prospective new properties, or focus on other roles.
 
Ogilvy and Sneyd provide a bespoke residential property management and lettings service for property investors, buy-to-let investors, and property landlords based over the midlands. It has the ability to manage portfolios over a spread area including Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. For advice on your portfolio, call our Staffordshire branch on 01538 360245, or our Nottingham ( Sandiacre, Stapleford and Long Eaton) branch on 0115 7528399.
 
 
 

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The general election – help or hindrance for the UK housing market? https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/31/79/The-general-election-help-or-hindrance-for-the-UK-housing-market.html Fri, 05 May 2017 09:24:28 +0100 Just as the housing market was expected to enter a period of relative stability during the summer, the recent announcement that the country will vote for a new government on 8th June 2017 has UK homeowners and sellers once again deliberating the affect this will have on the housing market. 

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The snap general election, announced by Theresa May, came as a shock for many, and with a great deal of ‘BREXIT uncertainty’ already looming over the property market, coupled with the recent stamp duty hikes and landlord tax relief reductions, people are understandably nervous about what this means for the UK’s house prices.

Many experts believe that there is no reason to worry, as this sort of election is less likely to affect house prices than a standard general election. As former RICS residential chairman, Jeremy Leaf, commented:

“The good news is that unlike many Government announcements which are leaked, they managed to keep it secret and there hasn't been any build-up because when the cat is out of the bag it adds to the existing uncertainty in the market.”

The property market has shown great resilience in the face of previous political changes. Research shows that ahead of the 2015 general election, the UK’s average property price continued to rise each month at around the same level as in 2014 and 2016.

However not all people agree with this optimism. My Chain CEO, Sohail Rashid, shared his thoughts…

“In the UK property market, consumers crave predictability and certainty. Any potential change to the political landscape, such as the announcement of the snap general election, can have a significant impact on consumer mind set and cause people to think twice about completing a property transaction. 

“If we take a look back to 2016, there were three key political events which caused periods of unpredictability, and subsequently had a detrimental effect on property chains - the stamp duty increase, the EU referendum, and the US general election. 

“I anticipate that the upcoming general election on the 8th of June will have a similar effect, and will cause consumers currently in the property chain process to act much more cautiously.” 

It would seem that the property market continues in limbo. However, one thing that can be determined amongst all the speculation and noise – for now, it’s business as usual.

 

Ogilvy and Sneyd provide a residential property management and lettings service for property investors, buy-to-let investors and property landlords in Staffordshire. Discover more about what we do, and how we could help to increase the return on your investments at www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk

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When is the right time to hire a property management company? https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/29/79/When-is-the-right-time-to-hire-a-property-management-company-.html Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:16:45 +0100 One of the biggest decisions you can make as a property investor is whether you should hire a property management company, but are you willing to relinquish control over everything from collecting rent payments to filling tenant vacancies? 

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If the answer is yes, and any of the below scenarios apply to you, a property management company might just make sense…

‘Hands off’

Some landlords may seek a more ‘hands off’ approach from the word go, and simple invest in property for the financial rewards that comes with ownership, rather than getting involved in the day to day running of the properties, in which case, a property management company is an ideal solution.

Other landlords choose to hire a third party simply to take away the stress caused by rental management. Owning a property takes elbow grease, time and effort. So if spending your days screening tenants, chasing late rent or researching reliable tradesmen isn't your cup of tea, hiring a property management company is an obvious choice.  

Lack of experience

You may want to invest in property, but don’t know the first thing about property management. Learning as you go and making mistakes along the way can become very expensive. And for an investor who is just starting out, hiring an unreliable tradesman or taking too long to fill a tenant vacancy will quickly eat away at your finances.

You own multiple properties

As the number of properties you own increases, so do your responsibilities. Many landlords find that managing a large property portfolio quickly becomes a full time, 40+ hour week job that they perhaps didn't take into consideration and did not sign up for. More properties and more tenants means added maintenance issues, potentially more complaints, and tenant vacancies you will have to deal with. All of this combined means less free time – particularly if you have another job that you are committed to and are not prepared to leave.

In this case, hiring a property management company can lessen your workload and give you peace of mind knowing that your investments are in the hands of professionals.

The location of your properties compared to your home

The greater the distance between you and your properties, whether this was a conscious choice or not, the harder they are to manage. Hiring a local property management company means that any tenant complaints and maintenance issues are dealt with efficiently and emergency situations are responded to quickly. Living in a different area to your property may also make it harder to find tenants and fill the property quickly; but you can simply hand all of these responsibilities over to a professional with expert knowledge of the area, relying on them to make the best decision for you.

Do not underestimate the cost of travelling to and from your various properties, the money spent on fuel could be an expense better used to pay a property management company – potentially even saving you money.

 

Ogilvy and Sneyd provide a residential property management and lettings service for property investors, buy-to-let investors and property landlords in Staffordshire. Discover more about what we do, and how we could help to increase the return on your investments at www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk

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What makes a successful landlord? https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/28/79/What-makes-a-successful-landlord.html Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:18:26 +0100 Being a landlord may look easy on paper – buy a property, make it desirable and available for people looking to rent, then simply sit back and enjoy a substantial monthly income. In reality, like any business venture, it takes time, effort and commitment. 

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The landlord/tenant relationship can be particularly tricky, however with the correct processes in place, and a few firm rules for both parties, becoming a landlord can be an extremely enjoyable and prosperous business. Here’s our guide to getting it right…

Choose wisely!

Don’t be afraid to do your research when it comes to choosing tenants. You are entering into a financial agreement with people that you know very little about, so it is always better to be safe than sorry – after all, it is no secret that choosing the wrong tenant can cause a stream of issues further down the line, including them causing damage and moving quickly, thus creating voids.  

Treat it a little like a job interview; ask for references from previous landlords – following up with a phone call to them directly. Check that they haven’t had any recent convictions from other properties and that they have a stable income.

One vital factor that landlords must remember is that you cannot discriminate or base your tenant selection upon a person’s race, skin colour, sex, national origin, religion, or disability.

Put the right systems in place

Landlords inevitably spend a significant amount of time staying on top of maintenance. Tenants reporting property issues to their landlord expect a quick response time, and rightfully so; however, this can lead to landlords being constantly bombarded with calls and emails.

Consider introducing a system whereby tenants can communicate any maintenance problems without having to call you directly. This not only allows the landlord/tenant relationship to remain professional, but also means that should you wish to take a holiday, or have other businesses to attend to, you can do so secure in the knowledge that your tenants are not left waiting for issues to be dealt with upon your return.

Be firm, but fair

The trick to this is to not let any personal feelings get in the way of what is essentially, a business relationship. Having a good rapport with your tenants will make the landlord experience much more enjoyable and will almost certainly reduce the chance of any prolonged vacancies.

Treat your tenants with dignity, kindness and respect, but also remain firm. As with any business partnership, there are certain agreements and rules that need to be followed – for example paying the rent on time. Make it clear that this is non-negotiable – by allowing your tenants to bend these rules once, you are opening yourself up for potentially years of struggle and huge financial losses. If you fulfil your obligations as a landlord, expect your tenants to fulfil theirs – no exceptions.

Employ a property management company

Some landlords don’t have the time to personally manage their properties and may prefer to hire someone to do this for them - a property management company. If you do chose to become a ‘sleeping landlord’, a property manager can deal with anything from sourcing potential tenants and collecting rent, to handling maintenance and responding to tenant complaints.

www.primelocation.com lists the following as of potential services of a property management company:

·         Advertising 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 information on the latest safety regulations

·         Preparing the tenancy agreement.

·         Organising and managing the collection of the tenant’s deposit.

·         Preparing the inventory and conduction a state of repairs assessment on the property.

·         Checking in the tenant and agreeing 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 ‘down-time.’

·         Dealing with legal aspects of the tenancy and property – including evictions, non-payment, harassment or problems with squatters.

 

Ogilvy and Sneyd provide a bespoke residential property management and lettings service for property investors, buy to let investors and property landlords in Staffordshire and surrounding counties. Their innovative Landlord Property Portal enables landlords to track balances, revenue, outgoings, occupancy ratios, individual property performances and much more. For more details, visit https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/portfolios.html

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Article 50 - what does it mean for property investors? https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/27/79/Article-50-what-does-it-mean-for-property-investors-.html Mon, 03 Apr 2017 09:13:59 +0100 Last week, European Council President, Donald Tusk, accepted the UK’s formal request to withdraw from the European Union, signalling the beginning of the end of 44 years of EU membership for the UK.

Teresa May pledged to:

“…set out a clear and ambitious plan with the European Union” for “a partnership for the best interest for the UK, the European Union and the wider world.” 

But what does this mean? 

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The only real certainty is that we are about to enter a period of absolute uncertainty. Very little is likely to happen over the next few months, but as the 2-year countdown to the UK leaving the EU begins, one thing that home-owners and property investors throughout the country will be questioning is how will the Lisbon Treaty affect house prices across the UK?

Since the announcement of BREXIT in 2016, the UK’s house price growth has slowed. According to the latest data from Land Registry, the annual rate of growth for the average UK house price fell from 7.7% in January to 6.9% in October.

Mark Hayward, Managing Director of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), has said:

“It would be an understatement to say this year has not gone as expected. However, the property market is mostly still feeling the effects of events which happened last year... Next year, we expect it'll be more of the same; there won't be a 'property Armageddon', but things won't get much better for first-time buyers, and those looking to up or downsize."

However not everyone agrees, and this is where the profound and unsettling uncertainty hits. Although the rate of growth for UK house prices has slowed, the fact remains that house prices are still rising. British building society, Nationwide, believes house prices will continue to rise in the face of BREXIT, just a little slower.

Chief Economist at Nationwide, Robert Gardner, has said:

“Looking forward, house price prospects will depend crucially on developments in the wider economy, around which there is a larger degree of uncertainty than usual. 

“Like most forecasters, including the Back of England, we expect the UK economy to slow modestly next year, which is likely to result in less robust labour market conditions and modestly slower house price growth.

"But we continue to think a small gain (around 2%) is more likely than a decline over 2017 as a whole, since low interest rates are expected to help underpin demand while a shortage of home on the market will continue to provide support for house prices."

The fact of the matter is, at this point, everything written above is purely speculation based on very few statistics, and no opinion or survey can be seen as hard evidence of what is happening, or going to happen to the UK housing market.

House prices are still on the rise, and the property market is holding strong; for now, that's all property investors need to know. 

Ogilvy and Sneyd provide a residential property management and lettings service for property investors, buy-to-let investors and property landlords in Staffordshire. Follow their industry blog at www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk

 

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Property or pension? Making the right investment for your future https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/26/79/Property-or-pension-Making-the-right-investment-for-your-future.html Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:06:22 +0100 In September 2016, it was suggested by highly respected and internationally-renowned Chief Economist, Andy Haldane, that investing in property rather than putting money into your pension, was a better plan for your retirement.

The statement was branded irresponsible and heavily criticised by other financial experts. However, it did leave many wondering if there was any truth to these claims, what the benefits of property investment could be, and could these benefits outweigh those provided by pensions.

The following pros and cons for both sides of the argument may help you make the best decision for you. 

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Benefits of investing in property

  • House prices have risen significantly over the past 25 years, some areas seeing an increase of over 300%. Demand for property is at an all-time high and this has meant a thriving market.
  • Due to the consistent and rapid increase of UK house prices, investing in property is considered as a relatively safe long-term investment.
  • Though property is an illiquid asset, given time it can be sold and the capital gained from its sale reinvested elsewhere.
  • Property is an asset that you can choose to live in yourself, rent it out, or if you don’t want to let it on the open market, use it as a holiday/second home.

Risks of investing in property

  • Although house prices have increased over recent years, there is always the potential that they will fall and this can leave mortgage holders with negative equity.
  • If you plan to rent out your property, there are some expenses that you wouldn't incur if investing in a pension. For example buy-to-let mortgage repayments, maintenance costs, letting agent’s fees and stamp duty tax.
  • Building a pension takes little to no effort, whereas buying, maintaining, and selling a property takes a lot of time, effort and money.

Benefits of investing your savings in a pension

  • Although still a possibility, it is highly unlikely that you will end up with less than you originally paid into your pension plan.
  • With the majority of pension schemes, your employer will also pay into the plan – essentially you’re earning free money.
  • If you have a company pension, payments will be taken from your salary before any tax is deducted. If it’s a personal pension, although you will be using your net income which you pay tax on, the pension provider will claim that tax back on your behalf.

Cons of investing your savings in a pension

  • You won’t be able to access your pension funds until you’re aged 55, and even then there are many hoops to jump through that can restrict how you can access your pension.  
  • The rules around how you access your pension could be changed by the government at any time.
  • Withdrawing all your savings in one go could mean that you’ll pay a substantial amount in income tax.


Ogilvy and Sneyd provide a bespoke residential property management and lettings service for property investors, buy to let investors and property landlords in Staffordshire and surrounding counties. 

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Top Tips to Increase your Kerb Appeal https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/24/79/Top-Tips-to-Increase-your-Kerb-Appeal.html Mon, 20 Mar 2017 13:10:28 +0000 Improving your property's kerb appeal is more beneficial than you may think, first impressions go a long way in the property game and it could be make or break for a potential buyer... 

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It’s the little things

Dressing up your front door can work wonders to improve your kerb appeal. Your front door is the outside focal point of your home and will more than likely shape a person’s first impression of the property. With a few improvements and a little TLC, a statement front entrance can immensely improve the exterior of your house.

The front of your house should reflect the home’s interior, so choose a colour and style for the front door that will showcase the style of the hallway or entrance way. Make sure that all elements of the front door compliment one another; for example, if you have a brushed nickel door handle, tie your house numbers, outdoor lighting and mailbox into this genre. These finishing touches add aesthetic appeal and uniformity, rather than ‘mix-and-match’ pieces that look dated and out of place. 

The added extras

You may have worked really hard to make the outside of your home more aesthetically pleasing – painted the front door, incorporated beautiful plants and flowers, retiled your front porch, replaced the old guttering, maybe even had your entire driveway resurfaced. But what is the point if you can’t see it? When night falls, all of your hard work disappears. Make the most of your investment with some good outdoor lighting; evening curb appeal is just as important as the day time. And outdoor lighting doesn’t necessarily mean installing wires and using up all your electricity either! LED lighting has become extremely popular due to its versatility and durability.

Green fingers

According to research ‘the presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction, and affects social behaviour in a positive manner…’ So, what better way to boost your kerb appeal than by surrounding your home with something that makes people happy?

You don’t have to be an avid gardener or have a huge budget to do this either. Any home exterior can be quickly and affordably improved by some potted flowers. You can buy ‘ready-made’ pots from garden centres and some supermarkets. Varied styles and sizes can add a quirky, colourful feature to the front of your property. Or go for a more uniformed and symmetrical look; whatever works best for your home and will flow into the interior of the house.

Spring clean

A thorough clean and tidy can go a long way to help improve your curb appeal. Although many people would believe that the exterior to their house is in good condition, it needs to be looked at through the eyes of potential new buyers or tenants. Are all of the windows and their frames spotless? Could the house do with another lick of paint? Do the paving stones in your driveway need a jet wash? Don’t let rust spots, peeling paint or a neglected flowerbed undo all your hard work!

Another tip which many people neglect is hiding your bins! Or if you can’t, make sure they aren’t overflowing and are clean and odour free. Similarly, is there any litter that may be in the immediate vicinity of your house? What about your neighbours’ bins? Would they be co-operative enough to tidy up too – or perhaps you can offer to do it for them…

Here at Ogilvy and Sneyd, we specialise in property management and investment. Our branches cover a wide area, with hybrid branches based in Long Eaton, Sandiacre and Stapleford

Discover more about what we do, and how we could help to increase the return on your investments at www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk 

 

 

 

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3 Reasons Why More People are Choosing to Invest in Rural Properties https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/21/79/3-Reasons-Why-More-People-are-Choosing-to-Invest-in-Rural-Properties-.html Thu, 16 Mar 2017 12:30:08 +0000 Over the past decade, house prices have risen substantially. A detached property in London in 1995, would have cost c. £195,000, but if you were to buy that same house today, you would be looking at c. £929,000. Unfortunately in the past rural properties have, in general, not seen the same increase as the UK's major cities , however will we see an increase in demand? Here is 3 reasons why a rural property might just be a good investment.

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1. Pollution (#soicanbreathe): It's been a hot topic of late, with The World Health Organisation estimating that each year, outdoor air pollution is linked to over three million deaths. Closer to home, the UK government has lost two court cases over illegally dirty air recently, which isn't great considering evidence has emerged linking air pollution to heart attacks, lung disease and asthma. The worst areas in the UK include: London, Glasgow, Leeds and Southampton, this consequently creates the attraction for people to move from these and other cities into the countryside, where there are lower levels of air pollution and trees act as like giant air filters.

2. Transport: Britain aims to deliver greatly enhanced connectivity – so much so that the UK Government is committing an estimated £55.7 billion to the construction of HS2, and roughly 15 billion on the Crossrail. Whether these schemes are good value for money is questionable, but they will cut travelling times, making it easier to live outside of your area of work. For instance, you could live in the countryside, 25 minutes outside of Manchester, and be in London in roughly one and a half hours. If Britain can deliver its hugely enhanced rail capacity along with other better transport links, it will further increase viability of living outside city centres and therefore create higher demand in rural areas.

3. Working from home: Official market research shows that over 1.5 million people now work from home as significant technological advances over the last 5-10 years have made it a viable option. That has grown a fifth over the last decade. You can now rent a square metre in the Leadenhall building in London, make it your registered address, but be sitting in your country cottage in the Derbyshire Dales and no one would ever know. Generally, you get more space for less money in the countryside, therefore if you don't need to be in the city anymore, why pay more for less?

 

Here at Ogilvy and Sneyd we specialise in rural property management and investment. Discover more about what we do, and how we could help to increase the return on your investments at www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk  

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Spring Budget 2017 - A Lost Opportunity https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/20/79/Spring-Budget-2017-A-Lost-Opportunity.html Tue, 14 Mar 2017 15:09:34 +0000 Buy-to-Let landlords across the UK were hoping that the 2017 Spring Budget would see Chancellor Phillip Hammond reverse the deeply unpopular tax changes that George Osbourne implemented in 2015 – unfortunately this opportunity was missed. In fact, there was very little mention of the housing crisis or sector at all, despite many landlord groups raising their concerns.

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George Osbourne revealed a tax change in 2015 that left landlords shocked. The new measures, which come as part of a three-pronged tax assault on landlords to be fully implemented by 2020, mean that they will no longer be able to deduct the cost of their mortgage interest from their rental income when they calculate a profit on which to pay tax.

Below is an example, based on an article published in 'The Telegraph' on 8th March 2017, of how the tax change will affect landlords who are a higher-rate, 40%, tax payer. 

NOW

Your buy-to-let earns £20,000 a year and an interest-only mortgage costs £13,000 a year. Tax is due on the difference or profit, so you pay tax on £7,000. This means that you receive £4,200, while HMRC takes £2,800.

2020

Tax is due on your full rental income of £20,000, less a tax credit equivalent to basic-rate tax on the interest.

So you pay 40% tax on £20,000 (i.e. £8,000), less the 20% credit (20% of £13,000 = £2,600), meaning £5,400 for HMRC and £1,600 for you. Your tax bill has therefore increased by 93%.

Now, say the Bank Rate – and in turn your mortgage rate – rises by a small fraction, lifting your mortgage cost to £15,000, while your rent remains at £20,000.

You will have to pay £5,000 tax in this scenario, so you make no profit at all.

The Residential Landlords Association Chairman addressed the lack of any mention of the tax increase at this year’s Spring Budget by stating:

“This budget was a missed opportunity by Philip Hammond to right some of the wrongs of his predecessor.

“Those of us out there hoping for a u-turn on controversial policies such as mortgage interest relief changes were left disappointed by a budget that essentially ignored the housing crisis entirely.

“Growth and demand in the market will ultimately decide on the rent we can charge – but none of us can afford to run at a loss, and I believe that government will eventually realise the bargain it gets from private landlords.”

Although Landlords across the UK are severely disappointed and unsettled by Philip Hammond’s failure to address the tax change, one positive to come from the spring budget is the delay agreed by the Government in the implementation of its ‘Making Tax Digital’ programme for small businesses and landlords. Philip Hammond recognized that many people are not prepared or ready for the change after a series of warnings that many businesses would struggle to have the software in place in time for the initial deadline of April 2018. As part of his speech, Hammond said: 

"In a digital age, it is right that we develop a digital tax system.

"But in response to concerns about the timetable expressed by business organisations, and by several of my right honourable friends including the chairman of the Treasure Select Committee, I have decided that for businesses with turnover below the VAT registration threshold I will delay by one year the introduction of quarterly reporting at a cost to the Exchequer of £280 million."

 

Ogilvy and Sneyd provide a residential property management and lettings service for property investors, buy-to-let investors and property landlords in Staffordshire. Follow their industry blog at www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk

 

 

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The good, the bad, and the new build https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/18/79/The-good-the-bad-and-the-new-build.html Wed, 08 Mar 2017 11:25:36 +0000 The good, the bad and the new build – positives and negatives of investing in new build property.

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Whether you are a first time or seasoned investor, or a high net worth individual, property investment has always been considered a rewarding and secure way to protect your financial future, but with so many opportunities available, choosing which route to take can be a daunting prospect. The property market is bursting with potential buy-to-let purchases but it’s becoming increasingly popular for investors to opt for a new build property. So what does this entail, and is it financially a viable option?

A new build property has all the factors that a modern day investor would wish for – they are generally much more energy efficient, they are designed with contemporary living in mind and they are family focused. What’s more, after acquiring the property, there is no need for repair or refurbishment and minimal maintenance from the offset, giving landlords almost immediate return on their investment.

The make-up of a new build is also an extremely appealing concept to a potential investor; modern fixtures, attractive detailing, and security and safety built into the design. And with strict regulations imposed during the build process, landlords can expect fewer structural problems in the future. Add in attractive purchase incentives and deals, no chain issues, and excellent locations close to local amenities and travel links and you wonder if buying an older property as a rental investment is even an option anymore.
However, there are some red flags which investors need to explore before a final decision is made.

1. Are you hoping to buy cheap and do the property up yourself? It wouldn’t be a smart business move to buy new build if this was the case. Older properties offer scope for refurbishment.
2. Will the rental yield be comparable with older build properties in the area? You need to be sure that you can be competitive in the local rental market.
3. Is the location right for you? New builds might be built close to conveniences but if your target market is young professionals or students then you might be better off buying in a town centre location.
4. Could it be more beneficial to buy off-plan?

Purchasing a property before it has been built does bring with it a few financial benefits for an investor. Developers will let a plot go for a discounted price, which can be considerably less than an existing new build, meaning an investment might actually become more profitable by the time the house is built, providing a potentially stronger rental yield. However, this isn’t without some risk; no one can guarantee what will happen to house prices, and when you are reliant on construction timelines, it could mean a longer wait before you can start to earn back on your home.

So what is the best option for an investor who has chosen a new build opportunity?

- Get in there early enough and buy off-plan and you’ll normally be allowed some form of input into the finished design, including fixtures and fittings – great if you have a real insight on what the rental market is after.

- Buying off-plan means you are a relying on drawings, plans and the developer’s word on how the home will turn out; there is a chance that some things will look or feel differently upon completion, such as room sizes, kitchen layout or outdoor space. With an existing new build, you can physically walk around the home, and the location and estate to really get a feel for the investment you are making.

- Can you cope with potential construction delays, site issues and lengthy wait times before the home is built, both financially and personally? This could have an effect on your bank balance as well as being physically straining on you as a person.

- Is the price right? Yes, the price of an existing new-build could be more than buying off-plan but these can be negotiable and you can also take advantage of attractive incentives from developers.

Both options have great potential return for an investor but, as with any venture, ensure the appropriate due diligence is carried out ahead of the agreement. Research the stability of the developer if the intention is to buy off-plan, look into the project as a whole to see where further development will take place in the future, and invest in the help of a professional property management business, which can advise on the risk and benefits of potential developments in the area. Be pernickety with contracts and leave no stone unturned.

Ogilvy & Sneydprovide a residential property management and lettings service for property investors, buy to let investors and property landlords in Staffordshire.

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8 reasons why managing a property privately is more trouble than it’s worth https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/14/79/8-reasons-why-managing-a-property-privately-is-more-trouble-than-its-worth-.html Thu, 02 Mar 2017 11:01:34 +0000 8 reasons why managing a property privately is more trouble than it’s worth

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20 years ago, renting out a property was a far simpler transaction than today. Finding a tenant was easy – a quick advert in the local shop window or a chance conversation in the pub and you had it sorted. There were no lengthy contracts, no strict laws and no deposit protection. 

In the modern private rented sector (PRS), however, there has been a hefty introduction of stringent rules, regulations and restrictions imposed on a landlord, making the process a complex and often problematic one. But the benefits of an investment of this nature continue to make it a worthwhile venture, so what can take the pressure off? 

For many landlords, the onus is on them to manage their property portfolio privately – resided to the fact that paying a professional property management company to handle their affairs is expensive and more hassle than it’s worth. But here’s the thing, it’s not. In fact, landlords are much more likely to struggle with finding suitable tenants, collecting rent and maintaining a property if they do take control and do it on their own, and find that it will end up costing them much more money in the long run. Here’s why:

1. Finding Tenants. Finding a tenant has to be a very careful and considered process, and an efficient one to ensure a property is not left vacant for too long and the landlord out of pocket. It’s imperative that the person or people signing up will help to maintain the property and a landlord’s investment throughout the tenancy, as well as pay their rent on time. Knowing where to find legitimate tenants and having the time to scour through and shortlist potential candidates is a mammoth task in itself, and one a landlord may not have the time or resources to carry out. Using a property management business will guarantee a quality tenant is chosen according to specific criteria set out initially by the landlord – and a dedicated residential lettings specialist will ensure the appropriate checks and references are carried out and that viewings, interviews, a tenancy agreement, and any other admin that needs to be done is taken care of professionally. 

2. Maintenance. Any property is going to need some degree of maintenance over time, but a rental property has to meet certain requirements which means regular improvements and general upkeep will have to be carried out. This can often be one of the main reasons for a relationship between tenant and landlord to break down. As experts, a property management business will be able to provide impartial advice about home maintenance, carry out checks at the property and also have a book of trusted, local contacts who can help with any work.

3. Stress. Daily phone calls from disgruntled tenants isn’t going to do anyone any favours and could even lead to an agreement breach, or worse, missed payments and an empty property. A property management specialist can remove this element from the landlord entirely so that they are the first point of call for all tenants – making it a lot less stressful for a landlord.

4. Solitary. Not only are landlords alone in their decision making, generally tenants are more attracted to working with a lettings agent because having a third party involved offers them more security when entering into an agreement like this. 

5. Paperwork. No-one enjoys paperwork, but when it comes to renting out a property, there is no avoiding it; from reference checks to proof of identity and deposit security, it all comes with plenty of admin.  

6. Priorities. In many cases, a landlord will still have a ‘day job’ and their property might not be their first priority, so being able to manage it adequately, especially when there are urgent issues needing attention, is not always achievable. 

7. Legislation. Having a team of regulated professionals on board will ensure that you are up to date with legislation. If you’re not, the consequences can be extreme and even simple mistakes can be very costly, for example a failure to obtain a gas safety certificate can result in a criminal offence or a £20,000 fine. 

8. Growth. If a landlord hopes to grow a portfolio of properties then working with a property management business will be extremely beneficial to these plans. Being able to leave the management of existing properties in the hands of a property management business will take the pressure off and will give a landlord more time to find prospective new properties. 

Ogilvy and Sneyd provide a bespoke residential property management and lettings service for property investors, buy to let investors and property landlords in Staffordshire and surrounding counties. 

 

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Is it time to invest outside of London? https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/13/79/Is-it-time-to-invest-outside-of-London.html Thu, 19 Jan 2017 15:25:49 +0000 What does the future hold for the UK property market?

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The British property market is about to dramatically change. It is now predicted that due to weaker consumer confidence, London will experience two very static years in terms of capital growth.  Throughout history it has been consistently clear that the property market doesn't like uncertainty and the effect of Brexit and certain government interventions, the shift in investment maybe pointing towards outside our capital.

Why's this likely? Well after years of huge growth, investors will find it difficult to find the return they are after in the capital. Firstly Stamp duty changes that were introduced fairly recently have already started to have an impact at the top of the market, for example if you were to buy an investment property for £10 million you would have to fork out a whopping c. £1.4 million in tax!  To make a profit on the sale your house, the capital growth would have to be north of 15% before any costs at all.

More changes face landlords in 2017 with additional stringent affordability checks on mortgages and now the withdrawal on the mortgage tax relief, investors margins are being squeezed. These changes will mean that investors have smaller budgets and therefore they may have to look out of London in order to invest. Manchester is set to live up to its name as the 'Northern Power House' and with Gross yields of around 6% investors would be silly to turn away. Not only can high yields be found here but Manchester has a large rental sector, this is helped by the fact that it is home to c.60% more 25-30 year olds than anywhere else across the UK.

Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham and Sheffield have also been tipped as investing hotspots in 2017. Many people have heard of a term called 'The Ripple Effect' and it may just be the case that London's last few years of boom will now be creating 'waves' of growth around the UK.

 

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Christmas Property Advice https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/12/79/Christmas-Property-Advice-.html Tue, 06 Dec 2016 10:53:12 +0000 Handy advice on how to keep your property safe over the Christmas period, provided to you by your favorite agents!

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With Christmas just around the corner and the festivities about to start, it’s important to remember to keep informed about some of the potential issues that may arise over the Christmas period.

We have all seen/love the houses lit up with blow up Snowmen and Father Christmas on the roof. Though these displays are often impressive, if not a little garish, they also provide a host of potential hazards for properties. Christmas decorations and fire risk go hand in hand. A few things to remember:

  • Don't overload sockets
  • Don’t leave fairy lights on all day and night
  • Don’t attach decorations to lights or heaters
  • Keep candles and flammable decorations away from one another

The Fire Service provides excellent advice regarding awareness for staying safe at Christmas. Landlords – it might be a good idea to print it off and send it to your tenants?

Another Christmas nightmare that no one wants, is a burst pipe. Burst pipes are not uncommon over the winter period and can cause serious damage to the property and peoples belongings. With heating bills rising and people tightening their belts, there is temptation to leave the heating off especially if you are away on holiday. Pipes are most likely to burst when the heating is left off, therefore it is critical to leave it on. Many properties are fitted with heating systems that have a Winter Setting. This should be used to prevent damage to your belongings and the property – no one wants to wake up on Christmas morning with the presents floating around the tree.

For many of us Christmas is a busy time of year and we often have more people than ever in our houses. This, though fun, does mean that you have to be extra vigilant when it comes to appropriate ventilation of your property. Condensation is unpleasant for tenants and landlords alike. With more people having showers and staying at the property it is vital to open the windows to let the property breath even if  “baby its cold outside!”.

One of the most important things is to know who to call! Landlords – make sure you give your tenants emergency contact numbers so they know. Tenants – keep these numbers handy, store them in your phone or pop them on the fridge. Communication is often hard over Christmas, especially with everyone having their own agenda. Preparation is everything and at Ogilvy & Sneyd we have a Christmas pack to give to all our tenants that gives in depth advice and tips. We don’t like to leave things to chance.

We hope you have a fantastic Christmas and please do get in touch if you need any advice or help with your properties. 

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Tenant fees banned! Landlords to be hit… again? https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/11/79/Tenant-fees-banned-Landlords-to-be-hit-again.html Thu, 24 Nov 2016 18:22:24 +0000 The big property news story has arrived: the day (many) agents were dreading. Yesterdays autumn statement saw the Chancellor ban letting agents charging fees to tenants; the fourth recent attack on the buy-to-let sector.

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The announcement, though not unexpected, generated plenty of controversy. Just days after Baroness Grender’s Renter Rights Bill passed the House of Lords committee stage, Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced yesterday that letting agents will be banned from charging fees to tenants, bringing England and Wales in line with Scotland (Scotland banned tenant fees back in 2012).

Obviously, this announcement has been met with strong opinions from all parties. Tenants are unsurprisingly overjoyed that they will no longer be paying ‘administration’ fees of up to £420, while agents are predictably furious that a profitable revenue stream has been dammed. After inspecting some of the fees that the major agencies charge, it’s hard to disagree with the ban. No wonder it’s been becoming harder and harder to step onto the property ladder, given the extortionate agency fees levied against tenants.

This change will undoubtedly shake up the industry. Many letting agencies, reluctant to lose out on the fees traditionally charged to tenants, may well pass them on to the landlords. Perhaps it’s time to assess your letting agency.....

Isn’t this exactly the shake-up the lettings industry needed? We might recall very recently that certain agencies were charging extortionate admin fees for changing light bulbs, while another was charging £432 for a change of occupancy contract. Where are these large brands going to collect their fees from now? It’s time for landlords to choose their agents wisely.

Managing Director of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), David Cox, has been quick to denounce the move, saying: “Agents’ fees have to be paid by somebody. If any extra fees are passed on to landlords, tenants will end up paying them forever as market rents will increase”. We say that this doesn’t need to be the case.

At Ogilvy & Sneyd, we believe that David Cox’s observations may be correct for those agencies that have based their business model on receiving both landlord and agency fees, and refuse to have their margins reduced. However, our business model can absorb this decrease in revenue stream without having to pass on the margin loss either to the landlord or back to the tenant through rent increases. If you want to see how we do this, please get in touch. We’d love to tell you more.

It’s time for honest agents and landlords to work together to keep the buy-to-let market profitable. To find out more about Ogilvy and Sneyd, go to our home page by clicking here.

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5 TRICKS to keep your home free from CONDENSATION https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/10/79/5-TRICKS-to-keep-your-home-free-from-CONDENSATION.html Fri, 18 Nov 2016 17:12:51 +0000 Keep your home free from Condensation  

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Condensation is caused by moisture or water vapour from inside a dwelling which then comes into contact with a colder surface, often a window or a wall. Condensation can often be found during the winter months.

Here are a few examples of the amount of moisture produced when carrying out daily activities:

2 people at home for 16 hours:                     3 Pints

A bath or a shower:                                          2 Pints

Drying clothes indoors:                                    9 Pints

Cooking and use of kettle:                               6 Pints

Washing dishes:                                                 2 Pints

Bottled gas heater (8 hours use)                    4 Pints

Info provided by North Staffs Landlord Accreditation scheme

 

5 Easy Tricks to solve the problem of condensation

1. Produce Less Moisture - This one is simple, dry your clothes outside or in a vented tumble dryer. Cover your pans when you are cooking and make sure you don't leave your kettle boiling. Be aware of paraffin or liquid petroleum heaters, they produce large amounts of water vapour.

2. Ventilate - You have probably been told this one time and time again, but it is vital to ventilate. Keep your windows slightly open in the lock position during the day. This allows the moist air to escape and allows dry air into the property. When using the kitchen or bathroom, always open a window and continue to ventilate these rooms for a short while after and if possible use the extractor fan as well. In the morning, open your bedroom window and throw back the sheets to air the bedding.

3) Create space- clutter causes condensation as the air cannot flow as well. Make sure you leave a gap between the wall and furniture otherwise you may find black mould between the wall and the furniture. Don't overfill wardrobes or cupboards.

4) Turn the heat up - I know what you're going to say, opening your windows and turning up the heating is a waste of money. However if you have good heating controls on your radiators and keep a low background heat on all day, rather than short bursts this will help manage costs and help condensation.    

5) Insulate: Loft insulation will help keep your home warm and will help on your heating bills. There are also grants available for this.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to look through our site and see what services we provide. Thank you for reading

 

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Don't be fooled by get rich quick property schemes https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/9/79/Dont-be-fooled-by-get-rich-quick-property-schemes-.html Thu, 03 Nov 2016 22:09:05 +0000 Property can be a very fruitful asset but it takes time, brains and equity.

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I have seen it so many times, especially when watching programmes such as homes under the hammer, there is always people who seem to have a property portfolio of 20 or more, which they have managed to accumulate from nothing and it only took them 8 years. Does this make them a millionaire? How did they do it?

Between 2000 and 2008 finance was rather easy to come by and this was coupled with the fact that property prices kept rising. If you were interested in buying property during this period you could place a small deposit down, carry out some minor renovation works, revalue it and on paper be £10,000 richer. Then you would simply release your equity and move your first deposit onto the next. Before you knew it you had a few properties, an income and your deposit was back in your bank account. This allowed people to scale up their portfolio rapidly.

Was this a good idea? In short no. Many of these people were hit by the financial crisis in 2008. The banks revalued the portfolios and a large majority of these people found themselves in negative equity. Banks often had clauses that meant when a certain LTV (loan to value) threshold was surpassed the bank forced the sale of the assets, consequently forcing people to go bankrupt. Due to low interest rates, some landlords have been able to hang on, but without reinvesting the rental income back towards paying off the asset, they could find themselves in a sticky situation when rents rise.

I am not saying that everyone with a large portfolio went bankrupt or isn't doing well from it, as that is not the case ,but to get such large portfolios takes time, brains and equity. Financing now is a lot harder to come by, this is not to say it's impossible, the banks are now wiser and stricter than they were back in 2008. Property can be a very fruitful asset, but let me tell you, next time someone says they have 30 properties when you're watching homes under the hammer don't assume they are always rich as creases.

 

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Landlords - want to avoid a £3,000 fine? https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/7/79/Landlords-want-to-avoid-a-3000-fine.html Tue, 25 Oct 2016 18:59:24 +0100 The Right to Rent Scheme is being enforced - find out how to make sure you are in line with the regulations to avoid a £3,000 fine. 

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We all keep hearing about the right to rent scheme, but what actually is it and how do I comply with it? Firstly, to keep your attention, if you fail to carry out the right to rent checks you may be hit with a fine of up to £3,000.

The scheme was rolled out across England on 1st February 2016 and it requires Landlords and Agents to check the ID of all prospective adult occupiers. To make it clear and simple (as often these schemes aren’t) here is a brief step by step guide to the Right to Rent Scheme…

  1. Check which applicants over the age of 18 will use your property as their main home (see below for more details).
  2. Ask for original documents that prove the tenant can live in the UK, for example a Passport (Details of documents can be found here).
  3. Check that the tenant’s documents give them the right to rent your property.
  4. Check that the documents are genuine and belong to the tenant (it’s best to do with the tenant present).
  5. Make and keep copies of the documents and then record the date you made the check! (make copies that can’t be changed such as photos or photocopies)

 To check if the property will be the tenants main home look out for these key indicators:

  • They live there most of the time
  • Their family live there with them
  • They register to vote at the property
  • They bring a lot of belongings with them
  • They have registered with a doctor at that address

You also have to ensure that if the person’s right to rent was limited a further check will need to be made 12 months after the initial check. If you discover that the tenant’s right to be in the UK has expired, you need to make an official report to the Home Office.

More information can be found on the Government website and ARLA.

Make sure you and/or your Agent are operating in line with this scheme.

Sources - www.gov.uk and www.arla.co.uk

Picture courtesy of LandlordNews.co.uk 

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5 Top tips to letting a property https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/6/79/5-Top-tips-to-letting-a-property.html Sun, 09 Oct 2016 15:48:22 +0100 Basic tips for the landlords who want to let their property

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I recently attended a seminar for landlords which brought to my attention that many landlords were not doing the necessary procedures when letting out a property themselves. Therefore I would like to share some advice for landlords who want to let and manage their property. Firstly please let me mention, this is not as straightforward as some people may lead you to believe and if I had to give you one piece of advice I would suggest you leave this to the professionals, it will save you money in the long run.... However if you are confident enough to do this yourself, let's get the basics right.

  1. Find the right tenants – This is possibly one of the most important aspects of making any money at all from property. After all, these will be the people living in your property and, hopefully, paying you rent. I would thoroughly advise that you carry out full reference checks on your applicant(s). Find out if they have any CCJs, any adverse credit, find out if they are on the electoral roll, ask their previous landlord if they paid on time and treated the property well. This stage should be carried out thoroughly, it may seem intrusive but if your applicant has a County Court Judgment for trashing the previous property he/she was in, it's probably best to find that out before you decide to move them into your property. Don't fall into the trap of renting your property out to someone who does not have the right to rent here in the UK, you can be fined up to £3,000 for that pitfall.
  2. Protect the Deposit – Please, please, please don’t forget this one. If you decide to take a deposit from your tenant, which would be advised, you MUST protect it in a deposit scheme. There are various schemes that make it possible for you to protect it but since 2007 this has become mandatory and must be done within 30 days. The court can order the landlord to pay up to 3 times the amount of the deposit if this isn't done. It's simple landlords, protect it!
  3. Use the right tenancy agreement – You may have heard of the case Street v Mountford, you may think you have written an agreement that states you can do as you please, but common law will state otherwise. Make sure you have a tenancy agreement that is adequate for yours and your tenants needs and that it is legally binding.
  4. Inventory – Prepare a thorough inventory. Try explaining to an arbitrator that there wasn’t a hole in the wall when the tenant moved in, without any evidence, it would be impossible. The more detailed the better and make sure the tenant signs it.
  5. Handover – Remember there are a few mandatory forms to provide your tenant with. How to rent checklist, although this may seem menial, its far from it, without providing a tenant with this booklet, you are unable to serve a section 21. Gas Safety Check, you must remember to provide your tenant with a gas safety record, or get ready for a criminal conviction and a £20,000 fine... ouch. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), again this is one not to forget, remember to check the date, these are valid for 10 years.

Landlords hopefully these 5 steps will help you achieve a long and smooth tenancy.
* Picture thanks to modern house

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Government funding to provide landlords and homeowners with new boilers https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/5/79/Government-funding-to-provide-landlords-and-homeowners-with-new-boilers-.html Wed, 17 Aug 2016 11:00:46 +0100 How landlords and homeowners can get a fully funded boiler and save on energy bills

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Under the new government Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Scheme large energy suppliers fund the installation of energy efficiency measures in British households to help Great Britain reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty. Each obligated supplier has an overall target and aims to help by introducing energy efficient measures into your home rather than payment. The ECO scheme consists of three separate objectives; the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO), the Carbon Saving Community Obligation (CSCO) and the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO).

The HHCRO, also known as the Affordable Warmth Obligation, requires suppliers to promote the installation of heating qualifying actions, including insulation and the repair and replacement of boilers and electric storage heaters, to people receiving certain benefits and who live in private domestic premises. This is an excellent way to help those households who would otherwise be unable to afford a new efficient boiler and improve the Private Rented Sectors energy efficiency. 

It has been estimated that by replacing a G-rated boiler with an A-rated boiler with a full set of controls could save a household around £215 and 940kg of carbon dioxide a year. If you are a landlord or homeowner get in touch with us today on 01538 360245 for friendly advice to see how you could benefit. 

For more information from ofgem click here.

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Why Online Agents are the future https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/4/79/Why-Online-Agents-are-the-future.html Mon, 25 Jul 2016 15:49:33 +0100 Why the future of Lettings is online

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For some time now there has been much debate over High Street vs. Online Agencies, yet all that seems to have been achieved is a lot of toing and froing. The most fundamental thing to understand about this debate, is the simple fact that both High Street and Online Agencies are just that – Agencies. They are variations of the same thing.

So what is the future of residential lettings? To answer that question we have to ask who will be renting property in the future? After all, the tenants pay the rent. The answer is, of course, the younger generation. Of all private rented property 48.8% of tenants are aged between 16-34 (www.gov.uk, 2014), therefore making up half of the private rented sector. This is vital to keep in mind when looking at the High Street vs. Online Agency debate, as too many articles are basing their arguments around Landlords.

Landlords are letting agencies clients, however Landlords are not the market force in lettings, tenants are. Tenants pay the rent and therefore dictate through market forces what is occupied and what isn't. Consequently what Landlords must do is position themselves so that they can best attract and appeal to the market; i.e. tenants. This is where the Agency comes into play; the agency's role is to ensure that the landlord’s property is marketed in a way that best suits the consumer’s needs.

The younger generation’s buying patterns are moving online, that’s a simple fact. In most other industries there is a general consensus that young consumers use the Internet and their smart phones for everything from shopping, dating, holidays, banking to energy bills. Now why would finding a property be any different?  Its not, this is clearly demonstrated by Rightmove achieving 90 million visitors per month, yes that is 90 million. Even the way in which tenants reporting repairs, take a look at fixflo's numbers, times are changing. Consequently an Online Letting Agency can carry out its services as efficiently as any high street agency. There just isn't the need for the high street shop anymore.

So why should landlords choose an Online Agency over a High Street Agency? The answer is simple; it's not just that online agents are cheaper (which is an attraction of course) it is due to the business principles being aligned with the future consumer trends. Tenants use the web, therefore landlords should too.

Image (www.forbes.com, 2014)

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The future of Residential property under Theresa May and outside the EU https://www.ogilvyandsneyd.co.uk/news/3/79/The-future-of-Residential-property-under-Theresa-May-and-outside-the-EU.html Mon, 25 Jul 2016 15:24:08 +0100 A glimpse of how the future of property will be outside of the EU 

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Congratulations Theresa May on becoming the 76th prime minister and the 2nd ever woman to be in power. Before I delve into the possibilities of what might happen to the property market under Mrs May, let's take a moment to look back on what happened when the 1st female prime minister came into power, Margaret Thatcher.

It is hard to overstate the immense impact that Mrs Thatcher had on the property market. In 1980 a new housing act was created which, in short, allowed council tenants to buy their homes at a very nicely discounted price. Over the next decade c. one million council houses were sold off and very little more were built! This was then followed by the creation of Assured Shorthold tenancies, which I am sure every letting agent is thankful for today. This meant that tenants no longer had full security of tenure and Landlords could rent their properties at market rent, before this point it was often more economical to leave your second home empty. Houses with ‘sitting tenants’ (pre 1988) were half as valuable to sell and could only achieve the rent given by the rent officer every 2 years, however in recent times these regulated tenancies have seen a rise in price due to the security of income. This in turn has moulded the booming property market that we see today.

So here we are in 2016 leaving Europe and wondering where our property market will go. Leaving the EU was always going to be an uncertain time for Britain and with the RICS publishing last week that, the number of people wanting to buy a house has fallen below the level of 2008, it’s no wonder people are now more nervous than ever about their house price. But if you're not walking on a tightrope above negative equity then don't worry, perhaps it could be the time to be buying another property? The more than ever prepared, Mark Carney is injecting 250 billion into the economy, which leaves banks still open for business and with interest rates being reduced to 0.25% why not borrow to buy a property? Temporary less demand, temporary nervous sellers, temporary dipping prices and a quick influx of supply, what more could a buyer ask for?

The truth is, besides blips in the market, the UKs property prices have been on the rise since the mid 90s and its so simple why? Supply and Demand, we don’t build enough houses. Our target is 250,000 per annum and last year we managed 155,000. Theresa has a tough ask on her hand to increase this as we don’t have enough skilled tradesman here and, the skilled tradesman that once may have ‘freely’ moved into Britain, may not find it as easy. Let's not forget that if you don’t own a home the government will subsidise you to help you get on the ladder, which essentially only pushes property prices up anyway, but that's another story.

So why not grab yourself a cheap loan and place a cheeky bid!

Image (www.urban.co.uk,2016)

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