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Showing Tenants Around

Showing Tenants Around 1

Showing Tenants Around

Some people feel that flats and houses should be able to “let themselves” and do not need to be “shown” by letting agents. Whilst this may be true of certain exceptional properties, or where achieving the optimum rent is not an issue, most properties require the skills of a well-trained letting agent if they are to secure a good rent within a reasonable timescale.

 

One benefit of your letting agent showing prospective tenants around, rather than you, or, believe it or not, handing out the key, is prompt and honest feedback. Many tenants wish to avoid appearing rude and build up a landlord’s hopes by telling them what they want to hear; “It’s lovely – we’ll get back to you”. By the time they have seen several other properties their feedback to the agent about your particular property is likely to be minimal.

 

Additionally, the tenant will probably want to discuss aspects of the property out of the landlord’s earshot for ear of offending. When we show your property, immediate feedback can be generated from tenants who might not have been so frank with you directly. This helps us understand their preferences and allows us to fine-tune our marketing efforts. Our landlord clients often tell us that sincere post-viewing feedback significantly helps to reduce the stress of letting, and after all, this is surely one of the most compelling reasons for appointing a professional and reputable letting agency to represent you as you seek to maximise your investment.

 

Please feel free to contact us at any time on 01227 362248  if you would like to discuss any aspect of letting your property, without obligation.

 

Posted By Teresa Henson

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With You All The Way

With You All The Way 2

With You All The Way

Many letting agencies simply act as a broking service that matches tenants to property. However, we are acutely aware that there is far more to successful lets than this alone. Indeed, nationally, about 25% of initially agreed tenancies fail to prove satisfactory for one reason or another.

One of the main reasons is that a tenant gets cold feet and withdraws as a result of “buyer remorse”. This is a familiar phenomenon that occurs when a tenant feels overwhelmed by the apparent enormity of their decision and wonders if perhaps they are paying too much, or could find a better alternative, especially when other agents are continually offering them other properties, many of them no doubt cheaper.

Your prospective tenant may lose their job, or get a promotion. They might decide to get married or divorced; they might inherit or win a fortune, or their business may be experiencing difficulties. They could even die!

Whilst these types of issues are generally unavoidable and naturally have a profound effect on people’s decision to move, the main problem concerns timing. The sooner the letting specialist can conclude a let, the smaller the opportunity for the tenant to withdraw. 

We go to great lengths to help you secure the right tenant, so our specialist letting consultant will be familiar with your circumstances, plans and objectives. He or she will usually be the same person who negotiates for you, who draws up the lease, takes the inventory, and will be thoroughly involved in any linked transactions. This is why we do not have a separate “progression“department. We find our clients appreciate the level of personal dedication and accountability provided by a single point of contact, which in turn leads to understanding, trust, and a speedy conclusion.     

Posted By Teresa Henson

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November 2020 Market Comment

November 2020 Market Comment 3

November 2020 Market Comment

What a month – with two major news stories within hours of each other that are likely to have a positive effect on the UK housing market: the US election result, and the discovery of a Covid-19 vaccine.

We know that stability and confidence underpin so much in the economy – jobs, inflation, interest rates, mortgage approvals, the stock market, general investment, pensions and of course property transaction volumes and house prices.  Increased certainty generates the confidence on which so much hangs. 

However, although the end of the pandemic is now within sight, it won’t be instant, with continued local lockdowns likely until the whole country is immunised during the latter part of next year. Although the economy rose by 15.5% from July to September, we are by no means out of the woods in terms of redundancies, with unemployment 26% higher than it was this time last year. The extended furlough scheme might help, but people are still unlikely to move house until they have certainty that their future is secure.

Having said that, there is a possibility that the SDLT concession, worth up to £15,000 and due to expire in March next year, could possibly be extended to counter this. We don’t have any inside knowledge on this, but it has been mooted.

Either way, demand still outstrips supply and, according to the Halifax, house prices have risen by 7.5% in the past year to a record £250,547. This is likely to be a more accurate reflection of sentiment than the Land Registry’s reported figures which always lag the market by 2-3 months.

So we can expect to see a slowing down in the rate of growth. That 7.5% is simply not sustainable and in fact last month’s rate was just 0.3% compared to 1.5% in September. Don’t worry though – this is simply a balancing out of this year’s post-lockdown pent up demand. I imagine we’ll continue to see modest growth, which, all things considered, would be pretty remarkable, proving once again how robust the housing market is as an investment.

With this rather mixed bag of variables our advice to our sellers right now is “sure – be ambitious, take advantage of the demand, but think carefully before turning down a serious offer from a well-qualified buyer – you won’t want to be stuck on the market over the winter.”

If you’d like any advice as to how the current climate could affect your moving or investment plans, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01227 362248 for a free overview, with a smile and no obligation, no paperwork, no fuss.  

Posted By Paul Clarke

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Buy to Let update

Buy to Let update 4

Buy to Let update

The property market has historically been fuelled from below, with first time buyers paving the way for sellers to move onward and upward.  

However, the dramatic rise in property prices over the past decades, followed by mortgage funding difficulties have combined to mean that there has been a decline in the number of first time buyers able to get their foot on the ladder, with their average age having also risen to 37.    

Whilst this is clearly unfortunate for young people wishing to buy, it does not mean all out gloom for the property market as a whole, but is simply a reflection of a shift in lifestyles changing the socio-economic shape of the market.

If fewer young people are buying, then more are renting, which has provided a huge buy-to let opportunity for the wise investor.

There are several other factors that support this view. Firstly, according to market researchers Mintel, over the next few years, there will be a predicted shortfall of over half a million properties available to purchase, which will inevitably maintain some degree of pressure on prices. Secondly, the student population is expected to rise by 8%, and there will also be a surge in the number of single households to 1.2 million.

Add to this an increasingly flexible job market, investor awareness of buying opportunities as an alternative to the stockmarket, and we have the recipe for considerable growth. Managing a property investment is not without its complexities, but we have lots of happy landlords for whom buy to let has been a very sound investment decision.

So what are you waiting for? Why not call us on 01227 362248 for local property investment advice and we’d be happy to talk you through the opportunities.   

Posted By Teresa Henson

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The Benefit of Independence

The Benefit of Independence 5

The Benefit of Independence

“Location, location, location” may be the cornerstone of wise property investment, yet many people are unaware of the importance of location in making the right choice of letting agent – whether as landlord or tenant.

Letting agency is an intensely local business. It is essential that letting agents are fully conversant with the issues of the day relating to the rental market within what is often no more than a mile or two from their office. Preferably they should themselves be resident in the area in which they are working.

At David Clarke, we are more conscious than most of the overriding importance of providing a local service, delivered passionately by local people. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why we enjoy such a good atmosphere in our offices. Most of our staff, including our MD Paul Clarke, live in East Kent, and most of them have been with us for many years.

This combination of experience and local expertise delivers an unsurpassed and intense market knowledge of the immediate East Kent area, meaning that landlords and tenants can expect to receive the most relevant and up to date comment and opinion when it comes to property rental appraisal, market intelligence and strategic marketing advice.

In our experience, too many letting agencies simply have token representation in the area, with a mobile workforce managed by remote directors concentrating on building an empire, rather than earning the loyalty and respect of local people over the years.

We believe that close customer contact, regular communication and straight-talking expert advice is what the public deserves. This can only be delivered via a wholeheartedly independent and thoroughly local letting agency with its clients’ best interests at heart. As a landlord or tenant you have a choice of letting agencies, so choose wisely! Choose David Clarke.

Posted By Teresa Henson

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Mapping

Mapping 6

Mapping

If location is fundamental to a tenancy, then mapping is surely the most obvious way to highlight location.

We choose to use locational maps on our property details/website as they make it easy for tenants to identify the property in relation to its surroundings. This is particularly useful when a tenant is considering a property that is slightly outside an area they might have initially preferred, as they can see from the map that the property is actually not that far away from their chosen area.

Additionally, as an aerial perspective, maps are an excellent way of showing areas of open spaces such as parks, woodland and lakes which are not always possible to see when driving round an area. This is particularly the case with the satellite image overlay which we use on our maps. Perhaps the area is not quite as built-up as it appears at street level!

But the most obvious benefit of the use of mapping is that it makes a property easier to find. When tenants have seen four or five properties on a cold wet winter’s evening, if they can’t find the property easily, it’s all too easy simply to give up, resulting in a lost viewing. (This is another reason why a “To Let” board is so important as well.)

As well as providing straight-talking good advice for landlords, we never forget that the job of a good letting agent is to help make it easier for tenants to find the right property – literally!

Posted By Teresa Henson

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Who Chooses

Who Chooses 7

Who Chooses

They say a man’s home is his castle – but when a couple is renting together, it is probably not the man who actually chooses it!

94% of letting agents polled in a recent survey confirmed that it is usually the woman in such a relationship who has the last word in choosing which home they rent!

This may appear sexist, but the two most important single factors likely to clinch a deal that women identified as important are a modern kitchen (91% of agents questioned), and a his-and-hers en-suite bathroom (95%).

On the other hand, almost half the letting agents polled say that space for a wide-screen TV is the most important single feature for men. Twice as many men than women said that a back garden, protected from neighbours’ watchful eyes by high hedges or fencing, also featured as a strong attraction.

Whilst men and women may have different agendas as they seek their ideal home, landlords would be well-advised to consider who typically has the most influence on the renting decision.

When making improvements on a property before letting it, it is therefore important to focus on those things that will mostly impress the most influential person in a relationship. So whilst the garden wall may need rebuilding, perhaps the money would be better spent on improvements to the kitchen or the creation of an en-suite bathroom instead!

Remember, you are renting a home and the lifestyle that comes with it – not just the bricks and mortar, so take advantage of the respective impulses of the most influential people in the renting decision – she who wears the trousers!

Posted By Teresa Henson

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October 2020 Market Comment

October 2020 Market Comment 8

October 2020 Market Comment

To say estate agents are busy would be an understatement. The unprecedented uplift in buyer demand over the past three months certainly bucks any notion of pandemic paralysis. Rightmove tells us that buyer enquiries are up 14% annually and sales agreed are just 5% below this time last year – which is pretty remarkable under the circumstances. Considering the market was stagnant for most of 2019, the last quarter’s 8.5% increase in buyer demand is extraordinary and has contributed to an annual 5% uplift in house prices. This will be a relief for any homeowners who were wondering if last year’s house price plateau was here to stay. Bizarrely, Covid-19, along with some government intervention has certainly overcome that, at least for the time being, because when activity rises, house prices follow.

Nevertheless, research from PwC suggests that up to 20% of people say they are now less likely to purchase a home over the next couple of years compared to pre-Covid-19 figures, due to the ongoing pandemic and economic uncertainty. This is partially balanced by the 10% of people who say they are now MORE likely to move than before, possibly due to the stamp duty holiday worth up to £15,000.
Don’t forget that maximum £15,000 SDLT saving is on a £500,000 property – the average saving is about £4,500 but only until March next year when the concession is due to expire. So if you’re thinking of moving next year – do bring it forward!
Interestingly first time buyer sales agreed are up 36%. Additionally, the good news for first time buyers is that the government is planning to help young people become “Generation Buy” by helping them onto the property ladder with just a 5% deposit. It’s essential not only to power the property market from below, but it’s also good for society to make home ownership available to all. Having said that, government intervention in the economics of supply and demand usually ends in tears.

Although buyers are certainly buying, a potential difficulty is the length of time it is taking for local authority official searches to come back due to Covid-19 related staffing issues. Some are taking up to two months, which could really frustrate buyers hoping to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday. So a key word of advice here is that if you are a seller – order the searches yourself – even before a buyer is found – it could just save you your sale! Please feel free to speak to any of our agents about how to go about this.

On the investment side, landlords will be pleased to hear that, according to ARLA, the number of new prospective tenants registering, is the highest on record with over 100 applicants per branch, breaking the last record set in 1997! Average tenancy duration is also at an all-time high, with tenants staying in their properties for an average 21 months.

If you’d like any advice as to how the current climate could affect your moving or investment plans, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01227 362248 for a free overview, with a smile and no obligation.

Posted By Paul Clarke

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The Courteous Tenant

The Courteous Tenant 9

The Courteous Tenant

Most people move house rarely and often have little idea of the etiquette required if the stress of moving is to be minimised. Our job as progressive letting agents is to help landlords and tenants minimise this stress by seeing the world through each other’s eyes and advising accordingly.

For example, landlords, especially those who are currently living in the property themselves, often go to great lengths to prepare for a viewing. They clean the house thoroughly, making sure everything, from cushions to children’s toys, is in its place. They might light a fire, switch on the lights, arrange fresh flowers, mow the lawn, and send their teenager out to walk the dog in anticipation of the arrival of the esteemed tenant.

The agreed viewing time comes, and goes. The landlord looks anxiously out of the window. Twenty minutes passes, and then wonders if they have got the time wrong. So they wait. But still nothing, and the pressure in the household mounts.

When looking at property, communication and straight-talking are critical if the stress of moving is to be minimised. So if you are a prospective tenant and you are running late, or decide you don’t like the look of the property you have arranged to view on arrival, be assured that the landlord would far rather you told them so than simply pass it by.

Likewise, if the property just doesn’t feel right inside then don’t waste your time, or the landlord’s, by indulging their attempts at polite conversation. Be frank, politely, and move on.

Also, be sure to give prompt, sincere and detailed feedback to the letting agent following a viewing, as this will not only enable them to communicate better with the landlord, but also help them gain a more comprehensive understanding of your requirements as a tenant, possibly saving you time and hassle in the future.

Posted By Teresa Henson

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Beware the Sub-Let

Beware the sub-let

Beware the sub-let

An unfair quirk in the law can leave landlords substantially out of pocket, as highlighted by the recent case of Cheryl Roux, the former wife of Michelin star chef Albert Roux.

A bogus tenant, introduced by a fake London letting agency, rented Mrs Roux’s £5m Knightsbridge property. That tenant then advertised the property to legitimate tenants on Airbnb and Zoopla, raking in £835 a night, with none of this going to Mrs Roux.

On the surface, there would seem to be a case for eviction due to none payment of rent by the “head tenant” (who is known as the “mesne tenant” (pronounced “meen”) when subletting). However, this criminal mesne tenant does not actually live in the property – the sub-tenant does. As the landlord does not have a contract with this “legitimate” sub-tenant, it is virtually impossible to evict them, and they can lawfully occupy the property. Once a property is let and there is a contract between two parties it is a matter for the civil court not the police if a dispute arises.

This highlights the incredible importance of letting to a well-referenced tenant through a legitimate professional letting agency. For example, at David Clarke letting agents, we always ensure that our contracts prohibit sub-letting and our in-depth training ensures that we are always alert to the possibility of scammers trying to rent our clients properties with an ulterior motive. So far, we have never had an issue, but we hear of many who have tried to go it alone, or through an amateur letting agency, with horrendous consequences.

If you are a landlord, our advice is to regard letting not just as an investment activity, but as a serious business in its own right. We’ll help you maximising your yield with caution and detail, minimising the risks associated with anything other than a thoroughly professional approach.

Posted By Teresa Henson