In Leeds, there are approximately 36,500 people living across 3,300 hectares of land. This means that the population density is 11 people per hectare. To put that in the national context, it scores 4/5, five being the most densely populated areas. We can, therefore, classify our area as suburban, which means residents' will have very limited choices when it comes to outside space.
Buyers' attitudes towards and appetite for outside space often comes down to the area where the property is located. As the chart above shows, the most common type of property in Leeds is a semi. This means that a significant number of homebuyers will expect a reasonably sized garden with room for a couple of flower beds.
For out-of-town house buyers used to decent sized gardens, more is definitely more. But for flat buyers, and people who live in more built-up areas the effect is more marked. Those trying to sell flats without balconies have really struggled, as have landlords trying to find tenants for them. We know stories of people who extended into their gardens to increase the internal floor area who are really struggling to find a buyer who will agree on a price which allows them to recoup the investment.
However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for anyone stuck in this position. Firstly, even just being near a park or open space is a big plus, space doesn't necessarily have to be part of the property. Secondly, there's always a chance that when normality returns, it slips down the priority list of renters and buyers. One hopes that housebuilders, who are responsible for the supply of properties into the market, will have learned an important lesson. When it comes to all types of property, flats and houses alike, outside space is now key to maintaining sales values.
The demand for open space in Leeds is essentially down to the density of housing in the area. Outside space will now powerfully differentiate your property from others on the market, but quality and quantity both have parts to play. If you'd like to know how to make the most of what you've got, please pop into our office so we can give you the inside track.
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The stamp duty holiday announced by the Chancellor on the 8th July could save home buyers in England up to £15,000. Previously, movers had to pay Stamp Duty on any homes costing over £125,000, but now that threshold has been raised to £500,000. This means that a buyer of the average home in England, worth around £250,000, would pay no stamp duty at all, saving about £2,460. Someone buying a £500,000 property would save up to £15,000.
Homes which cost over £500,000 will have to pay stamp duty, but £15,000 less than before, which is significant. In our area, 89.1% of sales were under £500k in the first quarter of 2020, so under these new rules, a good proportion of local homeowners could pay zero stamp duty.
The most significant saving is for home movers; remember first-time buyers already don't have to pay stamp duty on property worth under £500,000. However, first-time buyers still benefit because more movement among home movers and downsizers will free up much needed housing stock, so there’ll be more choice for first-time buyers.
We expect that this change in policy will not only provide a big boost to transactions, but be beneficial to the wider economy. The first way is direct; people will be able to relocate to areas with stronger, more productive employment markets. The second way is indirect, and perhaps more important in the short term. Home moving is an event which feeds a wide array of industries and livelihoods. The more people move home, the more work there is for removal firms, furniture makers, and decorators, solicitors to name but a few, all of which will boost the economy.
Investors and second home buyers still have to pay the additional 3% rate brought in by former Chancellor George Osbourne in 2016. However, these buyers still benefit from the same higher nil rate as everyone else. Someone buying a second home worth £500,000 would pay £15,000 in stamp duty, half the previous bill. The holiday will last until 31st March 2021, but the Chancellor has indicated this could be the start of a more permanent lowering of the tax.
Overall, we’re big fans of any policy which gets the property market moving. The reduction in tax as an obstacle means we can help more people make their next perfect move. If you’re wondering if now is the right time, please give us a call so we can discuss your options.
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The temporary reduction in rates applies to all purchases from today until 31 March 2021.
Although the move is primarliy designed to help home movers, it also benefits Landlords or anyone buying a 2nd home. Those in this category still have to pay 3% in SDLT up to £500,000 but lose the base rate SDLT that was applicable previously.
The most recent change to stamp duty in 2018 saw a break given to first time buyers with no SDLT being payable on purchases up to £300,000. The new rules replace the £300,000 limit for first time buyers as well levelling the playing field for all other home movers.
This is great news for the housing market as a whole. Transaction levels will increase and house prices are more likely fare better through the winter as a result of this move.
You can see the details of the new SDLT rates here on the government's website.
The performance of the Leeds property market in the second half of 2020 is still anyone’s guess I’m afraid. However, there are now some concrete features we can talk about. The withdrawal of lower-deposit mortgages by Nationwide says quite a lot about their expectations. The building society is clearly worried about the ability of new low equity home buyers to make their monthly mortgage payments.
It’s important not to overstate the similarities between Covid and the Credit Crunch. The former is a natural disaster; the latter was about poor financial governance. However, the housing market will be shaped by both events through the prism of mortgage lending. Both will have strengthened the position of more equity-rich movers and weakened everyone else.
So how vulnerable is Leeds? In our area, there are 36,457 people, 46 per cent of whom are economically active, i.e. have some kind of job. Average earnings in the wider district are between £20,867 and £39,718, with £28,848 as the midpoint. The most common industry of employment here is Education which accounts for 15% of workers.
With jobs in retail being quite risky at the moment it doesn't look like our housing market is too exposed, but anyone fearful of losing their job probably shouldn't stretch for a new home right now. However, if your employment position is stable, it’s worth remembering a great quote from Warren Buffet; that it is wise to be “Fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful”.
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Published: 04/06/2020 Last Updated: 04/06/2020 11:02:17 Tags: Property Prices Leeds
Many commentators are drawing comparisons between the 2009 credit crunch and our present situation. Back then, mortgage finance evaporated overnight, so hardly anyone could move apart from cash buyers. Currently there's no sign of any strain on the mortgage market. In fact, the opposite is true. With interest rates being so low, the purchasing power of buyers has increased even further.
It's worth taking a look back to where the property market was before the lockdown started at the end of March. For most parts of the country, house prices had been steadily climbing since about 2014. However, Brexit had created some wait-and-see sentiment in the market which meant transactions were fairly restrained. The expectation was that the usual spring surge in sales would be larger than usual in 2020 as the clouds of 'Brexit uncertainty' dissipated. However, February was the only full month we had between leaving the European Union and the lockdown. If the market were an aircraft, it would have been just about to lift off when the runway was abruptly closed.
By this logic, when the market reopened on the 13th May, one might have expected a sales boom, especially in the light of lower interest rates. That might still happen - it's too early to say, but there's a very good reason it might not. The main reason is uncertainty over unemployment. There is speculation that unemployment might start to rise once the lockdown is over. Some industries like travel, retail and pubs have been hit very directly but the impact on other industries may be somewhat delayed. Don't forget, huge parts of the national and global economies are inextricably intertwined through supply chains and ecosystems. Even if this doesn't play out like that at all, the uncertainty around it may put different brakes on the economy. Brexit uncertainty might be replaced directly by unemployment uncertainty.
It will take a while to see real movements in house price data. A fairly pessimistic forecast says prices might fall, albeit briefly, by around seven percent. For context, a fall of that order on the price of an average home in Leeds equates to about £21,200. We think this in unlikely, but remember it would work both ways, i.e. the price of the home you want would also be lower.
We've been involved in the property market for a very long time now and never has it been more important to work with a local market expert who can guide you through the next steps. We don't have a crystal ball, but we do know what logic looks like in this, or indeed any market environment. If you're a buyer or seller who wants to make the most out of your next move, please call us today.
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Published: 22/05/2020 Last Updated: 22/05/2020 16:03:33 Tags: Deposit Replacement
At no extra cost to them, Landlords can now be covered by a higher deposit amount. Any Tenants that go for the Deposit Replacement option (they always have the choice of a paying a standard deposit), will allow the Landlord to be covered for the equivalent of 6 weeks rent, instead of the standard 5 weeks rent cap, which was brought in as part of the Tenant Fee Ban. Therefore, this option gives the Landlord increased security over a traditional deposit.
The Deposit Replacement option follows the same adjudication process at the end of the tenancy as traditional Deposit Schemes. On average the policy pays out in 30 days where there is a dispute over how the deposit should be split, which in most cases is quicker than adjudication with the tenancy deposit schemes. Once a judgement is made, the scheme pays out within 48 hours.
Tenants are able to move into a property quicker, without having to find a deposit up front which greatly helps with cash and provides more options for moving. The cost of the standard cover policy is just 30% of 1 month’s rent, payable by the Tenant. This is non refundable since it is a policy fee rather than a deposit.
Where the Landlord has agreed for the deposit replacement scheme to be offered, Tenants will always be given the choice on whether to take the deposit replacement scheme, or whether to pay a traditional deposit, equal to 5 weeks rent.
This example shows the 2 different financial scenarios.
1. Traditional deposit
- Rent: £1000pcm
- Deposit £1250
2. Deposit replacement scheme
- Rent: £1000
- Deposit replacement cover: £300
If you are a Landlord please click here for more information.
If you are a Tenant please click here for more information.
As you can see, it's a win-win!
It’s been a whirlwind for everyone. So we wanted to give a rundown of how we, as your local property agents, can keep you moving home safely in these strange times.
Despite the lock-down restrictions and the housing market being frozen, its been a very busy time for our team. All of our lettings staff have continued to work full time from home to minimise any interruption to service for our customers.
Its been a really good opportunity for us to review how we operate as a business and identify the areas where we can make improvements and how we have begun making those changes straight away.
Video & virtual viewings
We’ve invested in new technology to make the online viewing a much better user experience whilst increasing efficiency at the same time. We’re currently in the process of launching an exciting and new virtual viewings feature. Shot in high definition the images are taken in 360 degrees and are ‘stitched’ together to give an immersive user experience from the comfort of their own homes.
We are also making use of video viewings where you will be walked around the property and shown its features, as if you were present.
In most cases these 2 new features describe and illuminate the property in a way that traditional marketing couldn’t do on their own. This means that applicants may offer and apply for properties in confidence without the need for a physical viewing, saving them time and keeping them safe.
Going forwards our professional quality adverts will feature not only feature still photographs and marketing descriptions, but also video viewings, virtual tours, and floorplans across both sales and lettings to give a full and comprehensive insight into the property online. By harnessing new technology, it allows us to have a much higher level of transparency so that viewers and our team can vastly reduce time visiting properties that may not be suitable.
This information will be held in each individual property ad which can be accessed on the portals (such as Rightmove and Zoopla), or our own website with ease.
We continue to offer physical viewings for parties that have viewed the full property advert and have shown serious interest in applying or making an offer. It is required that distancing measures will need to be maintained by staff, applicants, and existing tenants that may be at home. Our staff are given PPE, disposable gloves, hand sanitiser gel, face masks, and anti-bacterial spray and wipes to ensure all the recommended safety guidelines are met at all times. We are also strongly recommending that applicants follow the same measures and arrive to the viewing fully prepared. Where properties are tenanted, and the tenants have asked us not to carry out viewings at their home, their wishes will be respected.
It is more straight forward for us to arrange viewings for empty properties than tenanted properties. In the case of empty property viewings, our viewing staff will arrive at the property early to open all doors. We must ask that viewers do not touch anything in the property. Viewings can take up to a maximum of 15 minutes and will be carried out by members of one household per viewing. Regrettably children (under the age of 16) are not permitted at physical viewings for the time being. Our viewing staff will remain behind to disinfect door handles and surfaces afterwards.
We will ask anyone wishing to book a physical viewing if they have been in contact with anyone displaying symptoms of the virus within the last 14 days and clearly we can only offer this service to those that have not.
Our valuing team have resumed Market Appraisals by applying social distancing and the most up-to-date health and safety guidelines. If you are a Landlord or a Vendor and you are in need of a valuation, contact us today to arrange your free appointment. The appointment may be carried out with you, without you, or via video call – however you feel most comfortable, we’ll work flexibly to suit your preferences.
We’re excited to welcome Ross Harding to the team who takes up the role as Lettings Manager. With almost 20 years experience in the lettings industry, most of which has been spent in Management positions, Ross brings with him a wealth of ideas and energy to take the business forwards. Ross’ multi-faceted role will include new business generation, marketing, Market Appraisals/Valuations, advising investors and landlords, training and legislation, as well as tech and innovation to keep us ahead of the curve.
Re-opening of the housing market
In a surprise announcement by the government on Tuesday 12th May, the brakes were immediately taken off the housing market. Estate & Letting Agents are now allowed to return to their business premises and viewings, valuations, and inspections may all resume. Provided distancing and health and safety guidelines are adhered to. Connected parties in the home moving industry such as Surveyors and Removals have also been allowed to return to work. We are delighted that the government recognise the value of our market to the economy and that the housing market can get started once more. We believe it is vital however, that we as an industry set a responsible and safe approach to this. The re-opening of our business premises will therefore be planned and executed in a careful and considered manner.
Re-opening our shop
The safety of our staff and customers is our number one priority. Therefore, we are taking the required time to plan our re-opening. This includes the health & safety aspects of working from our shop and from other people’s homes, as well as implementing new processes to adapt and better fit the environment we now operate in.
Our team will make a return to work full time from our shop on St Chads Parade on Monday 1st June. Until that date we remain open for business remotely. You can contact our team on the usual numbers and email addresses. In the meantime, we are continuing to carry out Market Appraisals, viewings, move ins, maintenance, accounts, check outs, deposit returns, sales progression, and all other aspects of our services with an emphasis on the use of technology to minimise any physical contact.
If you would like any more information about anything included in this update, please get in touch for a chat.
The proverbial handbrake has been applied to the UK housing market in a very sudden fashion. As market analysts, we're starting to wonder what the short, medium and long term effects will be. As a reminder, the average annual rate of growth in Leeds over the last 20 years has been 9.2%, but what happens next?
The first thing we want to emphasise is that there are a lot of very good reasons to think the market will bounce back quickly. When the market reopens for business, there will be a lot of positive sentiment, pent-up demand and buyers relishing the prospect of rock bottom interest rates. Another driver will be people wanting a new start, having had some thinking time.
Of these positive factors, the most important are interest rates. The main reason the property market ground to a halt in 2009 was the sudden evaporation of mortgage finance. In 2020, we are in a totally different position - the financial infrastructure which supports the UK housing market is in very good shape. While the lock-down will adversely affect many households, more still will be largely unaffected and still confident about their ability to service mortgage payments. For these people, lower interest rates may make moving irresistible, particularly when coupled with other personal motivations. In this scenario, families may be able to afford a bigger property in the same area for the same or less than they’re currently paying each month. For anyone feeling claustrophobic during the lock-down, this may sound like a dream come true.
Unfortunately, there may be ways in which personal misfortunes may fuel the property market as we come out of lock-down. There is a common saying that ‘death, debt and divorce’ are the key drivers of the housing market. Sadly the Covid-19 pandemic has the potential to increase rates of all three which could translate into higher transaction volumes. If these factors start to influence the market significantly, we would likely see a shift in power towards buyers. It rather depends on the degree to which factors which might force people to sell weigh up against the low interest rate environment. If they balance each other out, there is a chance that the market could find a new equilibrium which means things can pretty much pick up where they left off.
But there are also potential clouds in the sky. In the short term, the market could be paralysed by buyers holding off from buying until they get some visibility on price movements. Longer term, it is possible that the period of economic inactivity were currently experiencing causes a global depression and the unemployment which comes with it.
On the whole we're positive about the outlook for the property market in the 12 months which follow the market reopening. We're less certain about what happens after that, and we are very much in uncharted territory. If you want to get a head start when the market comes back to life, don't hesitate to give us a call!
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If you’re planning to sell your home, and have had any electrical work carried out at the property, the law requires you to have an Electrical Completion Certificate (EIC).
Don’t worry if you want to sell your home and don’t have the necessary documentation - there is a solution.
What does the law say?
Published in 2006 and amended in 2013, Part P of the Building Regulations state that:
‘Reasonable provision shall be made in the design and installation of electrical installations in order to protect persons operating, maintaining or altering the installations from fire or injury’.
The regulations apply to homes in England and Wales.
To ensure that any electrical work carried out at your property is safe, the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) will normally require an Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC).
You will need an EIC if one or more of the following apply:
- a new circuit (including a consumer unit) was installed
- any alterations or additions to the existing electrical installation were made
- work was carried out in a specified location, such as a bathroom
Failure to comply with Part P of the Building Regulations is technically a criminal offence.
What if I want to sell a home and I don’t have a certificate?
Once you accept an offer from a buyer, your conveyancing solicitor will send you a form called a Seller’s Property Information Form (TA6). This form is completed by you, the seller, to supply detailed information and documents as part of the conveyancing process.
The form asks you to provide one of the following for any electrical work carried out at your property since 2005:
- A copy of the signed BS7671 Electrical Safety Certificate
- The installer’s Building Regulations Compliance Certificate
- The Building Control Completion Certificate
Chris Salmon, Director of conveyancing solicitor panel Quittance Legal Services said, “When completing the property information forms, the key thing is to ask your conveyancing solicitor about any potential concerns, like missing electrical certificates. Ideally, you would instruct your solicitor before you find a buyer, so the solicitor can identify and address any issues early on. Your solicitor can then present the buyer’s solicitor with appropriate solutions upfront, avoiding unnecessary debate and delays.”
What if I don’t have the necessary documentation?
If the work was not certified when it was carried out, one option is to contact the electrician and ask them to certify it. Although the work should technically have been certified within 30 days, in practice it is usually acceptable for it to be done retrospectively.
If you can’t locate the electrician, or if the electrician was not Part P certified, another electrician cannot certify someone else’s work.
Another option, depending on the scope of works, is to ask another electrician to redo the work and issue an EIC. Alternatively, you could get a Part P registered electrician to carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). LABC may accept the EICR for the purposes of compliance.
If you do not want to delay putting your home on the market, there is an easier solution.
What if I am already on the market or have accepted an offer?
If your home is already on the market, you have accepted an offer, or you just want to start marketing without delay, there is another option.
Your conveyancing solicitor will be able to recommend a ‘Lack of Building Regulations Insurance’ policy. This is an indemnity insurance policy that will protect the buyer against any loss of market value, damages and expenses resulting from any action taken by the local authority.
Indemnity policies are commonly used by solicitors in the sale conveyancing process to circumvent issues that could jeopardise the sale of a property.
Indemnity policies tend to be a relatively inexpensive one-off cost and you should expect to pay for the policy for your buyer.
Whatever potential issues arise during the sale process, keep your solicitor and your agent in the loop. Don’t spend two weeks searching for missing docs before informing your solicitor you can’t find them. As with most issues that come up during a sale, your conveyancing solicitor will be able to suggest practical solutions that prevent unnecessary delays.
Although we have had to close our shop in line with government instructions, our team are still working full time to help our customers.
Calls are being diverted to them Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm so feel free to call during these times and we’ll see how we can help you.
Our systems are web based and operations are running as normal remotely.
Social distancing measures must always apply which are likely to affect in person appointments. The health and safety of our team and our customers takes first priority during these times, even where that limits our ability to provide our usual service in full.
We must point out that the government’s guidelines indicate that home moves (where buying, selling, or renting) should be put on hold during the lock-down period where possible. We understand that some people still have a genuine need to move at the moment, and we are looking to help those of you now.
Here’s how we are handling our some of the different elements of our business.
Valuations/Market Appraisals (for sale and to let)
We can physically attend where the property is vacant and we have access with keys.
We can also carry out these appointments via video call where the client is on site at the property. We will ask for a walk around of the property for valuation purposes, and we can then discuss how we can help you. We’ll also run through your service options in full and talk to you about the costs.
For new instructions, we can photograph vacant properties provided we have access with keys.
For re-listed properties, we will re-market these as and when it is appropriate to do so without a visit to the property.
New home enquiries
If you are looking for a new home during this time, please contact us as normal and we’ll do everything we can to help you move when you need to
We are currently unable to attend in-person viewings of occupied properties.
If the property is vacant, one of our team may be able to open the property for you whilst they wait outside for you to have a look around.
However we are carrying out video viewings. Where the property is vacant, one of our team will be able to send you a video viewing of the property. If the property is occupied we are asking our tenants to take a video for us which we can share with you.
If you are a tenant, your referencing will be carried out remotely by our team. Documents you will need will be served by email and signatures will be carried out electronically.
Key collection for move in day can be arranged by our team, provided your need to move is genuine and urgent.
We can only move you into a vacant property for the time being, therefore (for your safety and that of existing tenants) we will not be able to move you into tenanted house shares.
If you are a tenant, please continue to report maintenance issues and repair requests in the usual way via our specialist website here. Our team will continue to deal with maintenance, although issues of a non-urgent nature may experience a longer turn around time than normal. This is due to most contractors limiting the work they will take on at the moment and also complying with social distancing measures. Urgent issues will be dealt with as normal. Routine safety certificates that are legally required (for example gas and electrical) will be carried out as normal.
We will arrange key collection for contractors where required, although it is expected that most tenants will be home currently. Contractors and tenants must observe social distancing measures.
If you are a tenant and you are self-isolating or you have knowingly been around another person with virus symptoms, you must let us know. In these cases it will be necessary to consider how urgent repair work is done on a case-by-cases basis.
Tenants - we understand that now is a difficult time and your ability to pay rent in full may be affected. In these cases we ask that you contact us to let us know of your individual circumstances as quickly as possible. If you cannot afford to pay your rent in full before the next rent due date, we will discuss a payment plan with you.
Landlords – we continue to process rent payments as normal. Rents are processed on Tuesday and Friday of every week. We will contact you if we are aware of any arrears situations as and when they arise. Our team are working very hard to collect rents that are due currently.
Provided that the property is vacant, our team will carry out a check out appointment as normal. We will prepare the property for re let where possible. Deposits will be returned to tenants in the normal time frames.
Sales are being progressed as normal. Vendors and buyers can expect delays with the home moving process since the supply chain has been affected. For example removal companies have closed down, most Surveyors are not working as normal, some mortgage lenders have changed their position with products they are offering, and conveyancing Solicitors are working from home. Buy to let and cash purchases should be more straight forward. If you are mid-way through a sale or a purchase with us we will be in contact with you regularly to move things along as normal.
Get in touch
We expect a huge surge in demand when the lock-down is lifted so we would encourage you to enquire straight away so we can help you as soon as possible. Whatever your query, please get in touch. We’re still here to help!
Surreal doesn’t do it justice. Are we really locked down in our own homes while an invisible killer preys on the elderly and infirm? Our heartfelt feelings go out to everyone feeling worried or anxious for themselves or their family at this unprecedented time. Likewise we share in the frustration many of us must feel about this sudden interruption into daily life.
We’re not operating under the illusion that anyone is thinking too hard about moving home or the property market right now - so fear not. You may, however, be interested to hear what we think the short, medium and long term effects of the virus might be. We’re going to assume that cases of the virus will peak and within a handful of months, things will start to go back to normal.
During the lock-down, which has just begun as we write this, we expect the national housing market to pretty much freeze. Estate agencies rely on a chain of activity including viewings, surveys and non-householders mixing, which seems infeasible during this time. So we’re not expecting you to see very much new stock on the portals.
When, eventually, normality resumes, we expect to see a tidal wave of new stock coming onto the market. Not only will a swell of springtime movers belatedly arrive in the market, but more will come to take advantage of the historically low interest rates, if they persist. One thing we don’t want to see is a market buoyed by the couples in the chart above getting divorced after too much enforced family time!
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Now that Brexit negotiations are getting properly underway, it will be interesting to see if there is any direct effect it has on the market. Since the original vote, interest rates were dropped to 0.25 per cent to support the economy. This has resulted in property prices rising nationally by 7.2 per cent - and we expect them to grow by a further 6.6 per cent over the next 12 months.
So why are we so bullish about the market in Leeds? Well the data shows us that in the second half of 2019, sales levels were 0.8 per cent lower than the first half, which is very impressive when we account for the level of uncertainty which haunted the market. Based on market trends, we expect the price of the average home here to reach £334,500 by the end of 2021.
Projecting future price trends is never straightforward. The construction of new homes impacts on this heavily; residential developments will often increase the value of other properties in the area due to the way valuers use 'comparables'. Other important aspects they consider when determining the future value of property are upgrades to travel networks and new businesses opening in the area.
Rising property prices mean some people will decide against hopping on the property ladder, instead choosing to rent. Rents have also seen increases, but usually at slower rates than property prices. Landlords tend to focus on the yields when it comes to renting a property: the current gross yield in the local area is 5.9 per cent.
The future looks bright for the local property market; now is the time to think about getting on it if you're not already, especially while interest rates remain so low. If you would like to sell your property, pop into our office for a friendly chat with one of our local experts. We’d love to help. Alternatively, find us on social media.
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Published: 05/02/2020 Last Updated: 06/02/2020 15:46:35 Tags: House Prices Leeds
In September 2019, The Office for National Statistics reported that house prices across the UK saw a year-on-year rise of 1.3 per cent. Annual growth has declined in the last few years, yet the fact that there has been any growth at all during these years of political stagnation is very encouraging. If the trend continues, the average home in the UK will increase in value by over £3,000 in the next year. But what's in store for Leeds?
Since 2013, the UK has been experiencing ’strong growth', and a typical house price is now higher than it was four years ago. Surprisingly, it's the areas outside of London that have seen the highest growth, with the East of England experiencing price increases of 11.3 per cent in the last year. With the majority of the UK seeing such positive growth signs, the future of the residential property market looks good.
Over the last decade, local prices have seen a rise of 15.3 per cent, equivalent to £3,570 per year. Terraces tell a different story, having seen a rise of £2,450 per year or 13 per cent over the period. As the chart shows, all owners have benefitted from price rises, but some more than others.
The hike in house prices indicates good news for current homeowners, but those hoping to take their first steps on the property ladder will need to familiarise themselves with pros and cons of current schemes. There are several government schemes for first-time buyers: Help to Buy, Shared Ownership, ISA's and Starter Homes.
With the continuing increase in house prices, it will make more sense for some people to rent. This is excellent news for buy-to-let landlords and potential investors thinking about purchasing a rental property. Rental prices have also increased over the last 12 months, with the average rents nationwide up 6.5% with a mean average of £839 per month.
Local area residents thinking of selling their home will be buoyed by the price increases, especially if they have owned their property for a significant amount of time. If you would like to know how much your home is worth don't hesitate to give us a call. Alternatively, pop into our office for a friendly chat through your options.
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Have you considered Leeds?
With a thriving centre, high quality housing and amazing transport links, it’s easy to see why the cities popularity is increasing at such a rapid rate. Whether you’re a young professional looking to purchase your first home or a growing family looking to upsize, the city of Leeds has something to cater for everyone. And if you still need convincing, we’re rounded up just six of the reasons why Leeds is the perfect place to buy a home in 2020!
If you’re looking to base yourself outside of Leeds city centre then you have ample choice when it comes to deciding on one of the many bustling suburbs to plant your roots, all of which have their own unique quirks and individual appeal. One of these suburbs being Headingley , well known for its student population but the area is now much more appealing to families and young professionals looking to position themselves a stones throw from the city centre whilst still remaining part of a thriving community with plenty of local amenities to stay busy! Meanwood is another extremely popular up and coming area due to its easy access to the city centre and its excellent choice of local primary schools.
Employment opportunities in Leeds
Leeds is the UK’s fourth largest city and the second biggest in the North of England. One of the nation’s most important financial centres, our great city is expanding faster than any other in the country. Leeds economy is worth a whopping £65 billion and rising every single year.
With businesses from a wide variety of sectors choosing to base themselves in the city, Leeds is becoming a much more attractive proposition for young professionals looking to work their way up the career ladder. As well as being home to several global companies such as Asda Walmart, Leeds also has a growing start-up and SME community who over the past few years have become significant employers within the city.
Rising House Prices
Property prices in Leeds have grown by 17.04% since 2014 and that doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon so if you want to hop on the ladder now is the time to make your move! The LS6 area (Beckett Park, Burley, Headingley, Hyde Park, Meanwood, Woodhouse) in particular is expected to be one of the postcodes that will see the biggest rise in house prices in 2020. These figures only emphasise the desirability and popularity of the area which is set to continue for many more years to come.
Despite these rising prices Leeds is still an affordable place to step onto the property ladder with house prices averaging at £222,825. When compared to the likes of London which would cost you an average of £657,770 to purchase a home, Leeds seems like a pretty attractive proposition!
Leeds is home to a large number of highly rated primary and high schools so no matter where you choose to base your family you’re sure to have access to great education. Places for the top rated schools can be extremely competitive, with several primary schools regularly being oversubscribed so be sure to look into catchment areas before you start house hunting to ensure you’re looking to settle down in the right areas.
You no longer have to head into the centre of Leeds to experience a bustling city atmosphere as several of the livelier suburbs are home to a number of shops, pubs, bars and restaurants which means you can stay closer to home whilst still enjoying time socialising with friends or family. Many areas are also boast a whole host of independent businesses which means you get to support local whilst shopping and eating out in quality and unique establishments which is a huge win-win!
On the Doorstep to Yorkshire
If you love getting out of the city at the weekend and donning your walking boots then you can be inhaling fresh country air in under thirty minutes by being based in Leeds. With the Yorkshire Dales on your doorstep you have unprecedented access to some of the UK’s most incredible scenery which is one thing that should never be taken for granted. Alternatively, if you’re not up for a full day of rambling then you could head to check out the amazing views at Ikley Moor, jump on the train to York or even spend a day mooching around the spa town of Harrogate. Lots of great local day trips that all ages are bound to enjoy!
If we’ve managed to convince you to plant your roots in Leeds then be sure to get in touch to find out how we can help you to find your perfect home in 2020!
[Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]
Here in the Leeds office, we have found that one of the best ways to get a picture of what’s happening in the local market is to look at the statistics. However, we also derive a huge proportion of our local market expertise just by chatting to the buyers and sellers we see every day. Many, regardless of how they voted, feel the election result will be good for homeowners.
The one thing that's becoming obvious is that the brand of Leeds is growing into something much bigger and better than used to be the case. We only have anecdotal data, but it seems pretty clear that the sphere of influence our part of the world has for buyers is expanding. It's this burgeoning demand which has been responsible for the fact that prices here have risen, on average by 10 per cent per year since 2000.
For those of us that have lived here for a long time, it’s easy to forget how amazing the area is. We’ve got it all in terms of high-quality housing stock, a fantastic mix of people, amenities, transport accessibility - you name it. As work patterns change, and five days per week in the office becomes rarer and rarer, so too do attitudes towards choosing a place to live.
With more and more positive property market data coming through every day and sentiment on the ground going from strength-to-strength, we think that 2020 will be very kind to anyone who owns a property here. If you’re thinking of getting on the housing ladder, upsizing downsizing or investing, make sure you work with a local market expert and you can’t lose.
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Published: 18/12/2019 Last Updated: 18/12/2019 13:54:08 Tags: Christmas Opening Hours
Back in 2000, the market saw an almost unbroken run of growth in both house prices and sales volumes. For the eight subsequent years, prices rose by an average of 14.4 per cent per year, and by the end had lifted the price of the average home by £131,000. That was only part of the story. Transaction levels built up steadily over the period and by 2007, 4.4 per cent of the entire housing stock was changing hands each year.
As we all know, the credit crunch brought things to a sudden stop. A new market cycle began, which saw more subdued levels of market activity. This cycle is now trying to come to a halt, but Brexit uncertainty has delayed the start of its successor. At the time of writing, it's still 18 days until the 2019 election. The result has the potential to be decisive.
The end of the market cycle is often the perfect time to make your move. Journalists often rely on data which is at least three months out of date. The reality on the ground, as described by the multitude of buyers and sellers we speak to every month shows that things are finally starting to pick up in Leeds. There are opportunities left, right and centre. If you’d like to make your next move with us, we’ll tell you all about them.
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Ready to move out of halls and into your first student house? Looking for a new place to live can be extremely daunting, especially if you’ve never been through the process before and sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start. To help simplify things we’re sharing the seven essential house hunting tips for students looking to snap up their dream digs!
- Choose who you’re going to live with carefully
- Create a checklist
- Work out Your budget
- Don’t leave it until the last minute
- Use a reputable Letting Agent
- Go for viewings
- Have your deposit ready
So there we have it, our essential house hunting tips for students! Good luck if you’re just starting your property search, we hope you find the perfect digs to see you through the next academic year and if you’re based in Leeds be sure to get in touch to find out if we have any suitable properties available or check out the current listings on our website.
The first reason any homeowner in Leeds should be excited, is that their home may be worth a lot more than they think. There’s a lot of doom and gloom in the papers at the moment when it comes to the housing market. Yet the hard reality is that average prices here are now 170.8 per cent higher than they were in 2000, and have grown 25.7 per cent just since the credit crunch.
Next, is the growing desirability for our beautiful area. House price growth depends on a ‘dynamic equilibrium’ of supply and demand. While there has been some house building, the ever-broadening appeal of the area means that demand still outstrips supply and house price growth looks very sustainable as we go into the next housing market cycle.
Finally, comes the future. Standing as we are on the cusp of another housing market cycle, house price growth is likely about to ramp up significantly. That means anyone moving now stands to gain the most from the next cycle. If you’d like to know more about the Leeds market, just pick up the phone as we would love to help.
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Published: 04/10/2019 Last Updated: 04/10/2019 15:01:09 Tags: House Price Boom Leeds
We all know things came to a sudden halt in 2008 with the credit crunch, when the availability of mortgage finance evaporated seemingly overnight. Since then the national market has made something of a come back with prices rising more steadily and sales volumes sitting broadly halfway between their highest and lowest point in the period 2000 to 2007.
But does the data suggest our area is about to see a house price boom? The numbers show that sales volumes have been a bit slow, as they always are at this point of the housing market cycle, but quieter periods always precede booms. Mortgage lending remains buoyant, and house building levels are not disrupting the balance of supply and demand.
More importantly, however, is the growing appeal of Leeds. It seems every month we’re seeing more and more people looking for their perfect new home. With demand growing, it seems to us like the next market cycle could be something quite special for those who make their move now. If you’d like to know more about buying or selling in our area, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
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Published: 03/10/2019 Last Updated: 04/10/2019 15:04:42 Tags: Sales By House Type Leeds
[Data relates to LS16]
Published: 01/10/2019 Last Updated: 04/10/2019 15:06:48 Tags: Highest Property Prices Leeds
Published: 30/09/2019 Last Updated: 04/10/2019 15:09:20 Tags: Age Demographics Leeds
We can't remember a time when there's been more excitement about the LS16 property market. We're having more conversations with the buyers and sellers we advise who realise that they've 'timed their runs' perfectly. As we've seen many times before; as the market turns a corner, momentum starts building very fast.
It can't be denied that the market has been fairly cool of late. Indeed across the whole Yorkshire and The Humber region, there were 19 per cent fewer sales in the first half of 2019 than in the same period of 2018. In Leeds, sales were 17.2 per cent down, so we've outperformed the regional market but that comes as no surprise given the change comes from a high base.
Landlords will have to approach this market cycle in a very different manner to the last one. The government has created a much less hospitable tax environment, particulalry the removal of mortgage interest tax relief. However, for any landlord willing to run their portfolio, however big, like a buiness they will find the competition from other less serious landlords has thinned dramatically.
It remains to be seen what twists and turns the next cycle has in store fo us, and indeed who will be the biggest winners. One thing is undoubtedly true though - those who work with a local expert who really understands the inner workings of the local market will always come out on top.
Looking to the present, more and more evidence is showing that the recovery is well underway. The reason people are acting quicker is to capture as much house price inflation as possible. At its pre-credit crunch peak in 2002, homes grew in value by 22 per cent per year equivalent to £40,000 per year, so the rewards of making a smart move speak for themselves.
There's quite a lot of hysteria in the press about the state of the housing market. Yet it's important to remember that it takes a long time for market 'events' to appear in the statistics and get picked up by the press. Take it from us, the next cycle is well underway, and people who move soon stand to gain the most.
Click September 2019.pdf for the full newsletter
Published: 11/07/2019 Last Updated: 11/07/2019 14:57:39 Tags: Leeds Property Investment
The rental market in Leeds is very robust. Rising capital values have led to moderate yield compression but nothing which would lead a professional landlord to alter their strategy. In some areas, yields have strengthened as rents have outstripped price inflation.
Over the last couple of years, the rental market in the UK has been levelling out. Whereas a few years ago, the best opportunities for landlords were in London other areas have started to see increasing rental yields as the number of people choosing to rent instead of buy continues to grow. In Leeds the average yield across all property types is 6.2 per cent.
Not all landlords are investors with large property portfolios; some are accidental landlords - people whose decision to rent their property is an action of circumstance, rather than design. One example is homeowners who use 'Let to Buy' to purchase a new home. 'Let to Buy' mortgages are aimed at those who would like to buy a new home but may not meet regular mortgage requirements. They receive a mortgage based on the rental percentage of their current home on the condition that the buyer will occupy the new property.
There are several factors landlords need to take into account before purchasing a buy-to-let property. Renters can be different ages, but the majority are young professionals who are unable to buy their own home. Young professionals often prefer to live closer to transport stations and local amenities so they can have a shorter commute.
The rental market is only going to expand further here in the long term, with predictions suggesting it will grow by a third by 2030. All signs suggest that the only way is up. If you are interested in buying a property as an investment or would like to know how much your current home is worth in the rental market, please pop into our office for a friendly chat. We are looking forward to hearing from you.
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Following in depth analysis of our listings, our results, and by mystery shopping, over a period of 8 months, Property Academy in conjunction with Rightmove have awarded us as one of the very best Estate Agents in the country. The results will be published in the Best Estate Agent Guide 2020.
Read our congratulatory letter here
Published: 01/06/2019 Last Updated: 13/06/2019 17:03:45 Tags: House Prices Leeds
What a year it’s been for the Leeds property market so far. The amount of positive sentiment we’re picking up from buyers and sellers who visit the branch every day confirms that this part of the country is better insulated from the cold spell being experienced in some other parts of the UK market.
It didn’t take long before we started to see why people have been so positive. Data from the Land Registry shows that prices rose by 14.8 per cent over the last 3 years and now sit 140.5 per cent higher than they did in 2000. For context, that means that the average Leeds home has increased by £6,700 per year over that period.
But does this mean that the market has peaked? Not by a long shot. In fact, we think that the Leeds property market has a lot of steam left in it. The reason is simple; every market is underpinned by supply and demand. Here the supply is made up of a very high-quality housing stock, with a manageable amount of new build. The demand side, which is essentially all the lovely people who want to live here, is diverse, motivated and growing.
So we have lots of reasons to be confident that upward pressure on prices will continue and our market will go from strength-to-strength. If you’re thinking about making your next move in our area, make sure you give yourself the inside track, and the best way to do that is to use the help of a local market expert.
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There are few things in life that you can trust more to enrich your family than the property they live in. While this is true in terms of the memories it creates and the special moments it hosts, it's also true in terms of cold, hard material gain.
Since 2000, the average Leeds home has increased in price by 140.5 per cent. The best performing property type has been terraced properties which have increased by 167.5 per cent, equivalent to £6,900 per year. The reason this particular type of home has outperformed the rest is down to a number of factors, but in essence it’s simply down to this being the home of choice for Leeds residents.
For anyone who has ever spent much time here, the attractions are fairly obvious. A great balance of first-rate housing stock, solid transport accessibility and ready access to the amenities we need the most. It is these factors which explain why our area has outperformed the national market during this period of cooling which has been felt in many parts of the country.
The popularity of Leeds as a place to live is unlikely to diminish any time soon. If you’re considering buying or selling in this area, now is the ideal time. There are great opportunities for buyers and sellers in every corner of the market. As long as you work with a local market expert, you’re destined to win big.
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A key part of our approach is how we complement our unrivalled knowledge of local opportunities with a firm grasp of market movements. We do this by regularly looking at various property-related statistics that are available to us. The most important source is the Land Registry, which records all home sales and tells us what's happening to sales rates and price levels.
The chart within the article illustrates a very good reason to be happy. Long-term house price growth in the area has been strong, with the average rate of growth since 2000 sitting at an admirable 9.5 per cent. The broad base of the market and the solid fundamentals unperpinning it mean we expect this to continue in the medium and long term.
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Imagine having fewer rooms to clean, cheaper bills topay and spending less on your home each month. There was a time when downsizing was the reserve of older people once their children had flown the nest. However, today people do it for many reasons such as those related to personal finances, priorities and lifestyle choices. But what does this mean in the context of our area*?
Let's start off with the basics - how much cash could you free up? In our area*, the average two bed costs £144,150, three beds cost £180,000 and four beds cost £205,000. In crude terms, this means that each room a homeowner sacrifices could free up around £30,000 - useful if you are thinking about retirement or if your circumstances change.
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Published: 17/01/2019 Last Updated: 17/01/2019 14:42:39 Tags: Leeds Housing Market
How the Leeds housing market has changed in 20 years
Published: 17/12/2018 Last Updated: 19/12/2018 12:11:46 Tags: Christmas Opening Hours 2018
We're closing at 4pm on Friday 21st December. We wil resume normal opening hours on 2nd January 2019.
If you're a tenant and wish to report a repair request, including emergencies please do this via our online system which can be found here: https://dwellleeds.fixflo.com/. Emergencies will be responded to promptly as normal during the holidays.
We wish you a fantastic Christmas and a Happy New Year!
There will be mince pies, tea, coffee, and Bailey’s provided to whet your festive whistle with!
We’ll be donning our finest Christmas jumpers and we invite you to wear yours too if you want to (although this isn’t required).
We’re putting on a prize for the best Christmas jumper - we’ll donate £100 to a charity of the winners choice!
Please only bring canned food and unwanted clothes - regrettably we won't be able to donate other items such as electrical or furniture.
All are welcome and there is no need to register, just turn up!
It’s Airedale House, 423 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, LS4 2EW. There is a large carpark next to the building (the one next door to Asda and the new Starbucks). We’ll be on the ground floor, just head down the corridor and you’ll find us. We hope to see you then!
Is it worth it?
To answer this question let’s look at the cost of a typical eviction, as well as the likelihood of needing to make a claim. You should also ask yourself what you would do if your tenant stopped paying and they won’t move out. If the tenant refuses to leave, you will need an eviction order from the courts before you can remove them. That means following a convoluted legal process which takes a number of months. During this time the rent may remain unpaid, and you would usually have a mortgage to pay. If you can’t afford to the pay the mortgage without the rent for a period of time, what would be the consequences? That may mean repossession and even bankruptcy. That would mean you wouldn’t be able to get any sort of loan or any credit for 6 years. Not even a mobile phone contract or credit card, let alone another mortgage.
According to Shelter, when you include the time for a Section 21 notice to expire, the average eviction process from start to finish takes 7-8 months. This will also depend on how busy the courts are at any given time. In general they are fairly under resourced and things often take longer than you might think. It is not a quick process and it is usually very stressful, particularly if you used to live in the property or it was your family home (rather than purely a buy to let). You would then need to consider the legal costs of a Solicitor working on the case for you. Then there’s court costs to factor in.
If we consider that, according to the 2018 Homelet rental index, the average monthly rent in the UK is £928 then that’s £928 x 7.5 = £6960 in likely rent arrears. When you add in the legal and court costs you could be looking at around £9000 as a cost to remove the tenant. Then when you get the property back it may need some refurbishment work. It’s not hard to see that an overall cost in this scenario, the costs could easily be more than £13,000! Even for a very low rent property, the costs are likely to be in excess of £5000.
How likely is it that this will happen to me?
Rent arrears in private rented usually account for 10% of all renters taking into account rent arrears of any level. But this number does vary over time depending on a number of economic factors including unemployment rates, inflation, the cost of living, and whether salaries are increasing or decreasing. Usually tenants that fall behind with their rent don't get into severe arrears and their reasons are usually losing a job or having a change in their circumstances meaning they can't pay the rent temporarily. Often they will move out before running up heavy arrears.
Severe rent arrears usually accounts for around 2-3% of private renters, although again this figure can vary. This is where the big problem lies for landlords. This can be those who can't or won't pay the rent, and at the same time refuse to move out. This is a nightmare situation, unless there is Rent Guarantee in place to cover this possibility.
We have a Landlord who has 5 properties with us. A few years ago he had a bad tenant that stopped paying and simply refused to pay or to move out. An eviction followed and the overall result was a loss of around £10,000 to the Landlord and a great deal of stress and anxiety over a period of around 7 months. Since then this Landlord refuses to hand over the keys to any new tenant without a Rent Guarantee policy in place first. It's easy to see why!
Most Landlords tend not to take out Rent Guarantee as they see it is just another expense and they seem prepared to take the risk. The risk being around 1/10 for any rent arrears, and maybe 1 in 40 for serious rent arrears. It would be a shame if Landlords were to only see the benefit of this product after there was a problem. If you have several properties or if you rent out properties for long enough, chances are you are going to encounter a problem like this sooner or later. Is it really worth the risk?
How much does it cost and how do I get it?
Most insurers offering Rent Guarantee only deal with Letting/Managing Agents, rather than with Landlords directly. The managing agent becomes the policy holder and deals with the claim on behalf of the Landlord.
In order for tenants to qualify for Rent Guarantee, they will need to pass the referencing process carried out most often by the insurers themselves. Clearly they won’t offer a policy to tenants with high risk profiles who are unlikely to be able to meet their requirement to pay the rent!
Dwell Leeds offer Rent Guarantee as well as a range of other fantastic benefits to Landlords built into the their Premium Management Service. This serviced is designed to give Landlords complete peace of mind as well as providing a passive income from their rental properties. Under this service the Landlord pays a slightly higher Letting and Management Fee to help us to cover the cost of the policy.
In the event of a claim, which is made once the tenant is 30 days in arrears the Landlord pays zero excess and the insurers Solicitors will take over the process leaving no additional costs for the Landlord. The Landlord will continue to receive the rent every month until the tenant is evicted.
Call us today if you would like to know more.
Published: 07/11/2018 Last Updated: 07/11/2018 09:40:01 Tags: Property Sales In Leeds
What about terraces, semi's, and detached houses?
Are small properties more popular than large ones?
How long do these properties take to sell, and how long would mine likely take to sell?
What's changed since last year?
Is the market better or worse than it was a year ago?
Let's have a look....click here to read the rest of this article
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Warnings have been made about the possibility of a fall the pound, particularly against the Euro, and rising inflation. Worst of all, the governor of The Bank Of England, Mark Carney suggested that in a worse case scenario, the property market could lose up to a third of it's value! Putting that into some context, this would make the property crash significantly worse than that of the financial crises of 2008 where property values fell by an average of 18%.
However, we need to consider that a fall of this scale this is very unlikely, and the press in true style jumped all of this headline in a sort of sensationalist rehash of what was termed "Project Fear". Most experts agree a no deal or hard Brexit is likely to have some negative effect on property prices, although it is likely to be far less significant.
Many of the conditions that created the financial crises of 2007-2008 don't exist in today's market. A much more regulated banking sector has prevented irresponsible lending. Affordability measures for lending are much stricter now lending is judged much more closely than on affordability rather than income meaning more controlled and stable financial environment.
The triggers of increased cost of trade, inflation, unemployment, and net migration will have a knock on effect to the housing market which is also likely to result in lower volumes of transactions (the number of property sales) and increased uncertainty. This means more people are likely to stay put for now, watch and wait.
To read the rest of the this article, please click here
Massive bail-outs of financial institutions and other palliative monetary and fiscal policies were employed to prevent a possible collapse of the world financial system.
The crisis was nonetheless followed by a global economic downturn, sometimes referred to as the Great Recession. The European debt crisis, a crisis in the banking system of the European countries using the euro, followed later.
Stock markets world wide dropped and housing markets followed. Housing markets often follow major stock market cycles as the knock on effects are played out with property being much more illiquid than most other assets. Unemployment levels increased, evictions and repossessions rates soared.
So what happened to UK property prices?
The picture varied across the UK but the average fall according to Nationwide was 15.9%. The highest recorded fall was in Northern Ireland at a massive 34.2% and the lowest being Scotland at 8.1%. By the middle of 2008 property sales volumes had halved to their usual level as confidence levels hit rock bottom.
So what about Leeds property prices?
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Large terraced properties of 5-10 bedrooms categorise many of the streets and Landlords have attracted groups of students to fill them. But things have gradually changed over the past 10 years. Many purpose-built apartment blocks aimed at students have appeared in and around the city centre. These are often pod style flats with a number of rooms in each flat having en suite bathrooms and shared kitchens. Bills and wifi are included for added convenience. Continued re-generation of the city centre has added to its appeal with new shopping centres, restaurants, shops, and bars springing up faster than you can even notice.
This trend for purpose built student accommodation is not limited to Leeds. In fact every major city in the UK has seen many of these developments, which are often known as ‘Build To Rent schemes’, over the same time frame.
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She paid £134,000 early in 2015. Upon studying the comparable sales in today’s market, I could see the range was likely to around £170,000 - £180,000 now. My thought was ‘Wow, that was a great buy!’. Although not looking to sell now, this shows an increase in value of up to 28% in 3 and a half years, which is a very significant up lift in such a short time frame! Researching further I found that the average price for this postcode had increased by 26% over the past 5 years.
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In 1996, she purchased the property on Woodside Terrace for just £28,500. The average value of for a house on the street was £30,320.
Fast forwarding a few years…. between 2010 and 2012 sales on the street recorded an average price of £114,750 - an increase of 402% within 16 years. The rental yield at this time on Woodside Avenue was 4.92% (an average of £470pcm).
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When we put this to the test, we found that Burley currently has an average property value of around £166,000 with the average salary being £25,203. This is a respectable ratio of 1 to 6.59. We tested this against our other local postcodes.
To read the read of this article, please click here
Have you really got your numbers right?
When looking at your investment numbers you will generally have a spreadsheet which totals up all of your costs, and then all of your income. Basic calculations of income against costs will give you your investment numbers - yield, ROI, cash flow etc. When you compare these to buy to lets your eyes will widen and your heart will start to beat a bit faster. But don’t get too carried away yet. Most people under estimate their costs at this stage. The greatest margin for error here is your refurb cost. Even if your trusted builder has priced up the job, even his experience can’t tell him what he has yet to find. You will need a contingency figure here. 10% would usually cover it, but 20% would be prudent. The next thing investors are under estimating at the moment here is voids. If your voids contingency looks like just 10%, you may need to think again! Which leads me on to me next point.
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HMO’s have always been popular for investors seeking high yields but recently we have seen interest skyrocket from investors.
Why is that?
There’s a number of reasons, I’ll explain a few.
- The ‘Section 24’ tax changes. The government are taking away the tax break investors and landlords used to get by off setting their mortgage payments against tax. This includes interest, capital repayments, and finance costs. This began to be phased out in 2017-2018 and by 2020-2021 none of these costs will be tax deductable.
- Stamp duty hike for investors. From April 2016 the government have increased the rate of SDLT on property purchases by 3% (where the property isn’t being used as your only home and residence, i.e on all rental property).
- The rise of property investment training companies. This is big business with day courses selling for around £500 and weekend courses selling for around £1500. The big training companies teach various property investing strategies, including HMO’s as one of their main ones.
- High entry price and low returns in the south east and London. High returns and low entry price in the north. Lots and lots of cash is coming from the south are investors head up the M1 to benefit from this!
Kirkstall covers a slightly larger geographic area but Burley has a higher concentration of houses. Each have a similar number of homes at around 5000 each. Burley is closer to the city centre and is known for its traditional Leeds style terraced properties. Kirkstall is slightly farther away from the city centre in a north westerly direction travelling along the A65/Kirkstall Road, and has more semi detached properties. For these reasons Burley tends to attract a younger population and Kirkstall tends to attract more families.
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Published: 08/08/2018 Last Updated: 17/10/2018 11:32:26 Tags: Buy To Let In Leeds
This is probably the most common question I get asked by investors. It’s usually a telephone enquiry from someone we don’t know who has found us on google. They want short cuts and they want it fast.
Whilst it’s great for me to engage with new people, this is a question that can frustrate me on multiple levels.
Firstly, there is no right or wrong answer. It entirely depends what you are trying to achieve. Each area has its specific pros and cons. Some areas are better for capital growth, some for cash flow.
Which is most important to you?
Some areas attract professionals, some families, some students. What kind of tenant are you looking for? Are you looking for high yields, or is a long term pension pot more important to you? What is your risk profile?
Not only that, what works now in one location might not work in the same location in 2 years time.
Let me give you an example...
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Should I go for yield (or cash flow) or capital growth?
I get this question a lot. In fact it’s one of the most asked questions I do get. The most common chestnuts being ‘Where do I buy’ or ‘What do I buy?’. If I had a pound for every time I had these…! (I’ll cover these in a separate blog, read on!). The answer is – it depends.
You’ll need to be clear on a few things before we get going and buying the first property we see that we like the look of!
What are you trying to achieve? Why are you investing in property in the first place? What are your long term goals? What are you going to do with the cash flow?
We need to understand what your strategy is first. And if you don’t have one, you need to get one! Don’t spend any money until you have got this nailed.
Let me illustrate with a couple of examples.
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Published: 25/07/2018 Last Updated: 17/10/2018 11:15:08 Tags: Flats In Leeds
Flats in Leeds generally rent very well and they do get healthy yields. As usual location is key. For example. flats in the city centre - whether they be 1 bed or 3 beds - let like hot cakes and voids are pretty much non-existent. Maintenance costs are generally low and depending on the level of rent, tenant calibre is generally high. They may attract young professionals, or possibly students depending on the location and proximity to their university. Flats therefore are generally a relatively easy investment. The other positive is that you can usually pick up flats for a decent price nowadays. Which leads me on to me next point, the price...
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- Removal of the “3 storey rule”. Previously a HMO license was required if the property had 3 storeys or more (with 5 ore more unrelated sharers from 2 or more households). Going forwards, 2 storey semi detached properties, and flats will become licensable if let in this way to multiple non family occupants
- Set a minimum room size of 6.52m squared in line with the existing overcrowding standard
Last month the government approved the plans to remove the “3 storey rule” under the Statutory Instruments 2018 No. 221, “The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 which comes into force from the 1st October 2018. There will be no grace period as had previously been thought.
Clarification on minimum room sizes is still to be announced.
The change applies where a property of any number of stories (including flats and semi detached properties) is let to 5 or more unrelated sharers (i.e. where the tenants are not 1 family unit). It applies to both joint and several tenancies (1 group AST), or individual room tenancies alike.
Both ARLA and the RLA have aired their disapproval and concerns over the changes. These concerns include:
- Concern over lack of housing for low income tenants where restrictions are put on renting smaller rooms
- Removal of much needed accommodation
- Rent increases for other rooms within properties having smaller rooms that can no longer be let
- Councils being under resourced to be able to manage the new changes
- No grace period as previously announced
15th February 2018
Dwell Leeds has won the Feefo Gold Service award, an independent seal of excellence that recognises businesses for delivering exceptional experiences, as rated by real customers.
Created by Feefo, Trusted Service is awarded only to those businesses that use Feefo to collect genuine ratings and reviews. Those that meet the high standard, based on the number of reviews they have collected, and their average rating, are awarded. A badge of honour, this accreditation remains unique, as it is based purely on the interactions with verified customers. As all reviews are verified as genuine, the accreditation is a true reflection of a business’ commitment to outstanding service.
Dwell Leeds met the criteria of collecting at least 50 reviews between January 1st 2017 and December 31st 2017, with a Feefo service rating of between 4.5 and 5.0.
Jon Graham at Dwell Leeds commented: “It’s a real honour to receive this award from Feefo. To be recognised for delivering exceptional experiences to our customers is a great achievement. We’ve been working hard to ensure our customers receive the best service possible, and being able to listen, understand and respond to their needs has enabled us to improve our offering in 2017. We’re looking forward to another successful year ahead.”
Speaking on this year’s award, Andrew Mabbutt, CEO at Feefo, commented: ‘The Trusted Service award has always been about recognising those companies that go the extra mile. Once again, we have seen many incredible businesses using Feefo to its full potential, to provide truly memorable experiences for their customers – and rightly being awarded with our most prestigious accreditation. I look forward to the continual success of the businesses that work in partnership with Feefo throughout 2018.’
Feefo is a ratings and reviews, and customer analytics platform that provides the tools to collect genuine, purchase-verified reviews on behalf of over 4,000 businesses. Feefo ensures that all feedback is authentic, by matching it to a legitimate transaction; this is in order to increase consumer confidence, and combat the rising issue of fake reviews.
Feefo is a global reviews and customer analytics solution to boost business & build trust. Feefo collects reliable customer feedback to deliver up to date insights so businesses and consumers can make better decisions. Feefo does this on behalf of 4,000 companies, providing reviews and customer analytics for more than 5,000 websites. Clients include Expedia, AXA, Next, The White Company, Moss Bros, Notonthehighstreet.com & Tepilo.
For more information please visit: www.feefo.com
Published: 08/02/2018 Last Updated: 09/02/2018 17:20:02 Tags: Property Manager
Do you want to join Leeds most exciting Lettings & Estate Agency...?
The person we are looking for will have a great attitude and be naturally enthusiastic. This is a challenging people job which demands excellent communication skills with a highly porfessional manner and a first class service ethic. They’ll have the ability to be persuasive, influential and firm.
The successful candidate will head up Property Management and will look after each of our tenancies from start to finish. Their role will include inventories, check ins, property inspections, maintenance, check outs and deposit returns.
- Role: Property Manager
- Position: Full time, permanent (subject to Probation Period)
- Salary: Competitive
- Holiday: 31 days including bank holidays
- Start date: February/March 2018
If you’re the person we’re looking for, other similar companies will want you too. So why choose us over them? Here’s why….
- We’re a modern, forward-thinking property agency not a stuffy, stuck-in-their ways High Street Estate Agent
- We’re take personable approach in everything we do rather than hiding behind a corporate logo
- We’re innovative and unique in the work that we do
- We don’t wear shiny suits
- We believe in work-life balance. We work hard during work hours and play hard during home time!
- We’re a small team that enjoy each other’s company. We’ve got each other’s backs no matter what!
- We train and develop our staff and believe in continual never ending personal development and learning
- We do everything possible to help our team members to achieve their goals, both in their career and in their personal lives
If you know someone in particular that would be a natural fit, please share this with them or contact us here
Published: 20/12/2017 Last Updated: 20/12/2017 10:56:32 Author: JG Tags: Christmas Opening Hours
Friday 22nd December - open until 16:00
Saturday 23rd December - Monday 1st January - closed
Tuesday 2nd January - normal hours resume (09:00-17:30 every weekday and 10:00-14:00 every Saturday)
We will continue to monitor emails and respond to urgent enquiries during the holiday period.
If you are a tenant and you're going away for the holiday, please read this blog for details first.
If you have an emergency, please contact our emergency number by SMS quoting details of the issue to 07966 662971.
Have a very Merry Christmas and we look forward to speaking to you in the New Year!
There are 2 important things to remember:
- This tax is avoidable!
- Failure to follow the rules could result in a hefty fine!
A little known fact - your tenants could also be fined!
If your property is let privately it is your tenant’s responsibility to withhold 20% of the rent and pay this over to HMRC quarterly. The only exception is to tenants paying rent of less than £100.00 per week.
Either way, your tenants must complete an annual tax return declaring how much rent they have paid - the fine for filing an incorrect annual return is £3,000.00!!!
Tenants have 30 days from the start of the tenancy to register in the Non-Resident Landlord scheme. They must keep records of rent paid and any correspondence regarding expenses, such as repairs paid for on behalf of the Landlord, for 4 years.
If you use a Letting Agent there is no lower rent limit so the Agent will withhold tax for all Non-Resident Landlords until an authorisation code is obtained.
Rent is £750.00 per month. Between 1st July and 30th September there is a roof repair paid for by your tenant, which comes to a total of £220.00. Your tenant must calculate the amount of rent due to you, minus the repairs, which is 750.00 x 3 = 2250.00, minus 220.00 = 2030.00. The amount of tax due to HMRC at the end of September is 20% of £2,030.00, which is £406.00.
So what can you do?
Don’t worry, you don’t have to limit your time abroad in order to avoid paying this tax. All you have to do is complete and return 1 form to HMRC, it's called an NRL1i form, which you can obtain from HMRC. Or, to save you the trouble, here it is. HMRC usually takes a few weeks to process the form and send you and your Letting Agent your NRL authorisation code. As soon as this is received, they no longer have to deduct this tax from your rental payments.
Get the NRL1i form here
The way to think about the NRL1i form is that it's a declaration to HMRC that you are earning rental income in the UK, although you are based abroad. Provided you let them know, the tax on your rental income remains the same. You would simply complete your tax return at the end of the year declaring your rental income. If you do not let HMRC know that you are residing overseas, there could be serious tax implications for you.
If you know any other overseas Landlords that might benefit from this article, please share it with them now.
Christmas is just around the corner and we can almost hear the sound of Santa's bells. But before you leave your home to visit family for the holidays, we have some top tips to share with you to ensure you don't have any issues while you're away...
1. Update emergency contact details
Make sure that you know how to get in touch with us in the event of an emergency. Our office will be closed Friday 22nd December at 4pm, and will reopen on Tuesday 2rd January 2017 at 9am. Emails will not be monitored during this time. In case of emergency only, out of office hours, please send us an SMS to 07966 662971 with your name, address, phone number and the full details of the problem. If the issue is deemed to be an emergency, our Out of Hours Team will call you back to arrange the necessary action. Please note this number is for emergencies only and you may be charged an small administration fee for incorrect use.
Non-urgent repair requests should be emailed to us in the usual way and will be actioned as quickly as possible upon our return on the 2nd January.
2. How to avoid burst pipe disasters
It is essential that heating is left on low and us not switched off. Pipes can freeze and then burst during the cold weather and this can lead to major leaks causing much damage to property and your contents. To ensure this does not happen, we kindly request you leave your heating on low and constant over the winter weeks when you are not home. If damage is caused due to your failure to do this, you may be liable for associated costs - so it is vital you do so.
3. Know thy boiler
Burst pipes and other potential problems can be prevented by ensuring that the heating remains on low during cold spells. Be sure to know how your heating system works. If you require a copy of your manuals, these are available on line (by searching the make and model) or from Dwell during office hours. If there is any issue with your heating or hot water (boiler) not working properly, the first thing to do before calling the emergency number is to check the pressure. This should be set between 1 and 2 bar on the gauge. Pressure drops are by far the single most common problem with heating and hot water. If the pressure has dropped to around 0, you can top this up yourself by opening the value for the filing loop and increasing the pressure. Ensure you know how to do this correctly by reading the manual before attempting to do so. If you can’t find a user manual, please google the make and model number for details.
4. Know thy stop tap
It is essential you know where to find the stopcock in the event of a plumbing emergency. Please make familiarise yourselves with the stopcock location if you do not know where it is. If there is a leak, the stopcock will need to be turned off quickly to avoid damage to the property, so it is important that you know where it is.
If you are going away over the Christmas period (or, indeed, at any time during the year), you might consider having a lighting timer system fitted. This can be an effective way of reducing the chances of burglary. Always ensure all doors and windows are locked securely too and alarms are set if provide.
5. Know thy fusebox
Ensure you know the location of your fuse box. If an electical itme, sockets, or lights stop working suddenly it is usually due to a tripped switch on the fusebox. Check this first and reset the switch. You might also consider leaving a torch in an obvious location (for example the kitchen) in order to make sure you can find it in the event that a fuse is blown or a switch tripped.
6. Avoid the dreaded condensation
Condensation can damage paintwork and fixtures and fittings, and can be a problem during the colder winter months. This can be seen as black mould on cold surfaces which are poorly ventilated, and is often confused with damp. Make sure that you keep rooms properly ventilated, and that an even heated temperature is maintained throughout the property, in order to reduce condensation.
7. Stay covered
Make sure your contents insurance policy is up to date and it hasn't expired. This policy should cover you should the worst happen - fire, theft, loss, or accidental damage, In addition, under the terms of your tenancy agreement, you are required to advise us if you are leaving the property for more than 14 days. Please send us an email to let us know if you are going away for 2 weeks or more. This often affects the terms of your landlords insurance policy and may also affect your contents insurance policy. If you need a contents insurance quote, contact us here and we'll get you a great quote.
Thank you for your assistance in looking after your home this Christmas!
We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2018!
The Team at Dwell Leeds
The person we are looking for will be very positive, passionate, energetic, pro-active, and will have a great attitude.
This new team member will lead our property sales with a strong focus on new business generation, as well as arranging and carrying out viewings, negotiating sales and lets, and managing sales and lettings progression. The candidate will have a confident, persuasive, and professional manner.
We are looking for a minimum of 2 years experience in a similar role.
- Role: Sales Negotiator/Valuer.
- Position: Full time, permanent (subject to Probation Period)
- Salary: Competitive
- Commission: Uncapped
- Company car: Included
- Holiday: 29 days including bank holidays
- Mobile phone: Included
- Start date: December 2017 - February 2018
August 2016 saw the last change when there was a cut from 0.5% to an all-time record low base rate of 0.25%.
The Bank Of England estimates that almost two million mortgage holders will not have experienced an interest rate rise since taking out their mortgage.
The rise in the base rate was seen largely as a measure to control the effects of increasing inflation.
Experts predict the change to be the start of further steady incremental increases in the interest rate that are still to come.
Savvy borrowers have been fixing their mortgages to combat these effects.
Yesterday the Financial Times reported a record rise to Buy To Let rates. According to the FT, the average 2 year tracker has risen by 0.2 percentage points to reach 2.43% since the hike on 2nd November. This is the largest increase recorded on the website moneyfacts.co.uk.
Forecasts of further gloom follow in the wake of the criteria changes for portfolio landlords, on top of increased taxation due to ‘Section 24’ and the removal of mortgage relief, and the 3% hike to stamp duty on new property purchases.
To offset these effects, and to avoid getting caught up in further increases to mortgage interest rates, we recommend speaking to an expert now.
We work with a excellent independent Mortgage Broker that specialises in both Buy To Let and residential mortgages, and who has access to the very best rates available on the market today.
Not only that, our Mortgage Broker has a fantastic limited time only offer exclusively for customers of Dwell Leeds!
If you would like to arrange a FREE consultation and to see how you could benefit, request a call back now
The nights are drawing in, the temperatures are plummeting, and you are probably thinking that no one in their right mind would be looking to sell their home at this time of year.
In the lead up to Christmas, many buyers put their search on hold in favour of completing the Christmas shopping, staying warm and dry and generally winding down for the end of the year.
But what about the period just after Christmas? Most people don’t return to work until after the new year and apart from polishing off the remainder of the Christmas turkey, they have a lot of time on their hands to think and plan.
With days and days without the stress of work, people start to get things in order, set new goals and get ready for the year ahead. Many set New Year’s Resolutions, which often include moving home.
Before you know it they will be reaching for the phone or tablet and heading to Rightmove to begin their search…
With a huge number of potential buyers browsing available properties, this is a prime opportunity to market your home to the many motivated buyers beginning their search. It is therefore important that your property is visible, with a great advert to boot.
In fact, Rightmove data shows a 26% rise in people searching Rightmove for properties from January – March when compared with October – December. This surge in interest is a prime opportunity for you to take advantage of when selling your home.
But wait, this opportunity doesn’t end here….
This is because most vendors are waiting for Spring to list their property. This means there are less properties available for buyers in December and January. This means less competition for you!
How You Can Capitalise
At this point, you’re probably thinking that producing your great property ad takes time and a lot of effort. And we’d agree!
So, let’s talk logistics……. You’ve got family round for Christmas and tidying for photographs is a stress you can do without. Not only that, your agent wants to visit to measure up and a contractor needs to visit to carry out an Energy Performance Certificate. Nightmare!
The answer…… remove the stress and get it all done before the festive period arrives. Christmas is a time to enjoy in peace with your family and I’m certain that no one dreams of a Christmas tidying up after the family so their agent can come round and take photos. So why not avoid this inconvenience? By instructing an agent to prepare the advert in late November/early December, you can enjoy Christmas safe in the knowledge that you are ready to hit the ground running after the festivities are finished and to catch the surge in buyer interest.
If you are thinking of selling your home and want to take advantage of the busy New Year period – we’re on hand to help. If you have a property you would like to sell in the New Year and you need a great Estate Agent in Leeds, give us a call and get ahead of the game now.
You pull up outside, park up, get your bags and duck out of the rain into your home putting the lights on as you get through the front door. But what’s this? It’s freezing! It’s not warm or snuggly. What’s going on? The radiators are cold, but they shouldn’t be! You run the hot tap. Cold…. Still cold……Still COLD………!
I’ve got no heating and hot water!
It’s 6.30pm and you fear getting this fixed tonight is not going to easy.
Whilst your boiler has been merrily working well all summer long, it suddenly decides that it’s just too tired on these dark, cold, wintery days to bother doing its job anymore and has totally given up!!
So what do I do?
Well firstly - don’t panic!!
There is usually a really easy solution that you can action yourself now – no tools or expert knowledge required – but boy oh boy will you feel proud (and warm again!) once you have done it!!
So here goes…
First, you need to check the pressure on your boiler. Don’t worry – this isn’t as scary as it sounds!
Your boiler will have a dial or display on it showing how many “bar” the boiler pressure is set at.
It should be ideally between 1.5 bar and 2.0 bar. If it is lower than this, the boiler simply won’t fire up and you’ll be as cold as a snow man!
If you notice the pressure is lower than 0.5 bar, this is usually why the boiler has stopped working. It can’t operate with low or no pressure. It’s a bit like a car trying to run without any oil. The good news is that you can top the pressure up yourself easily!
There will usually be a small “tap” on the boiler that you can turn, that will allow water to run into the boiler to increase the pressure. Don’t worry here – this is designed for you to operate. You do not need specialist knowledge or a tradesman for this. The “tap” is usually plastic and usually black. It usually sits on a silver flexible hose and it’s usually beneath the boiler.
If you don’t see it straight away, or if there are more than 1 “tap” or valve, don’t worry.
Now all boilers are slightly different, so it’s best to find the instructions on how to top up the pressure on your boiler first. We advise Landlord's to leave the instructions for your boiler in the house for your reference so often these will be in a safe place close to the boiler, in a house file, or ina kitchen drawer for example. If you're a tenant that we look after, you can't find them and it's during office hours - give us a call and we'll be happy to help. If not search google for a copy of your user manual for your specific boiler which will show you exactly where this tap is. You’ll need the make and model of your boiler to allow you to find the right manual on line….and make sure you do not touch any moving parts until you are certain you are opening the right tap!
Once you have located the tap, open it up – you will hear water rushing in to the boiler – don’t worry, this is what you want to hear. Watch the pressure rise on the display and when it reaches between 1.5 and 2 bar, turn off the tap and leave it closed as it was before. Take care not to over pressurise the boiler here, don't go over 2.5 bar! If the pressure goes to high it could damage the boiler, so go steady. But don't worry - you can do this!
Following these simple steps should easily solve any simple pressure issues! Yeah!!
If there is still a warning light on the boiler, or if the heating or hot water still doesn’t come on right away, you may need to hit the “Reset” button. If you can’t see it, consult the manual again.
If these steps still don’t solve it, you may need an engineer to attend. (It is worth noting though that if when they do attend, they find it is just an issue with the pressure as already mentions, not only will you feel very silly (oops!!) but you may also be charged their call out fee as topping up the pressure is classes as a normal tenant like obligation, (similar to changing a light bulb – you don’t need an electrician to do it – you can be your own hero!!)
If an engineer is needed, and your property is managed by Dwell Leeds, then just call our office and the team will be able to assist in arranging an engineer. It will be helpful to have the boiler make and model to hand when you call. If it’s outside of office hours, you can consult your move in pack for the emergency number and get in touch. Please let us have your name, the property address, and the make and model number of the boiler so we can help you best.
Oh and one last little festive top tip for you….If you are going away over the holiday season, please make sure you don’t turn your heating off completely! Whilst we understand you may think this is a good idea to save a few pounds to spend on festivities by reducing your utility bills, its actually a really really bad idea!!
Let me explain why…
Frost protection in winter
**IMPORTANT** During the cold weather, the water in the pipes might freeze if they get really cold. The frozen water will then expand, crack the pipes and then when the water does start running again, the water escapes through these cracks and leaks ALL OVER your property! Total and utter NIGHTMARE!!! And flooding your home and all its contents will not be a great start to the new year when you return home! And your Landlord will not be pleased!!!
So please please take care and always leave your heating on low and NEVER turn it completely off!!
We are hopeful this information is useful and allows you to stay warm and cold and flood free over the winter period!
If you like this blog and think your friends just might need some cosy winter advice too, why not share it – we always know that one person who is always FREEEEEZING! So be a great mate and spread the word!
Published: 08/11/2017 Last Updated: 08/11/2017 15:58:48 Author: JG Tags: Landlords
If you’re a Landlord and you’re managing your own property/properties, could I ask you a question? Here it is...
ARE YOU CRAZY?
I don’t mean to be rude, but I really believe you are. But I also believe you don't know it yet. Here are some reasons why.
Legislation has gone through the roof! Your liability is massive! There are pitfalls everywhere that you probably don’t know about. Bear traps you’re walking into blind. You’re almost certainly breaking the law and not realising it. We see it all the time. If your tenant knows more about lettings legislation than you do, then you could be in trouble.
Our blog page covers some of these landlord pitfalls and how to avoid them, as well as changes in legislation to educate, inform, and spread awareness. Although covering them all is going to take a very long time! And you can’t afford to wait because getting it wrong can be very expensive!
But all of this aside – I’m here to tell you, you are not valuing your time properly! You can’t be. Because to do everything the government expects you to know and do would take you hours and hours every month. What is your hourly rate in your job? Even if you’re not working, do you really want the hassle and worry of getting it wrong? You can’t possibly have the time, energy, and processes in place to manage your tenancies effectively. You cannot focus on this and your career, family, hobbies, or a combination of these things if you’re worrying about all the things you need to do to comply with the law. Not without the stress, worry, and a lack of peace of mind. Unless of course you’re a full time landlord and this is your job. But if that’s the case, I’ve really got to question your sanity! Man, that’s a tough job. Believe me, I know.
It’s my belief that Landlords wanting to manage their own properties don’t see the issues that they will face given time. They don’t know what their responsibilities are, what can go wrong, or what the implications are for getting it wrong. It’s usually naivity – after all, you don’t know what you don’t know. But if it wasn’t for this, there are very very few landlords that would take this responsibility on. The ironic thing is that those new to being a Landlord are more likely to fall into this camp, and because of a lack of experience they’re the ones that are even more likely to have problems.
How do you know you are providing a safe environment for your tenant? What about gas and electrical safety, smoke and CO regs, legionella and the HSE, HHSRS, the De-Regulation Bill, deposit regs, the Immigration Act... Are you still with me? Do you know exactly what is required under each of these areas? It's hard enough for the professionals to keep up and remain compliant, and we do this all day! If this isn't your job, how are you going to manage all of this? Why would you choose to have this on your shoulders?
For the more experienced and full time Landlords out there - if you want to grow your property business, wouldn’t you be better focusing on sales rather than operations? In other words, wouldn’t you be better acquiring more properties with your time instead of managing tenants? Outsourcing the management to a company that is equipped to deal with it. It’s far more effective to spend your time focusing on the on the top line, not on cost saving. You do realise you can outsource all the time consuming, nitty gritty, the tie-you-in-knots paperwork, the tenant issues and disputes, the visits to the property, the contractors, the list goes on. It's stressful!
So what can you do about it?
You can get rid of all of this by using a company with the software, systems, technology, experience, knowledge, training, qualifications, accreditations, great customer reviews, insurance, time… A company that is set up to do all of this stuff for you. For just 10-12% of the rent? Wow! If that isn't really great value, I don't know what is!
Look, I know I’m biased. This sounds like scare tactics. It may even sound like preaching. If that’s the case, then I’m sorry.
But the truth is that I passionately believe this. I ask myself, "If I didn’t run a Letting Agency, would I attempt to manage my own tenants and properties..."?
...Not a chance! Nada. No way. I’d look for a Letting Agency that I know would do a great job to free up my time to spend on the important things in my life. Letting Agencies are everywhere, but great ones are hard to find. But they are there, and you can find them. And the value they add can change your life. Big statement I know, but it’s true.
Time is your most valuable asset. It's the only thing you can't get more of. Spend it on what you love. My guess is, it's not this.
I could be wrong of course and I’m interested to hear your thoughts and comments. Hit me up, let me know.
If you agree, hit share now.
In fact our research shows that most Landlords managing their own properties actually choose not to do them at all. The reason being that it’s a hassle, it’s time consuming, and they are busy with other things.
That’s completely understandable given the process. It is a hassle and it does take time.
If a tenancy isn’t renewed by a further fixed term agreement, and neither party serves notice, then the tenancy will roll onto a statutory periodic contract. This is of course fine, but there are hidden pitfalls with this method. Read on to find out what they are.
THE RENEWAL PROCESS GOES LIKE THIS
- Have a system that alerts to a renewal date coming up in future and allow time for correspondence with the tenant to establish if they wish to renew their tenancy, and if so, for how long. Given that statutory notice outside of a fixed term tenancy is 1 month’s notice from the tenant (before a payment date where the rent is paid monthly) and 2 month’s notice from a Landlord (before a payment date where the rent is paid monthly) the renewal correspondence would normally take place approximately 3 months from the end of the tenancy
- The Landlord would also want to decide whether to renew the tenancy, and if so, for how long.
- In order to make an informed decision it’s wise for the Landlord to visit the property to carry out a routine visit. This will help the Landlord to understand how the property is being looked after and to see if there are any repairs that need to be actioned that the tenant has not reported. It will also give the Landlord the opportunity to establish if the number of occupiers at the property is the same as what is expected. There are legal implications if the tenant is found to be subletting. Not only that the Immigration Act 2015 makes the Landlord legally liable for housing occupants that don’t have the legal right to reside in the country. There is a £3000 fine to the Landlord per illegal occupant.
- The Landlord should then check the current level against the current market rent for the property. Rents may have gone up or even down since the start of the previous tenancy period. If the market rent has gone up, then it may be worth negotiating an increase to the rent in line with market conditions
- If the rent is to be increased, the Landlord should serve a Section 13 notice at least 1 month before the end of the tenancy (from a payment date where the rent is paid monthly)
- The renewal paperwork can now be drawn up and sent out for signatures. Landlords should ensure that their AST’s are up to date and inclusive of recent changes to legislation
- The Landlord must issue the government’s How To Rent Guide (and be able to prove they issued it). If this is not done, the Landlord cannot legally serve a Section 21 notice. This means they cannot legally ask the tenant to leave the property. This could mean they will have to simply wait until the tenant wishes to leave, which could be months or many years down the line. Which is clearly a potentially very big problem.
- The Landlord needs to ensure the tenant has also signed the AST and both parties retain a signed copy
WHY BOTHER WITH THIS?
Given that it’s quite a convoluted process, why would Landlord’s choose to do this and not rely on statutory periodic contracts? Here’s why
- By carrying out inspections of the property to establish if the Landlord would choose to renew the tenants agreement, the Landlord will be able to see if the property is being looked after properly and it often helps to catch small maintenance issues before they turn into large ones. It’s quite common for tenants not to report maintenance issues that the Landlord should be aware of. Landlords expect that there isn’t a problem until one is reported, but often that is just not the case. For example condensation or a constantly dripping upstairs tap that gradually get worse and have knock on effects several months down the line. We know many instances where Landlords chose not to carry out renewals or inspections to find out the property needed a full refurbishment at the end of the tenancy at a cost of several thousands of pounds which greatly exceeds the deposit. This could have been avoided by following the above process
- The Landlord may discover the property is being sublet
- The Landlord may discover they are housing illegal immigrants and avoid a large fine and possible prison sentence
- The Landlord will ensure they are not leaving money on the table by charging market rate for their property
- Having organised the renewal early on in the process results in having a longer run up to re-letting. Having more time to advertise the property and find a new tenant often reduces void periods in between tenants.
- The Landlord will have the peace of mind that the tenant may not give 1 month’s notice at any time and will help them plan further ahead
- Some insurance policies will insist on fixed term tenancies
- Some buy to let mortgages will insist on fixed term tenancies
We know that tenancy renewals are valuable but they are also time consuming and complex. Getting it wrong can and does cost Landlords a fortune. Unfortunately we’ve seen it many many times and unfortunately we know we’ll see it many more times yet.
A good managing agent is set up to handle this process for their Landlord customers and they take care of it all for them.
If you’re a Landlord and you could use some assistance with the process, give us a call and we’ll see how we can help you best.
Having researched a number of Online Letting Agents, we thought we’d summarise the pros and cons of these types of agents to save you hours of research, and so you can make an informed decision on which type of Letting Agency suits your circumstances best.
- Modern and easy to use website
- Online chat
- Viewings can be booked online 24/7
- Cheaper entry price (usually 10-20% lower than local agents)
- Fixed fees
- Minimum service options
- Clear definitions
- Clear service options
- Sign terms online
- Local agent often available in your area
- The landlord is required to upload their own photos
- The landlord is required to write and upload their own detailed property description
- Viewings carried out by the agent are often not included but available as an additional add on (Landlords can expect to pay anywhere up to £300 extra!)
- Inspections are often not included in standard package
- Inventories are often not included in standard package
- No follow up on maintenance works
- Incomplete arrears service. An example being 2 phone calls and 2 letters only – if the arrears remain out standing after that no further action is taken
- Gas certificate is not carried out – just an email reminder is sent to the landlord! This is a legal requirement under Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
- Agents do not test smoke alarms. This is a legal requirement under the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations 2015
- No involvement in complex management issues
- Tenancy renewals often not included
- No rent reviews or rent increases at renewal
- Untrained call centre staff reading from scripts
- Impersonal centralised Property Management and Accounts centres
- No local offices to visit if there is a problem
- Customers unaware they are being provided a vastly reducing service compared with a full management service offered by local agents
Online Agents have a place in the market and offer a good solution for many landlords. However care needs to be taken when choosing as it’s not immediately obvious that the services by provided by each type of Letting Agency are simply not the same.
Online agents are good at illustrating what is included in their service, but often aren’t forth coming about what is not included. Landlords may be able to reduce cost by 20%, but may not also realise they may well be reducing service by 80% at the same time.
We believe online agents are a good option for landlords who understand all of the legal framework, compliance and the complexities of management and are fully up to speed with all the regulations. The landlord also needs to be hands-on and heavily involved in the letting and management of their property.
For those who want a hassle-free service that offers total peace of mind, we believe that a local agent offering a comprehensive management service would always be more appropriate, offering peace of mind along with a personal service.
If you have any queries about our management services, don't hesitate to get in touch.
Why use Section 21?
When finding a tenant, landlords often don’t consider what action would be required if they ever wanted to ask the tenant to leave – but it is a very important factor to bear in mind.
The quickest and easiest route for a Landlord wishing to regain possession of their property is by using Section 21 notice, as there is only a 2 month notice period.
However recent changes in legislation have made the process more complex and there a number of things every Landlord must know. Not understanding the new rules could mean that a Landlord could not get the property back, even if they wanted to. This could be absolutely disastrous for example in cases where the Landlord needs to sell, or where they had a problem tenant.
Even if a landlord was aware of how to serve the Section 21 Notice, they may not be aware of the steps they would have needed to take before getting to that stage.
7 Crucial Things Every Landlord Needs To Know
The 7 steps a Landlord has to take to ensure they can regain possession legally are as follows:
- Issuing the Department for Local Communities and Local Government’s ‘How To Rent Guide’ at the start of the tenancy. Proof of issue is required also.
- Issuing the Gas certificate at the start of the tenancy. Proof of issue is required also.
- Issuing the EPC at the start of the tenancy. Proof of issue is required also.
- Issuing Prescribed Information relating to the protection of the tenant’s deposit at the start of the tenancy. Proof of issue is required also.
- Registering the deposit - this is usually with TDS, My Deposits, or DPS.
- Serving the new Section 21 notice (from 1st October 2015). The new form replaces the previous Section 21(4)a and 21(4)b forms for tenancies beginning after 1st October 2015. The new Section 21 form can be used for tenancies pre dating the 21st October, but the old Section 21(4)a and 21(4)b forms cannot be used after this date.
- Maintenance requests need to be logged and adequately responded to within 14 days. This relates to the De-Regulation Act which seeks to clamp down on so-called retaliatory evictions which is the situation whereby the tenant complains about the condition of the property, and instead of seeking to resolve the issue, the landlord instead serves notice to quit on the tenant.
Other Ways To Get Possession
Possession of the property can be gained using a number of other grounds of the Housing Act, however a possession order must be granted first by a judge and the legal process takes around 5 months on average and it’s by no means guaranteed. The grounds of the Housing Act are said to be either mandatory or discretional, and therefore only mandatory grounds can be relied upon. However mandatory grounds are only given for serious breaches of tenancy, for example the tenant being at least 2 months in arrears (on the date of the hearing. This can be pursued under Section 8).
To be able regain a property, it is vital that the Section 21 rules are understood and adhered to by the letter. If not the Landlord would simply have to wait until the tenant decides they wish to move. That could be a few months, but it could also be 10 years! Getting this wrong could be extremely problematic. To ensure you don’t fall foul of ever-changing and increasingly complex legislation, and to ensure you can re-gain your property should you ever need to, we strongly advise that the property is managed by a Letting Agent that is fully compliant and an ARLA member who will be able to take care of all this for you as part of their Management Service.
If you would like to learn more about how a managing agent can provide more peace of mind, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Here is Leeds’ Article 4 area
The use class in question is a change from C3 (dwelling houses) to C4 (shared dwellings/HMO)
A common misconception is that you cannot be granted a change of use inside an article 4 area. This is incorrect but there are no guarantees on whether the planning department will accept the application for change of use.
We have written article about this which can be viewed here
Once you have established you can let your property as a HMO as far as planning is concerned, then you will need to apply for a HMO license from Leeds City Council.
To be granted a HMO license in Leeds, you will be required to meet various requirements that are set out by the council. These relate to a number of areas which are designed to properly address the suitability and safety of the property as a HMO.
The council define different categories of HMO’s so yours may be classed as either a Category A or Category B HMO, depending on how the property is to be used and who you plan to it to.
The areas that need to be addressed to meet the council’s HMO requirements include:
- Fire safety measures
- Storage space
- Number of bathrooms
- Washing and sanitary facilities
- Cooking facilities
- Room sizes
Whilst this seems complicated at first, once you have a copy of the council’s guidelines the task becomes easier. Once you have done 1 or 2 HMO conversions they will become straight forwards.
Whilst obtaining change of use for a HMO can be challenging, obtaining a license is generally seen as being fairly straight forwards, provided you have followed the specification and guidelines of the council. If you have then there is no good reason for the council to refuse a HMO license.
Commonly asked questions:
Can I get planning for change of use in an Article 4 area?
Yes, subject to a successful planning application, however the decision is certainly not guaranteed. Read more about this here
When should I apply for the HMO license?
Generally once you know you have planning consent to use the property as a HMO, and after the conversion works have been done
Can I let the rooms before I have applied for my HMO license?
If you have C4 planning consent, you can let the first 4 rooms without applying for the HMO license. You cannot let the 5th room until you have applied for the HMO license.
When will the HMO license by granted?
There is no set timescale for this but Leeds City Council will often grant the HMO license within 6 months of the application being made. The license will be granted subject to a set of conditions that must be met and maintained. Surprisingly, the license is usually granted without a HMO inspector visiting the property, however an inspector will visit the property at some stage to verify the property is as described in the application.
At the time of writing and in recent previous years, the HMO team are generally under resourced and it may take them up to 5 years before they can inspect the property. Following the inspection, if they find something that is not to their satisfaction they will give a notice to rectify the issue which must be actioned. The HMO license may be revoked and possible large fines, as well as even a prison sentence may be applicable where there is a serious breach of the license conditions.
Can I let the rooms before my HMO license has been granted?
Yes, provided you believe you have met the specification required AND you must have applied for the license before the 5th tenant moves in. We would advise obtaining receipt of application from the council before letting the 5th room.
What else do I need to know?
The person classed as being in control of the property, or the managing agent must go on a HMO course to ensure they understand their obligations. This is currently being run by the RLA.
Dwell Leeds are the professional HMO specialists in Leeds. If you have any questions, please get in touch and one of our HMO experts can help you.
Published: 03/10/2017 Last Updated: 03/10/2017 12:31:55 Tags: Article 4 Leeds
Outside of the article 4 area planning permission for change of use (C3 to C4) would not be required. This takes uncertainty out of the investment decision and makes the process simpler for you. It may also make lending easier for you.
Provided there is strong demand from tenants, investing in HMO's outside of Article 4 may be a good strategy for you. For that reason we would like to share the Article 4 map supplied by Leeds City Council.
The Article 4 areas covers all of inner Leeds running through Cookridge to the north east of Leeds, through Roundhay, Gipton, and down to Beeston to the south of Leeds. It run back up through Armley and Wortley, then through Bramley and up to Horsforth to the north of Leeds.
If you need a high resolution version of the map, get in touch today and we'll send one over to you.
If you need some advice on HMO investing in Leeds, we're specialists in this area. Get in contact today so we can help with any queries you may have.
The implementation of a tougher rental stress test by mortgage lenders at the start of the year, following a review of BTL underwriting standards by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), has the industry gearing up for phase 2 of the new rules. From the 30th of September, providers must carry out affordability on any providers who are classed as a portfolio landlord. By definition, a portfolio landlord is a borrower with four or more distinct mortgaged buy-to-let properties, either together or separately in aggregate.
Lenders will have to stress background portfolios and base lending decisions in the context of your entire “rental business”, in other words, they will take your entire buy to let property portfolio into account when making a lending decision. Your property experience, total mortgage borrowing, assets and liabilities, income, cash flow and how the lending sits within your existing borrowing will all be considered as a result.
Providers such as Paragon and Accord have already confirmed what their criteria will be moving forward, and will continue to support this market.
The increased regulations provide a great opportunity for professional landlords who understand the changes taking place in the industry, so having an expert mortgage broker who understands the BTL market can be a real advantage. The extra requirement will result in applications taking longer to process, so make sure your paperwork is in order upfront.
The documents lenders could ask for are as follows:
- Property portfolio spreadshee
- Business plan
- Cash flow forecasts
- Your last three months’ bank statements
- SA302s and submitted tax returns
- Income and expenditure statements
If you would like to discuss your re-financing options ahead of these changes, let us know and we'll connect you to our independent Mortgage Broker, Lee Langley.
From the 1st April 2018 there will be requirement for any privately rented properties to have a minimum energy performance rating of E detailed on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The regulations will apply for new lets and renewals after the 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies after 1st April 2020.
It will be unlawful to rent a property with an Energy Rating of F and G unless there is an applicable exemption (see below). Properties with an energy rating of F or G will be deemed to be substandard (unless an exemption exists) and the legislation prohibits landlords from letting substandard properties.
A civil penalty of £4000 will be charged for breaches of the legislation.
The rules apply to all AST’s in the England and Wales as well as regulated tenancies, protected tenancies, and assured agricultural tenancies. The scope also extends to all commercial properties.
No changes have been made to the provision for EPC’s which is a requirement for almost all (see below for exemptions) residential and commercial property that is either let or sold. New EPC’s are not required to be carried out and existing EPC’s are to be relied upon provided they are no more than 10 years old (at which point they must be renewed, which lasts for a further 10 year period).
Buildings currently exempt from EPC and MEES requirements
- Temporary buildings with a planned use of 2 years or less
- Protected buildings and monuments including some Listed buildings
- Residential buildings that are intended to be used for 4 months or less per year
- Stand alone buildings with a total usable area of 50 square metres or less
Exemption to reaching the minimum standard exist to Landlords where they can provide evidence for at least one of the following circumstances:
- The landlord requires consent from the tenant to make necessary improvements, and the tenant withholds that consent
- The landlord is required by a contractual or legislative obligation to obtain consent by a third party and such consent is withheld, denied, or given but with unreasonable conditions
- The Landlord has undertaken cost effect measures to make the improvements, but the energy rating remains below E
- The Landlord is unable to install cost effective measures without upfront costs because the funding entails Green Deal Funding and they or their tenants fail their credit checks
- There will be no requirement to install wall insulation, where the Landlord has obtained advice in writing from a suitably qualified person, that such installation would negatively impact the fabric or structure of the building
- If, in the opinion of Royal Institute Of Surveyors (RICS), measures to improve the energy rating sufficiently would cause the capital value of the property to fall by 5% or more. However only the measures causing the depreciation would be exempt from installation
- For an exemption to be recognised it must be notified to the PRS Exemptions Register which will be operated by the government. The Enforcement Authority will be entitled to request that Landlords provide them with the evidence for a claim that supports exemption.
Penalties, Reviews, and Appeals
The maximum cumulative penalty for a single offence is £5000. Fixed fee penalties may be charged for non compliance from either the local authority or from the PRS Exemptions Register as well as publication of non compliance.
A Landlord may request a review of the local authority’s decision to serve a notice. Local authorities must consider any representations made and all the evidence to decide whether a penalty charge would be made. Appeals may also be made on penalty notices and this would be heard at First Tier Tribunal.
Improvements that can be made or required
The following options are available to Landlords wishing to improve the energy efficiency of their properties:
- Air source heat pumps
- Thermostat boilers
- Thermostat room heaters
- Cavity wall insulation
- Solid wall insulation (internal or external)
- Cylinder thermostats
- Draught proofing
- Duct insulation
- Hot water showers/systems (efficient)
- Hot water taps (efficient)
- External wall insulation systems
- Fan assisted replacement storage heaters
- Flue gas recovery devices
- Ground source heat pumps
- Heating controls (for wet central heating systems and warm air systems)
- Heating ventilation and air conditioning controls
- High performance external doors
- Hot water controls (including timers and temperature control)
- Hot water cylinder insulation
- Internal wall insulation (or external walls)
- Lighting systems fittings and controls (including roof lights, lamps and luminaires)
- Loft or rafter insulation (including loft hatch insulation)
- Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery
- Micro combined heating power
- Micro wind generation
- Pipework insulation
- Gas fired condensing boilers
- Replacement glazing
- Oil fired condensing boilers
- Warm air units
- Radian heating
- Roof insulation
- Warming roof insulation
- Ceiling improvements (including duct ceiling)
- Secondary glazing
- Solar water heating
- Solar blind, shutters and shading devices
- Transpired solar collectors
- Under floor heating
- Under floor insulation
- Variable speed driers for fans and pumps
- Waste water heat recovery devices attached to showers
- Water source heat pump
Important final note
Research has also identified that energy performance certificates (EPCs) understate the thermal efficiency of solid walls. Many PRS properties have solid walls. Usually they were built pre-1918 but can be later. Again the Government are proposing to recalibrate EPCs to give a truer reading. This could mean that some solid wall properties currently rated F under an EPC will no longer require any work and less work may be required in the case of a G rated property. The Government has yet to bring forward the relevant regulations to implement these changes.
Landlords of F and G rated solid wall properties may therefore be advised to await developments. Should changes be made then a new EPC will be required. Existing EPCs cannot be adjusted. Once EPCs are recalibrated, in these cases, obtaining a new EPC may mean that you no longer need to comply with the Regulations or less work may be required.
If you would like to discuss the impact of the minimum energy standards for your rental property in advance of the 1st April 2018, please get in touch. We'd be happy to help you to review to your options and plan ahead.
What to buy?
Where to buy?
What will give the best return?
Where can I be assured there is great demand from tenants?
What are the prospects for capital growth in this area?
These are some of the basic key questions that investors ask themselves every time they look for their next property.
If you haven’t defined your criteria and your goals yet, but you do want to buy a property – work this out first! Do not buy until you have defined this clearly!
If you’re just starting out, these questions could become a big headache, which in turn can become a big problem that becomes very difficult to solve without experience. Many people get stuck here and go no further with their investment dreams. There are many reasons not to buy, many unanswered questions, grey areas, and our greatest enemy – fear. Fear of the unknown and getting it wrong. It’s ok to feel this, in fact it’s perfectly normal! They key is to realise that fear is basic human nature (which comes from the fight or flight mechanism), and to move on and try to overcome it.
But just jumping in to get the experience could be very costly, especially once you weigh up your deposit and buying costs. What if it doesn’t work and you need to sell? Can you be assured you’ll get your money back and cover your costs? You don’t want to learn the hard way here, that would be very expensive, stressful, and time consuming!
So what is the solution?
The best thing you can do, is to seek out good information, relevant knowledge, and quality advice from others that have been there and done it, and are still doing it. And are still doing it well!
Build your team of advisors who can help you when questions arise. Some call this a ‘Power Team’ and in property investing that could include an Estate Agent, Letting Agent, Sourcing Agent, Mortgage Broker, Solicitor, Planning Consultant, and Architect. ‘Your net worth is down to your network’, goes the adage.
The team here at Dwell Leeds have 30 years experience working day-to-day in the Leeds property market. This includes letting, property management, sales, and sourcing for investors and landlords, like yourself. We advise first-time landlords through to seasoned investors across many strategies including buy-to-let, single lets, family let, HMO and multi let, and serviced accommodation. Not only that we’re experienced investors ourselves too, so we understand first hand the challenges that you face as a property investor.
Beware of taking advice from someone without plenty of direct experience - this isn’t advice! And be sure, remember that when you’re down the pub and you hear that bloke that talks like he knows everything there is to know about everything!! You know the type...
If you want to invest in property and need help working out your goals, or advice on what works in the Leeds property market right now – go no further.
Contact us today for your free and no obligation Investment Consultation so that we can show you we can help you best.
From the family home you grew up in, to living with a bunch of strangers in halls or off of campus, and now you are about to come face to face with a whole new chapter of living. Not as a student, but as a fully-fledged graduate.
You may have already started to consider your options and how to go about making your first steps, but it always pays off to receive some extra guidance when it comes to making the next big decision in your life. Everybody’s situations are different too. So in this guide, we hope to provide a thorough breakdown for those considering solely buying, renting and for those stuck in the middle
As you approach the end of your academia, it is important to consider your spending and budgeting. Most students are blessed with a weighty student loan. If you are one of the lucky ones, allocate a small part of your time to sitting down and budgeting your remaining loan to enable yourself to put aside some of it for when you finish. This is important to do, buying or renting, as you will require a deposit for wherever you decide to move to and being strapped at the beginning of your move isn’t a position you want to be in. However, if your student loan wasn’t substantial, you can still be thrifty with your spending. It wouldn’t be unfair to sit out on a few student nights out so you can save up what you would have spent that night and also, make sure you budget your food shop by shopping at cheaper supermarkets to save extra pennies. The whole point of saving now is to make your money go as far as possible and to spend what you really need to live off. By getting into the habit of careful budgeting and regular saving now you will give yourself the best chance of staying on track and building up a sizeable savings for when you come to make your decision.
As well, getting a job, either on or off campus will help you to gain some extra money together and help boost your credit rating which will give you a head-start when it comes to applying for a mortgage, as you will need payslip evidence of a regular income to qualify for mortgage financing if you believe buying is a more suitable option for you.
The House Hunt
Buying a house is a massive commitment but an amazing opportunity to get started on the property ladder sooner rather than later if you are in the position to do so. If you are seriously considering this option make sure to do your research. It is all too easy to fall in love with properties at first glance, but don’t rush into anything without seriously weighing up some other choices. Assess the market and the area you’re interested in. If you don’t have a car, are there shops and supermarkets nearby? Are you near to a train or bus station? These are aspects which need weighing up so the property matches your lifestyle.
If you’re looking to rent instead, the same applies in the way of suitability to your wants and requirements. If you use the gym, is there one within walking distance? Is the neighbourhood what you want? Additionally, with renting you will need to make sure that the property is within your budget, so you can afford to pay additional bills which you may incur such as gas and electricity, water and TV licence.
Being a graduate, you won’t have the years of experience that your parents have in buying and selling property, so you need to research the local property prices to spot any market fluctuations and to get the best possible deal when making an offer on a property.
Remember, if an advert seems too good to be true, make sure to do some homework. Identify where any hidden costs may catch you out down the line. If you decide to buy, you may need to deal with damp or structural repairs. If this is the case, you can make a low offer that takes into account the costs of putting things right. Alternatively, if a careful and objective appraisal of a property reveals significant issues, it might be best to walk away on that occasion, to continue searching elsewhere.
As a studious graduate, you are probably aware of how difficult it is to save money for property which continues to rise at an ever growing rate. But, where there is a will, there is a way. The government offer a variety of schemes to help you on the pathway to affording your very own home. It will pay off to work out the best loans, ISAs and deals available to you so that you know exactly the ins and outs of what you are being offered and how it will work in the long-run.
One of the most popular and successful options is the government’s Help to Buy ISA. What this entails is that if you put money into this ISA once a month at a maximum of £200, the Government will boost your savings by 25%. So, for every £200 you save, you will also receive a government bonus of £50. The maximum government bonus you can receive is £3,000 if you have savings of £12,000 or more.
Additionally, you could look into the Help to Buy loan, which provides a loan of up to 20% of the purchase price of a new-build home. This loan is also interest-free for five years.
Many parents are also on hand to chip in with their children’s first home, but only consider this option if you are sure that your parents can do this without putting themselves into any financial difficulty.
Do make sure to research all of the peripheral costs of buying a property, such as stamp duty and valuation fees, as well as understanding how the process of buying a property works.
If you decide to rent for a while, give yourself this time to build up a deposit to buy in the future.
Both options need careful planning and organisation so find out what deposit you’ll need, what your monthly repayments will be, and what the other costs of owning a property are likely to be. Additionally, make sure you are clued up about renting your chosen property and the area you are looking at, so you don’t end up living somewhere you’re unhappy with.
So, to conclude, whether you end up buying or renting, make sure that your moving checklist is planned down to a ‘T’, so that your move from Uni to adulthood goes as smoothly possible.
We’ve taken sold data over the last 10 years and we’ve split this into 3 property types that are common to Burley, Leeds, to get a further insight into what is happening to property values in our area.
It’s important to note that the following data shows averages for the property types, not their size/how many bedrooms, or condition. Neither does the data account for any other features such as gardens, parking, or any refurbishment works. This average data was taken from 2007 just prior to the crash and 2017.
Flats sold in LS4
We can see from the graph below that the average pre crash sold price was just under £115,000 (from 64 recorded sales). A drop of 10% can be observed during the following 5 year period before prices began to recover. A huge spike can then be seen during the last 12 months with the price in the last 3 months of £145,000. It’s important to note however, that there was only 1 flat sold in the last quarter however meaning that this isn’t reliable enough data to conclude that prices have recovered from pre-crash levels.
Terraced houses sold in LS4
Pre-crash levels have averaged just under £130,000 (from 725 recorded sales). Prices were fairly resilient during the crash with only a £6000 loss in capital values. Seasonal highs and lows are shown by the high and low during the last 12 months. The average value currently has exceeded pre crash levels by 5%.
Semi detached houses sold in LS4
As you would expect, we can see that semi detached property values are higher than both flats and terraced properties. It’s really interesting to see that semi detached property prices didn’t decline during the crash and in fact rose during the period 2007-2012 – this is most uncommon in Leeds and shows just how popular these properties were in Burley. Then a large spike occurs during the period 2012-2016 seeing averages jump to £173,642 from £155,102. Prices then dipped a little during the winter and have started heading upwards again going into Spring 2017.
*Data taken from zoopla.co.uk
If you're looking to see how much your property in Leeds is worth now on, call us today on 0113 357 2260 and we'll be able to help you with a free and no obligation valuation for your home.
Consultation on Tenant Fees has opened
The consultation on on the proposed ban on Tenant Fees by Department for Communities and Local Government has opened on the 7th April 2017 and will remain open for eight weeks, closing on 2 June 2017.
Key points taken from the consultation:
The Government proposes to introduce legislation which will mean that:
1. No agent, landlord and any other third party will be able to charge tenants any fees, premiums or charges that meet the general definition of facilitating the granting, renewal or continuance of a tenancy; and
2. Tenants should only be required to pay their rent and a refundable deposit.
However, there are certain costs that arguably should continue to be met by the tenant:
1. Holding deposits to take the property off the market whilst reference checks are undertaken; and
2. In-tenancy property management service charges arising because of the action of the tenant – such charges could include arranging for replacement keys, repairs carried out as a result of deliberate damage or breach of the tenancy agreement, or late rent payment charges.
Agents may occasionally provide bespoke, non-standard services to tenants at the top end of the market, for example, when arranging a property for someone currently living abroad who is relocating to the UK. The Government is keen to understand whether there are premium parts of the market where a different approach to handling letting fees may be warranted.
The Government believes that robust and effective enforcement is central to the successful implementation of the ban on letting agent fees paid by tenants. The Government proposes that the ban should be enforced by local authorities, primarily Trading Standards but recognises that Trading Standards may require additional support in order to ensure that enforcement of the ban is effective. The Government is therefore keen to explore the views of the sector on a number of issues including further regulation of the sector.
The leading industry body, the Association Of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) to which Dwell Leeds are members, described the Government’s housing policy as 'shambolic' and said that their consultation contradicts its already stated aim to encourage longer term tenancies. Independent analysis launched at ARLAPropertymark’s annual conference last week revealed that if an outright ban was introduced, rents will increase by £103 per year which will punish long term tenants financially.
David Cox, the Chief Executive of ARLA said "The decision is a short-term crowd pleaser and we are disappointed DCLG has not considered our proposals in today’s consultation. We urge the Government to use this process to think again to ensure that consumers, and the wider economy are not penalised by contradictory Government policies."
Dwell Leeds supports new Government measures on Client Money Protection
This week, Government announced that it intends to make Client Money Protection (CMP) mandatory for all letting agents. SAFEagent has campaigned for the last six years for this decision, which will protect consumers by ensuring all agents holding rent money and deposits must protect it in a CMP Scheme.
Dwell Leeds a professional letting agent with CMP in place since the business began, is delighted at the decision, but is reminding consumers that mandatory CMP is not yet law, and their finances are at risk if their chosen agent does not have client money protection.
The market is huge, with an estimated £2.7 billion* held by letting agents in client accounts, but unfortunately there are still too many cases of criminal letting agents stealing landlord and tenant cash. This is why it is crucial that consumers check their agent is part of an agent regulatory organisation which already provides CMP.
Glynis Frew, Acting Chair of the SAFEagent Steering Group, says:
“We did it! For all of those SAFEagents who have carried the banner for consumer protection – the Government has finally taken on board our call for all agents to be part of a Client Money Protection Scheme.
“It’s wonderful news that Government will make CMP mandatory, but it isn’t in place yet. That means both landlords and tenants are still at risk of losing money. It is so important that consumers understand that they need to choose their agent wisely by asking if they are part of a CMP scheme before entering into a contract with them.”
This May, 3,000 professional lettings firms will unite for SAFEagent Awareness Week 15-19 May 2017 – continuing to highlight to consumers the importance of choosing an agent who is part of a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme run by an agent regulatory body or trade association.
Tenants and landlords / consumers should always look for the SAFEagent logo, an easily identifiable consumer mark denoting agents subscribed to a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme.
Go to www.safeagents.co.uk to find a SAFEagent in your area
If you’re wondering what ‘Sales Progression’ is, then don’t worry – you’re not alone.
Much of what an Estate Agent does isn’t widely understood. To the public, an Estate Agent is just a company that lists your property for sale and shows potential buyers around your property.
But wait, there’s got to be more to it, right? .....Correct!
Finding buyers is most often not the hardest part of what an Estate Agent does, this is just the beginning; but is that is the part that is visible to the outside world.
Sales progression is the process of getting the property from the ‘Under Offer’ stage to ‘Completion’.
Let’s look under the bonnet at Sales Progression and what Estate Agents actually do and why you might want to use one.
1. ‘ Under Offer’ – once a potential Buyer (sometimes called the ‘Applicant’) puts in an offer, which is agreed by the Seller (often referred to as the ‘Vendor’), the status of the property becomes ‘Under Offer’. This is where sales progression begins for the Estate Agent.
At this point the Estate Agent will need to take the following actions:
- Establish that the Applicant is in a position to proceed with the purchase of the property. If the purchase is being funded with a mortgage, then the Estate Agent would usually ask to Applicant to produce evidence that a mortgage has been agreed in principal. This is provided by either the Applicant directly, or by the Applicant’s Mortgage Broker. A deposit would usually be required to part fund the purchase, and therefore the Estate Agent would usually ask the Applicant to provide evidence of their deposit at this stage also.
- In order to fulfil compliance requirements with regards to ‘Anti Money Laundering’ legislation, the Estate Agent will need to verify the identity of the Applicant.
- The Agent will need to gather the details of the Solicitor acting on behalf of the Applicant and the details of the Solicitor acting on behalf of the Seller.
2. At this stage the Estate Agent will send out the ‘Memorandum Of Sale’ which is a document that contains the details of the sale/purchase, and the details of all the parties involved in the transaction – the Applicant, the Applicant’s Solicitor, the Seller, and the Seller’s Solicitor. This document is then sent to each of these parties as notification that the sale process is beginning and it gives both of the Solicitors the information they need to begin the ‘Conveyance’.
3. ‘Mortgage valuation’ or a ‘Survey’. If the purchase relies on a mortgage, then the Lender will send out a Surveyor to confirm the valuation of the property. The Applicant would pay a fee for a ‘Valuation Report’ and often a fee to the Broker for their work in helping to line up a suitable mortgage. For added security and peace of mind for the Applicant, they may choose to get a more detailed survey done. A ‘Homebuyers Report’ will provide much more detail than the valuation report and will
find highlight any potential problems with the property. The most comprehensive survey that is done is a ‘Full Building Survey’ which is often beyond the scope of most residential property purchases.
4. ‘Conveyancing’. This is the term given to the legal process that takes place in transferring the title of a property through to ‘Exchange’ and ‘Completion’. This is carried out by Solicitors, not by the Agent. However it falls to the Agent to stay in touch with all parties within ‘the chain’ to ensure that things are moving along as they should be. There are several steps in a conveyance that will include the following:
- Issue of draft contracts
- Completion of protocol documents (this confirms the fittings, fixtures, contents, and inclusions that come with the sale of the property)
- Searches. This is carried out by the Applicant’s Solicitor to establish any potential issues the property might face. Several separate searches are carried out which include ‘local authority’, ‘coal mining’ ‘water’, and ‘contamination’. When the searches are complete, this often raises enquiries from the Applicant’s Solicitor which are sent to the Seller’s Solicitor for clarification. This process is often the lengthiest part of the transaction as correspondence goes back and forth between Solicitors before each party is satisfied.
4. Managing ‘the chain’. ‘The chain’ refers to the string of sales that are required to go through in order for your sale to go through. Unless the property is being purchased by a First Time Buyer, or an Investor, then there will usually be a chain. The length of the chain can vary, but the longer the chain, the more people are involved, the more variables there are and the higher the chance of there being a problem along the way. Chains of 10 aren’t unheard of – 10 buyers, 10 sellers, 20 Solicitors, and possibly 10 Brokers – that’s a lot of people to manage! A good Estate Agent manages this process. Long chains require a great deal of skill holding them together when problems arise.
5. ‘Exchange’. This is the shortened term for ‘Exchange of Contracts’. This is where the conveyance has been completed and each party have signed the legal documents to transfer the title of the property. The Applicant is often required to transfer a deposit for the purchase to their Solicitor at this point. Once exchange has happened, the sale has legally taken effect.
6. ‘Completion’. This often takes place a week after exchange to allow for the mortgage funds to be drawn down from the Lender and the exchange of funds between Solicitors. Once this has happened the Buyer will be advised to collect the keys from the Agent and the process is complete.
As you can see, there is much more to an Estate Agents role in the sale process than first meets the eye!
If you need someone to help you sell your property in Leeds, give us a call today. Our experienced and skilled team are experts in completing sales affordably, smoothly, and within convenient timescales.
Don’t make it obvious you’re not home
Nothing says ‘I’m an empty house, help yourself’ like a pile of post by the door. Before you go away, give your neighbours your spare key and ask them to pop round every now and then to collect your post. If you don’t have neighbours, or maybe wouldn't trust them with a key to your house,take advantage of the Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service. This service will hold your post for up to two months for a small charge. Be sure to cancel milk and grocery deliveries too.
Every single appliance should be switched off at the plug, except your fridge/freezer! Not only does this reduce risk of fires, will also save you money on your utility bills. While you’re at it, turn your central heating off - to avoid paying to heat an empty house.
Keep them guessing
Now you don’t have to do it Kevin McAllister style and trick any burglars into thinking you’re hosting a party, but you can purchase timer switches for your lights and set them to turn on and off at specific times, so that your house look lived in.
If you’ll be driving to the airport or your resort, see if you can find somebody to park on your drive while you’re away.
It sounds obvious, but make sure you check all doors and windows are locked before you leave. This includes garages and sheds! If you were to be burgled and your insurance provider found out your doors or windows were unlocked then they may be unwilling to pay out for a claim. Once the doors are locked, make sure keys are completely out of sight and reach of and windows or your letterbox!
Finally, leave a spare set of keys with your neighbours so that they can access your property if something was to go wrong.
If you’d like any more advice from a top Estate Agent in Leeds, please get in touch. We’d be very happy to help.
In a recent article, we discussed the challenging subject of obtaining planning permission for HMO’s in an article 4 area.
There are a number of other hurdles to consider if you are looking to invest in HMO’s. Here we will tackle another of them so you are prepared and to arm you with the knowledge that you will need.
This article will focus on the regulation requirements.
It’s no secret that HMO’s are a more complex area than typical buy-to-let and single let properties. Regulation can be broken down into different areas, for example:
- Planning requirements. See our previous article on this, entitled ‘How to get planning permission for a HMO (in an article 4 area)
- Licensing requirements (this comes into effect when you are letting to 5 or more unrelated sharers from 2 or more households. For example letting a 5 bed property room-by-room almost always falls under this area)
There are a number of resources available on the subject and many of them can be found on your local authority’s website.
Of course, it may be easier for you to find an experienced Letting Agent in Leeds that is highly knowledgeable and specialises in this area (such as Dwell Leeds!). This will save you a lot of time and make sure you don’t miss anything. Mistakes can be dangerous and very costly if you find out the hard way!
Cost to set up a HMO
This can vary. You will need to understand that there are certain requirements that you will need to meet in order for your HMO to comply with planning and licensing requirements. Each HMO is different and needs consideration on an individual level, but for the purposes of the blog we will give some general rules here on how you will need to fit out your HMO. Most of these relate to fire safety.
Small HMO’s (3-4 beds)
Although these usually require planning permission for C4 use, these properties don't require a license, therefore there is usually less to do in the property to ensure it’s compliant. However, you will need to ensure you have:
- Fire doors throughout the property
- Interlinked hardwired smoke detectors with a battery back-up
Licensable HMO’s (5+beds)
Again the exact requirements will vary depending on the property. It will also usually vary based on whether the council would classify the property as a category A or category B HMO. The different categories exist due to the intended use of the property. For example Category A is usually where all rooms are to be let to individuals that don’t come as a group and don’t know each other when they move in (AST’s on individual rooms). Category B is usually where the property is to be let to groups that come as a unit, for example students (one common AST). Category A usually has a more extensive list of requirements than Category B. Common requirements are:
- Fire doors throughout the property
- Interlinked hardwired smoke detectors with a battery back up
- Fire detection system
- Fire blanket(s) close to cooker(s)
- Emergency lighting with battery back-up
- Escape routes in case of fire
- Adequate cooking facilities
- Adequate washing facilities
- Adequate work surface space
This is not an exhaustive list and the precise spec is beyond the scope of this article.
If you are looking for more information on HMO regulation in Leeds, please get in touch and we will send you information that is relevant to you, for example Leeds City Council’s HMO guides, planning or licensing application forms, and detailed HMO specifications.
Published: 22/02/2017 Last Updated: 26/04/2017 12:22:13 Author: Story Tags: For Sale Boards
The Sale/To Let board is one of the oldest marketing tools used by Estate Agents! Even today, with the success of online marketing it is still considered one of the most important! The boards benefit your estate agent, and you, as you are likely to be keen to sell your house in a reasonable amount of time.
The boards are a symbol of a property being For Sale / To Let or Sold / Let. They get people talking, which can lead to a sale! Often homeowners are worried about their neighbours gossiping once they find out their house is on the market. However, chances are that at least one of your neighbours will have subscribed to Rightmove’s local property updates, and will have been notified as soon as you put your property on the market - board or no board!
If you live by a busy road, commuters will pass your house every day. These commuters may have no intention of buying your house, but will remember that it is on the market when talking to friends wanting to buy in the area! People talk and words spreads fast. This is a great marketing tool for your home!
The relocators! These potential buyers don’t know the area well at all, but are visiting the area to get an idea of the kinds of properties on offer. If they like the look of your property, and the area, then they might take the time to contact the agents selling your house for more information, or find you online later.
Your home may have great curb appeal. It may be a striking design, it could be double fronted, or you may have had lovely new windows fitted. Whatever the reason your property looks good from outside is another reason the board will attract attention from Buyers.
Many buyers take the time to walk or drive by a property before booking a viewing, to see if they like the look of it. If your estate agent doesn't give away the full address before a viewing, it is likely that your viewers will be looking out for your Sale / To Let board when trying to find your property.
It may not be a new tool, but it's still an extremely effective tool when it comes to selling your home.
If you’d like any more advice on selling from an Estate Agent in Leeds, please get in touch. We’d be very happy to help.
The use of online agents has increased in the last couple of years. When it comes to sell your property, you will likely be weighing up the pros and cons of selling online or the more traditional way, through a local agent.
In this article we’ll look at both approaches so that you’re well enough informed to make the best decision for you.
Online agents generally don't have local offices and have lower overheads. They state that these savings can be passed onto consumers through lower fees.
Some online agents have huge advertising budgets and you may recognise some of these brands from TV (you may have noticed that their advertising is aimed at you, the Seller, rather than the Buyer, ie. your property).
- Lower fees
- Convenience. The online agents have invested in technology which sometimes can put them ahead of the local independent agents in terms of convenience to the consumer, for example online 24/7 booking systems.
- Strong modern brand
- Good online advertising through portals
- You usually pay up front for the service. This may lead you to query how motivated your online agent is to complete your sale, after they have been paid.
- If they don’t sell the property, you usually still need to pay their fee regardless. This may lead to a lack of responsibility, commitment, and or accountability
- Lack of local knowledge. With no physical presence in your area you will need to question how well they actually know your area. This could have several implications – the obvious one being accuracy of valuation, but also it is unlikely they will have the network of local people – the buyers and sellers – who are known to them. Access to large numbers of local buyers, who are known to you, is key when selling your property. Online agents cover huge territories and naturally are unable to know your area intimately
- Lack of personal relationship or personal service. It’s not always easy to speak to the person doing the viewings on your property! Feedback is important so you need to make sure you’re receiving it effectively.
Local independent agents
- Intimate local understanding. Local agents are rooted in their community and know the area like the back of their hand. Their kids go to the local schools, their friends meet in the local pub, they bump into you in the local supermarket. Your local agent has countless relationships with the people living in your area.
- Accurate valuation. Because of such an intimate understanding of their patch they know what happens to house prices on your very street or development every month. They know what sells and what sticks and each fluctuation in price every month.
- Access to local buyers. 75% of home movers move locally. By knowing and having helped these people move in the past means a relationship has often already been formed by your local agent with your next buyer. These buyers will still be on the agents mailing list, ready to receive details of your property when it hits the market.
- Local agents are the masters of compromise. Let me give you an example - no buyer would put living on a main road on their criteria for their next home. If your home is on the main road, it’s value will often lie in the property itself, for example the size or spec, but getting people through the door could be a challenge.. Local agents have the foresight and intuition to offer the property to buyers who want to see their other properties that are close by. They would take the keys with them on another viewing and say something like this to the buyer: “I know you haven’t asked to see this next property Mrs Smith, but I have the keys and it’s just around the corner – I think you’re gonna love it…”
- No sale, no fee. Local agents usually give this guarantee, despite their up front costs – if they don't perform, you don’t pay! What could be fairer than that? The local agent only get paid as a result of their actions to sell your property. There’s no question of motivation!
- Good online marketing including the portals, print, email marketing, and social media presence
- Personality. Good local agents have this in bundles and they are able to communicate this well with their audience via their brand and presence. Is your local agents personality one that would draw the attention of a buyer to your property?
- Few points of contact. Usually you will be dealing with just 1-3 people from start to finish who you know, and are easy to get hold of when you need them.
- Shared responsibility, commitment and accountability. Every customer is important to the local independent agent and they are invested in selling your property with you. Their role is to help you move and they want to be there with you once a buyer is secured – you and the sale of your home really matters!
- Fees. We’ve put this as a pro and as a con. It’s a con since since online agents are usually cheaper. It’s a pro because UK Estate Agencies are by far the cheapest in the world. Worldwide fees are almost without fail in the region of…. wait for it….. 5%-15% of the selling price of your property! Yes, we are being serious.
- Higher fees. The average fee charged by an agent is around 1.5%+vat of the selling price, which is usually higher than an online agent. But remember, this only based on the agent actually selling your home. The reason for the difference in price is that local independents have higher overhead than their online counterparts. These higher costs include a physical premises, staff salaries, and no benefit of economies of scale for example print, marketing and advertising. Around the world fees usually range from 5%-15% to sell your property.
The choice will come down to your personal preferences and values and which type of agent is the best fit for you and your property.
Clearly online agents are becoming a good option for many people in the modern world. However we believe there will always be great value in local independent agency that can never be truly replicated or replaced.
If you're looking for first class service from an independent Estate Agent in Leeds, look no further. Give us a call today, we'd love to come and meet you to give you some advice of how to sell your property in Leeds.
Where Do Channel 5 News go when they want to discuss government's Housing Policy? Dwell Leeds of course!
We welcomed Channel 5 News to the Dwell Leeds office yesterday, 7th February. They got in touch with us to get our input on the government’s long-awaited white paper on housing, that was released on the 7th February.
Channel 5 correspondent, Peter Lane, interviewed our Moving Maestro, Dan Finder. They discussed the current plight of First Time Buyers. Dan has a unique insight on this being both an Estate Agent, and a First Time Buyer.
A section of this interview was broadcast on the national news on the 7th February. Did you manage to catch it? If not here it is on You Tube. A snippet of Dan’s interview is right at the start of the clip.
The paper aims to tackle the housing crisis and raised 29 action points for the government to get back on track towards meeting demand for homes in the UK. Amongst these included:
- A provision for longer tenancies
- Backing for institutional investment for Build To Rent schemes
- A Starter Homes initiative to tackle “unfair leasehold terms for homebuyers”
- A simplified plan making the process for developers
- Making more land available for development, except in the green belt which will continue to be heavily protected
- Improved resources for planning departments to speed up the planning process
- Backing for small and medium sized developers under a Building Fund
- Support for Housing Associations and local authorities to build more homes
- Plans to bring empty homes back into usage
There has been early criticism for the report, with some branding it “too little too late” and not far reaching enough to meet pent up demand and the government’s own targets for much needed housing.
What are your thoughts? Get in touch and let us know.
Published: 03/02/2017 Last Updated: 26/04/2017 12:25:39 Author: Story Tags: Sell My Property
If you are thinking of selling your home, it’s important to get it on the market at the right time of year to give yourself the best chance of securing a good offer.
Traditionally, spring is the peak time to sell houses, when the flowers are coming into bloom, evenings are warmer and lighter, and people have more time to view, away from the distractions that Christmas and summer holidays can bring. It also means that the move would most likely take place in the summer. This is appealing for parents, who might want to get their children settled into a new area before the next academic year starts.
If you are thinking of getting your home on the market this year, now is the ideal time to spruce it up ready for selling (see our blog on ‘staging’ the home for tips on how to do this).
If you don’t feel quite ready to sell yet, early autumn can be another good time to sell, but don’t leave it too late as you could hit the Christmas lull, when it’s cold, kids are off school, and everyone is too busy partying to think about viewing properties. The danger here is that your home could end up on the market for some time, leaving prospective buyers asking themselves, “Why is this house still on the market, what’s wrong with it?”
But what if you need to sell quickly, perhaps because you re relocating for work for example? You might not be able to choose exactly when you put the house on the market, in which case you may need to just bite the bullet and go for it anyway.
There may be some argument to say that in the winter months only the more serious property hunters are looking, so if your home is priced competitively for a quick sale and is well presented, you could still be in with a chance.
Whatever your circumstances, we can help you sell your home at a time that is convenient to you. So why not call us or drop in for an informal chat?
Published: 24/01/2017 Last Updated: 26/04/2017 12:23:44 Tags: HMO Leeds
It is important to know that HMO’s are not forbidden within the Article 4 area. But it does introduce an element of uncertainty into investing decisions.
It is also important to know that if the property has been continuously as a HMO since prior to the 10th February 2012, and this can be proven (usually via signed AST’s), then planning permission for change of use will not be required. ie the local authority accepts that the property may be operated under C4 usage without any further consent in this situation. However if the usage of the property has had any interruption in HMO usage, for example, if a family moved in since 2012 for any period of time, then this will not apply and an application for change of use as described above will still apply.
This means that HMO’s with continuous proven HMO history , or having obtained C4 through planning since 2012 may be sold at a premium. This is because the property is able to generate a higher income and yield as a HMO than C3 dwelling and therefore can justify a higher re-sale price. It grants the investor with piece of mind and security, which of course comes at a price. That said the price may well be worth paying!
Savvy investors will be thinking of the opportunities all of this raises at this point. If a clear understanding of the planning process and decision can be understood, then this can be used to their advantage. For example:
1. It is possible to buy C3 obtain C4 usage, then flip for profit, or re finance to pull further funds out later.
2. The complex nature of planning, combined with the hassle an time involved is enough to put most would be property investors off in favour of something easier. This gives rise to a less competitive field, where the juiciest fruit is left for those that know how to find it.
So how do we go about understanding whether we can get planning for our HMO’s?
The planning department will treat every case uniquely and each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. The process takes into account a lot of variables that include:
- Concentration of HMO’s already in use in that immediate area
- Parking provisions
- Bus stops and transport links close by
- Access to local employment
- Local demographic (ie families, students etc)
- Housing shortages
- Anti social behaviour
- Would changing the use of property become and benefit or a detriment to the local area benefit ?
Clearly it’s not a straight forward decision. This is the reason the process is shrouded in uncertainty. There is no one size fits all approach. To make matters trickier, planners are notorious for keeping their cards close to their chest, providing vague responses to enquiries, and speaking in jargon. Not only that, the process takes a remarkable length of time to reach a decision and a fair amount of patience is required on behalf of the investor.
For this reason, we strongly suggest enlisting the help of a qualified Planning Consultant as a key member of your investing Power Team early on in the process. Speak to your Planning Consultant early on, and in advance of making your offer to buy the property. His evaluation will allow you to understand your chances with the likely planning decision.
You should also look for 3 exit strategies in case you do not get the planning decision you were hoping for. For example your options may look like this:
1. Obtain change of use to C4, refurb, let room-by-room, re finance, hold
2. Obtain planning to title split to 2 dwellings, refurb, let, re finance, hold
3. Refurbish, flip as C3 dwelling
You should be happy with the numbers of all of your exit strategies, should plan A not be possible.
If you are looking for a HMO or you already have one contact us today and we can show you how to get the best results.
Published: 20/01/2017 Last Updated: 20/01/2017 10:20:16 Tags: Tips To Sell Your Property
If you want to sell your house quickly for the best price possible, you need to show-case it in the right way so that others can see all the potential it has to offer as their future dream home.
If you can afford to push the boat out, some major renovations such as a new kitchen or bathroom could be a great investment, as you will recoup what you spent and lots more besides. For many though, the aim is to get the ‘wow’ factor without having to splash the cash, as many people prefer not to spend a huge amount on a property they will soon leave behind.
There are also lots of simple and cost effective measures you can take by ‘staging’ for sale:
1. It goes without saying that a good spring clean can go a long way to showing a home in its best light, but if you are not keen on household chores, you might want to pay a professional to give your home a really good deep clean.
2. A lick of paint in a light neutral colour can work wonders to freshen a place up, but take care not to make the home too much of a blank canvas - try to retain some personality.
3. Address any small issues that could make the place appear scruffy by filling in cracks in plaster, replacing lightbulbs where necessary and fixing minor maintenance problems such as loose door hinges or handles etc.
4. Get rid of any clutter that can make rooms appear untidy and cramped. Use storage boxes and pack any unused items away out of sight. Don’t go too mad though or the house might look cold and un-lived in. But simplicity is important so that viewers can appreciate the space, without being distracted by clutter.
5. One of the key things people look for in a property is lots of light, so if you have big windows with plenty of natural light make sure you mention this and show it off, by cleaning the windows inside and out, and removing any large plants, ornaments or clutter on windowsills that could block light out.
6. If your home tends to be dark in places, invest in some lamps to brighten up any dark corners. Clever use of mirrors can also help to bounce light back into the room and make it feel bigger.
7. Bathrooms and kitchens sell houses, so if yours are looking a bit tired there are a few things you can do to give them a lift without spending much. Some new fluffy towels in a coordinating colour, a bright new blind, and a good clean in all the nooks and crannies can work wonders. You could also whiten the grouting and replace the seals around the bath if you have time, as these tend to gather mould and mildew and can start to look a little manky.
8. The smell of a home can make or break a prospective purchase, so ensure that as well as looking nice your home also smells great – cigarette smoke, pets and cooking smells can put buyers off, while the smell of freshly baked bread or coffee can make a home seem more inviting.
9. Don’t forget the outside of the home too, as this is the first thing people will see. First impressions count, so paint the front door and window sills, cut the grass, clear the weeds, trim the hedges and make sure fences and gates are in good condition. You might also want to add a splash of colour by planting some pretty bedding plants or hanging baskets.
10. If you have any washing drying on radiators around the home, remember to move it out of sight before a viewing – there is nothing more off-putting than seeing somebody else’s smalls all over the place!
11. If you are showing viewers round yourself take a bit of time to consider the less obvious positives about your home beforehand and make sure you mention these. Viewers might not realise that the bathroom has underfloor heating for example, or that you have just purchased a brand new boiler, so make sure you tell them.
12. If your property is vacant whilst on the market, it’s important to ensure it’s not empty. Empty, unfurnished properties don’t spark the imagination with viewers. Furnishing and dressing the property for photos and viewings makes a huge difference. They will be able to see how the furniture fits the space and they will be able to imagine themselves living there. Always bear in mind that properties are sold on emotion, so sell the vision to them!
If you’d like any more advice on selling your home, come and talk to us, we’d be very happy to help.
Published: 14/01/2017 Last Updated: 26/04/2017 12:24:06 Tags: HMO Investing
It is no secret that the best returns available for investors in residential lettings come from Houses In Multiple Occupation (HMO’s).
This is where a traditional family property is let to a group of unrelated sharers, or is let room-by-room to individual unrelated sharers. This maximises the rent that is achievable since there are several people to split the cost, rather than one family.
Why would tenants want to do this?
• Bills are typically included in the rent, making this a really convenient way to rent
• Rents are much lower than for an entire property making this a highly affordable way to rent
• It’s a fantastic way to meet new people! Most tenants renting in HMO’s are in their 20’s and this age group love to socialise. Not only that Leeds is a magnet for employment for young people. Meeting new people is a priority for those moving to a new city. What better way to do that but to move into a house share?
Whilst we have seen investor demand increasing for HMO’s in recent years to an extent, many choose to stay away from this area. The reasons we hear for this tends to around these concerns:
• Difficulties getting planning permission, particularly in an Article 4 area
• Difficulties getting finance
• Belief there is too much regulation/a misunderstanding of regulation/no time to learn this complex area
• Too much cost to set up the property to be a HMO
• Too management intensive
• Too much wear and tear on the property
• High tenant turnover and or void periods
Whilst these are valid concerns, after years of letting and managing HMO’s as well as investing ourselves, Dwell Leeds have been able to overcome all of these areas through experience and their understanding and knowledge of the market. We have successfully eliminated all of these concerns on many projects and we’re fantastically placed to help others to do the same. This means we are able to achieve some of the highest yields out there for investors in Leeds!
Because this market remains shrouded in misunderstanding and seeming complexity, many landlords avoid it altogether which makes for a less competitive field for the investors that are “in the know”.
The informed investors also understand that the true value in HMO’s comes from outsourcing the “hard work”, time consuming, nitty gritty stuff to a professional agent that really understands this area. This frees up their time and energy so they can focus on the more important things in life. This could be income generating activities such as finding more deals, more time to spend on their career. It also enables them to spend more time on the things they love – family, or hobbies. Our investors leverage our time, systems, knowledge, experience and team. In this way they create fabulous passive incomes for themselves without any hassle. This is the path to wealth creation.
What are the returns?
This varies but generally they can be around double the return for a HMO than a single let. An average single let property in Leeds is around 5% net return, whereas the average HMO is close to a 10% net return (after all costs), although they can be higher.
Does this sound interesting to you?
In a series of upcoming blogs, I’ll address each of the typical concerns to show you how you can understand and master HMO investing.
The next blog will focus on achieving planning permission, which can be the most challenging hurdle. This can be challenging in Leeds since most of Leeds is within an Article 4 area, however it can be done. If you are not familiar with Article 4, this is a direction imposed by the local authority to restrict the use of HMO’s in a given location.
Published: 03/01/2017 Last Updated: 03/01/2017 12:27:42 Tags: HMO Licensing 2016
Government extends mandatory licensing of HMO's - announced December 2016
The government have ended a consultation on Houses In Multiple Occupation (HMO) reforms on the 12th December 2016.
The consultation came ahead of proposals to extend licensing laws to increase the volume of HMO's that will require mandatory licensing.
The results of the consultation, have confirmed the following will be passed through secondary legislation
- there will be a removal of the storey rule. Previously a HMO license was required if the property had 3 storeys or more (with 5 ore more unrelated sharers from 2 or more households). Going forwards, 2 storey semi detached properties, and flats will become licensable if let in this way to multiple non family occupants
- set a minimum room size of 6.52m squared in line with the existing overcrowding standard
Other intended consequences include:
- improved storage a and disposal facilities for this type of let
- there may be an application of the 'fit and proper person test' for HMO landlords (The Housing and Planning Act 2016)
In order to obtain a license, landlords will be required to provide a number of costly measures that will need to be taken, mostly to improve fire safety conditions, which often include the following installations:
- fire doors
- emergency lighting
- interlinked smoke detectors
- hard wired wire alarm system
- fire blankets
- additional cooking facilities
- additional washing facilities
- additional refuse facilities
It is expected that the changes will apply from early 2018. Fines for non compliance are unlimited. The measures are designed to provide safe accommodation in higher risk homes, protect tenants, and to improve standards.
The changes come after a difficult year for landlords following a raft of legislative changes relating to tax.
David Cox, Managing Director of ARLA has hit back at the proposals, raising some stark realities of the changes.
He said: “Landlord licensing doesn’t work.
“Councils already have a wide variety of powers to prosecute for poor property conditions and bad management practices, with penalties ranging from fines to seizure of property and even imprisonment.
“But councils don’t have the resources to undertake effective enforcement action. Imposing more burdens on councils will not mean improved standards and better conditions for tenants – it will merely mean more laws that are not being enforced.
“Further, we have to consider the unintended consequences of minimum room sizes.
“Some people are happy to take small rooms to keep their costs down. If these rooms are no longer available, where are people supposed to live?
“What’s more, if a small room in a property can no longer be let out, the costs of that room will be spread across the other tenants living in the property; pushing up their rents.
“A habitable room is essential but a one-size-fits-all policy doesn’t always work.”
You can read the full consultation paper here.
Here at Dwell Leeds we specialise in managing HMO's in Leeds. HMO's offer the highest returns of any residential lets to landlords. Successful HMO landlords outsource the increased management and regulation requirements to us to create a fantastic passive income. If you would like to learn more get in touch today.
Make sure that you know how to get in touch with us in the event of an emergency. Our office will be closed Friday 23rd December 2016 at 4pm, and will reopen on Tuesday 3rd January 2017 at 9am. Emails will not be monitored at this time.
In case of emergency only, out of office hours, please send us an SMS to 079 66 66 2971 with your name, address, phone number and the full details of the problem. If the issue is deemed to be an emergency, our Out of Hours Team will call you back to arrange the necessary action. Please note this number is for emergencies only and you may be charged an administration fee for incorrect use.
It is essential that heating is left on low and us not switched off.
Pipes can freeze and then burst during the cold weather and this can lead to major leaks causing much damage to property and your contents. To ensure this does not happen, we kindly request you leave your heating on low and constant over the winter months, even when your property is empty. If damage is caused due to your failure to do this, you may be liable for associated costs - so it is vital you do so.
Burst pipes and other potential problems can be prevented by ensuring that the heating remains on low during cold spells. Be sure to know how your heating system works. If you require a copy of your manuals, these are available on line (by searching the make and model) or from Dwell during office hours.
If there is any issue with your heating or hot water (boiler) not working properly, the first thing to do before calling the emergency number is to check the pressure. This should be set between 1 and 2 bar on the gauge. Pressure drops are by far the single most common problem with heating and hot water. If the pressure has dropped to around 0, you can top this up yourself by opening the value for the filing loop and increasing the pressure. Ensure you know how to do this correctly by reading the manual before attempting to do so. If you can’t find a user manual, please google the make and model number for details.
It is essential you know where to find the stopcock in the event of a plumbing emergency. Please make familiarise yourselves with the stopcock location if you do not know where it is. If there is a leak, the stopcock will need to be turned off quickly to avoid damage to the property, so it is important that you know where it is.
If you are going away over the Christmas period (or, indeed, at any time during the year), you might consider having a lighting timer system fitted. This can be an effective way of reducing the chances of burglary. Always ensure all doors and windows are locked securely too and alarms are set if provide.
Fuse box location
Ensure you now the location of your fuse box. You might also consider leaving a torch in an obvious location (for example the kitchen) in order to make sure you can find it in the event that a fuse is blown or a switch tripped.
Condensation can damage paintwork and fixtures and fittings, and can be a problem during the colder winter months. Make sure that you keep rooms properly ventilated, and that an even temperature is maintained throughout the property, in order to reduce condensation.
Under the terms of your tenancy agreement, you are required to advise us if you are leaving the property for more than 14 days. Please send us an email to let us know if you are going away for 2 weeks or more. This often affects the terms of your landlords insurance policy and may also affect your contents insurance policy.
Thank you for your assistance in maintaining your home this Christmas!
We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2017
The Team at Dwell Leeds
P.S. Why not “like” our Facebook page “Dwell Leeds” where we share some festive fun, property information and other good stuff!
Young people are facing a tough economic landscape these days. With rising house prices it can seem that as fast as you are saving for a deposit, the deposit needed to buy a decent property is increasing. For so-called ‘generation rent’ home ownership is a dream many have given up on, but whether you want to rent or buy, there are many options to consider that can help you find your dream home.
Help to buy ISA
The good news is that for those who do still have their heart set on home ownership, help to save for a deposit is available from the Government in the form of a tax-free Help to Buy ISA. This helps increase your savings by 25%, so for every £400 you save, you will receive a further £100 from the Government, up to a maximum of £12,000 savings. This means if you save the maximum amount you will receive a further £3,000 boost, and if there are two of you saving for a property, you can both take one out, which will up the Government contribution to a whopping £6,000.
If that has given you further hope that you can afford to own your own home, take a look at just a couple of properties we currently have on the market to whet your appetite.
We are currently offering a modern 2-bed apartment in the highly desirable area of Horsforth which would make a great first time buyer home and is close to the station for commuting into Leeds city centre.
If you are buying a property for the first time, it can be daunting deciding which mortgage to choose. There are literally hundreds of options available from many different lenders, and if you choose the wrong one, you could end up paying more than you need to. Most mortgages last for a 2, 3 or 5 year term, so it’s always a good idea to seek advice from an independent financial adviser before you commit to anything.
A fixed rate mortgage is the simplest type, and it does exactly what it says on the tin – the rate you pay each month is fixed for the duration of the mortgage term, meaning you can manage your monthly household budget knowing exactly what you will need to pay.
A variable rate mortgage can vary depending on interest rates. With a tracker mortgage, this tracks the Bank of England base rate, then adds a small percentage of interest on. With a discounted mortgage, the interest is set by the lender, and then a discount applied. Current low interest rates can help make your monthly payments more manageable, but remember that if you go for a variable rate, those costs could increase at any time, so make sure you can afford to take the extra hit if interest rates do rise.
If your career is taking off, you might not want to commit to staying in one property or area. Many people are happy to move around the country to take advantage of where the best jobs are. If this sounds like you, you might decide you are better off renting for the time being. Renting offers many benefits including the freedom to move around more easily. In this case, the best advice is to be aware of unscrupulous landlords, by using a reputable lettings agency.
Why use a Letting Agent when renting?
Renting via a Letting Agent gives you the benefit of knowing that if any issues arise, such as maintenance problems, someone is on hand to address these quickly. We advise you to check that the Letting Agent is ARLA registered. This is important because ARLA agents have chosen to be regulated, understand tenant and landlord law, and follow a strict code of professional conduct. This means you will receive a professional service at all times.
Letting Agents also have the local knowledge to help you find the right property for you and avoid any dodgy areas, and can act as a middle man to help mediate between you and the landlord if any disputes arise.
If you are a young person renting for the first time, it can be difficult to demonstrate your ability to pay the rent, so you may be asked for somebody to act as a guarantor. This person will promise to cover the rent if for any reason you are unable to meet the payments. If you have just landed your first job, or if you are still studying, this could be a great way to overcome any barriers to renting your first home.
Whether you are looking to rent or buy, or even if you are still unsure, talk to us today - we can help you on your way to finding the right home for you.
It’s not just the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver who love spending time in the kitchen.
During the years I’ve been an estate agent I’ve seen plenty of prospective buyers fall head over heels with a home after laying eyes on a well-designed, stylish kitchen.
If a kitchen has the wow factor buyers often develop the ‘we want it now factor’.
Think about it though for a minute. We spend a lot of time in our kitchens, especially if it is spacious enough to include a breakfast /dining area.
It’s often where we start the day, where families socialise and of course it’s a great spot to hang out at a party. It’s been said that life is often created in bedrooms but lived out in kitchens.
We’re often asked by vendors what’s the most important room from a buyer’s perspective. In my experience I’d have to say it’s usually the kitchen.
If you are going to spend money getting your home ready to market think carefully about how your kitchen looks, feels and if it needs upgrading.
Whatever property questions you might have please don’t hesitate to ask for our expert and always honest opinion.
Thanks for reading.
Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Jon and our team on 0113 3572260 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for honest, expert and friendly advice.
Recently in our office had a chain with 6 properties involved.
That’s 6 buyers, 6 surveyors, 6 solicitors and countless chances for the deals to fall flat.
We got that deal over the line pretty smoothly with our vendor even saying they felt it wouldn’t have gone through without us.
How did we do it? Well, a good estate agent will have all the names and contact details of everyone involved in the chain.
Then it’s all about keeping on top of things, regularly chasing solicitors or surveyors, speaking with mortgage companies and liaising with clients. Daily if needs be.
At Dwell Leeds we a have panels of mortgage brokers, surveyors, solicitors we recommend. Not because we get anything out of it but we know without a doubt that they are all honest, efficient, pro active and professional.
We do everything we can to make a chain run as stress free as possible. It’s usually a lot of hard work but that’s just one of the reasons why we’re regarded so highly by clients we’ve worked for and with.
Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Jon and our team on 0113 357 2260 or email: email@example.com for honest, expert and friendly advice.
Would you like to build assets and a passive income from the comfort of your desk or even whilst sitting on the sofa with your feet up?
By registering your details with us we will add you to our Investor list. We have a team of property sourcers, marketing boffins, and property experts scouring on and off market deals for great investments for you. Forging strong relationships with Agents and Vendors, we are building a pipeline of high yielding property investments for you.
The great news is that it's completely FREE to register for updates!
Just enter your details HERE and then one of our team will CALL YOU BACK to learn more about your requirements and how we can assist you with your next investment.
What are you waiting for?
Dwell Leeds are celebrating their new website, which was published in June 2016.
The new site brings an updated look and feel to their brand, and features many improvements for users.
The site has a modern and fresh look and is easy to navigate. Whether you are a tenant, landlord, investor, seller, or buyer, there is some great information relevant to you, found easily within an intuitive menu.
There a number of Area Guides on the site designed to assist those looking to learn more about Leeds’ suburbs, perhaps ahead of moving to the area.
Other new additions include an invitation to “Meet The Team” where you can get to know the people behind the Agency and the Dwell Leeds Blog returns by popular demand.
“We’re delighted to launch the long awaited new site which really show cases what we do and how we are different to our competitors” commented ‘Head Honcho’, Jon Graham.
“Our new site also introduces a new Sourcing service which is aimed at property investors looking to grow their portfolios. This great new service enables investors and landlords in Leeds to be introduced to great property deals, whilst benefitting from our experience, knowledge, and team, to grow their assets and build passive income."
"Uniquely in Leeds, our end-to-end system means that we can expertly deal with every stage of their property investment – Sourcing, Refurbishing (adding value), Letting, Managing, and Selling. We invite anyone interested in property in Leeds to get in touch so that we can show them how we can help” said Jon.
If you would like to take a look at the website yourself you’ll find it at www.dwell-leeds.com
It could be housing a vast collection of luggage, boxes of ‘stuff’ that’s bound to come in ‘handy’ one day or it could be home to your collection of books you bought before the Kindle/iPad / E reader revolution.
Whatever you use it for you need to give it some serious thought if you are thinking of selling.
By spending a bit of time, and in some cases a little bit of money, you’ll get the most out of the spare room and can make it really attractive to potential buyers.
Some transformations which are affordable, easy to do and enhance your home’s appeal include:
Create a guest room. Even if it’s just a box room get a single bed, some nice linen and a smart bedside cabinet with a lamp and hey presto you’ve created a space which opens up possibilities in the minds of the viewers.
Turn the room into a home office. More and more people are working from home or like to have it as an option. A desk, office chair and some shelving turn your ‘junk room’ into a valued and desirable ‘think tank’ and home study.
Make the space a hobby room. This will shows viewers that your home offers them the space to live out their interests and ticks a big box on many people’s property wish lists.
Create a toy room. If you have children give them their own space and keep other areas of the house free from the clutter of toys. Just remember to keep on top of keeping it tidy when viewings are arranged.
Whatever you decide to do with that extra room, remember available space is a big selling point your home needs to utilise.
Once you’ve given your spare room a personality, what can you do with all that stuff that was housed in there?
Easy, even if you don’t have a loft or garage, look at renting a small self storage unit while your property is on the market.
If you have any questions about this, or any other property related subject please don’t hesitate to contact us.
At Dwell Leeds we really are here to help.
Thanks for reading,
Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Sam and our team on 0113 357 2260 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for honest, expert and friendly advice.
Imagine you hired a professional photographer to come and capture on film a special event you were holding and he or she turns up with a smartphone and starts clicking away.
I guess you’d be horrified, I know I would be.
When you employ a professional you expect a certain level of service.
In the photographer’s case you’d quite rightly demand they have the right equipment, and supply you with a range of photos to choose from and stick around for as long as the occasion demanded.
When it comes to special family events such as weddings, birthdays or christenings photos are incredibly important and not an area you’d want to skimp on.
It is exactly the same with property photography. The photos are THE most important tool for marketing the property online and indeed offline.
The cost of poor photography can cost you thousands of pounds when you sell your house. When we are given an instruction to sell a property we do not cut corners.
At Dwell Leeds we use professional grade equipment and train our staff to ensure each photo shows your home in its very best light.
We take the time to make sure every shot looks good so you won’t see coats over chairs, toys in the middle of the front room or even a wheelbarrow in the middle of the front path.
We’ve often revisited a property when the sun is out to take exterior shots as this often makes the pictures far more appealing. Everyone loves a blue sky backdrop.
It’s this attention to detail which help make up the big picture (pun intended, sorry) and ensure your property is shown in all its glory.
Thanks for reading.
Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Sam and our team on 0113 3572260 or email: email@example.com for honest, expert and friendly advice.
We are equally proud of keeping a focussed eye on any changes to laws and legislation which may affect our clients.
One such change has been the recent Government decision, which will come into effect on April 1, 2018, to require private rental properties to meet a minimum level of energy efficiency.
The move relates to Energy Performance Certificates (EPC). In layperson’s terms, EPCs rate the energy efficiency of a property from A to G (A being the most energy efficient).
They also contain recommendations on where you could make improvements.
The government plan is to ensure all EPC rated properties on the rental market are a least an E. This means it will be unlawful to rent out properties with an F or G rating.
I’ve already had several discussions with landlords about what this will mean for them. One thing is certain people purchasing buy to let properties will need to factor in any extra costs this change could bring.
The costs could be big enough to scupper any deal so be warned.
If you have a Buy to Let property or are thinking of investing in one please give us a call and we can explain more about the proposed changes.
Thanks for reading.
Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call our team on 0113 3572260 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for honest, expert and friendly advice.
Whenever I read or hear a story about a ‘dodgy’ estate agent my heart genuinely sinks.
The damage these rogue agents do to the industry’s reputation is appalling and makes it much harder for the vast majority of honest, hard working and professional agents to win the public’s trust.
One sharp practice is ghost gazumping. It’s when a seller agrees a fee with a buyer then a few weeks later raises the price saying they’ve received an offer from another very interested party.
When this higher offer comes in just before completion the prospective buyer is faced with coming up with thousands of pounds more or suffering the agony of losing their ideal home.
That kind of practice is bad enough but often the last minute mystery bidder doesn’t even exist. Some unscrupulous agents are involved in this web of deceit and it sickens me.
If you ever come across this practice please report it to The Property Ombudsman.
At Dwell Leeds I can hand on heart promise you we never, ever get involved in these kinds of immoral and dishonest practices.
I remember reading about an example of ghost gazumping in 2008.
A seller, who was a property developer, had agreed a price on a refurbished home with a young family. It was their dream place and they couldn’t wait to move in.
Then the seller took advice from his agent suggesting he could up the price as the property market had risen since their offer.
The seller agreed and said someone had come in with an offer of £10,000 more (no one had) and that he needed them to beat this offer. No doubt he and the agent were banking on the family’s desire for this home.
To cut a long story short the family, as heartbroken as they were, couldn’t raise the extra money and out of principle pulled out of the deal.
Now for the bit that makes me believe in property karma. Just two weeks after the buyers pulled out the credit crash hit wreaking havoc in the housing market. Almost overnight the market dried up like the Sahara.
The greedy seller in question was left with a property he couldn’t sell. Prices in his area tumbled as buyers simply wouldn’t or couldn’t make offers.
With a desperate bank banging down his door calling in the loan he had taken out on the property he was left with no option but to sell for a very low price simply to cut his losses.
In the end he lost more than £150,000 simply by trying to wring out an extra £10,000 from a young family. Good I hear you cry and I agree.
The unscrupulous agent also missed out on the commission and tarnished their reputation (and unfortunately the industry’s).
At Dwell Leeds we always act with integrity and advise honestly so you won’t have to fear ghosts or prices that go and jump in the night.
Thanks for reading.
Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Dwell Leeds and our team on 0113 3572260 or email: email@example.com for honest, expert and friendly advice.
Put simply most people love being outside when the better weather arrives.
When spring takes centre stage, people tend to feel happier and serious buyers get out and about in droves.
However, some people who prepare their home for sale either fail to ensure their garden looks as attractive as possible.
At Dwell Leeds we have many prospective buyers giving us their property wish list. A garden is very often on those lists.
In some cases people are even more specific and state their new home MUST have a south or west facing garden so they can soak up the most hours of sunshine.
A good garden can be a huge plus point for buyers, especially those with young children or planning a family.
You don’t have to be Alan Titchmarsh or Monty Don to make it more appealing. At the very least you should make sure it is tidy, clutter free and colourful if possible.
A trip to the garden centre should provide a lot of ideas about how you can breathe new life into your garden.
So don’t just think outside of the box when getting your property prepared to sale – think outside of your home.
Thanks for reading,
Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Dwell Leeds and our team on 0113 3572260 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for honest, expert and friendly advice.
A footballer being sent off for an early shower doesn’t have the same ring to it does it? (Have you seen the baths in the dressing rooms at Wembley Stadium? Seriously, you could actually swim in them.)
Having a soak in a hot shower doesn’t sound quite as appealing as relaxing in the tub.
However, we’re seeing more and more properties without baths. The most common reason for this is to create extra space.
If you have a big bathroom and a capable builder often, with a bit of creativity, you can turn the space into two rooms – a bathroom and box/study room – by installing a shower and removing the bath.
Having a bath is often seen as a luxury in our increasingly hectic lifestyles. Does having one or not affect a property’s value? Not really.
Some people will insist on having a bath especially if they have young children but a lot of our buyers don’t seem to have a strong preference.
For me, having a bath after a long, busy day is fantastic. Now where did I leave the bath salts?
Thanks for reading,
Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Jon and our team on 0113 2572260 or email: email@example.com for honest, expert and friendly advice.
This means we have walked a mile in our clients’ shoes and can see our business from their perspective.
We were discussing this in our office this week. One of the biggest frustrations we had with our individual dealings with estate agents was how hard it was to speak with them. Basic stuff, but very important when you’re making what will probably be the biggest purchase/sale of your life.
I remember when I was in the process of buying my first home and leaving messages for the agent to call me but only getting a response two or three days later.
It was one of the things we vowed to do differently when we started Dwell Leeds.
That’s why we include our mobile numbers on our business cards. That’s also why we operate an ‘out of hours’ service where if a client wants to contact us after usual office hours they can.
In the age of the internet we could have gone down the route of being an online only estate agency, having a virtual office somewhere and doing the majority of our work over the phone or via email.
But from our own buying and selling experience we all agreed that having offices in prominent local locations would help us deliver even better client service.
We get lots of people popping into our office to discuss how their sale is progressing or to book a valuation. For me that face to face interaction is incredibly important.
When you instruct an agent to work on your behalf you want there to be trust and rapport. We believe the best way to achieve that is by meeting with and talking to people about their needs.
Thanks for reading,
Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Jon and our team on 0113 3572260 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for honest, expert and friendly advice.
Home buyers nowadays make even quicker snap judgments than they did a decade ago.
We constantly find that buyers want properties that not only appeal to their eyes but also their noses.
I’m sure you’ve read or heard about how properties where the smell of coffee brewing or freshly baked bread makes viewers swoon.
However, in the real world it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have an endless stream of homemade loaves in the oven or a constant cafetiere on the go – unless you’re selling a coffee shop of course.
Realistically the best way to create an instant positive impact on once someone’s sense of smell when they have stepped through your front door is a combination or ALL of the following:
- Fresh flowers – not only look good they smell good
- Freshly painted walls – always a good investment when preparing a property for sale.
- Clean crisp bed sheets and don’t forget there are some fantastically subtle plug-in air fresheners are on the market now.
The smells to avoid like an overflowing fish bin on the hottest day of the year include:
- Stale tobacco.
- Food caddies which are full of old food in the kitchen
- Cheap and nasty air fresheners.
- Old cat litter, damp dog blankets and any other animal related smells.
Put simply nice smells sell while stale air fails.
Thanks for reading,
Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Jon and our team on 0113 3572260 or email: email@example.com for honest, expert and friendly advice.
There is no way any agent doing their job properly can charge £500 and make money. They would have to cut more corners than a Grand Prix driver in several key areas just to break even or reduce their losses.
For a property to achieve its best price in the shortest possible period of time it needs to be well marketed.
Online portals aren’t cheap, neither are professionally designed marketing materials. However, the area where the vendor can get really short-changed by a ‘cheap’ fee is the level of personal service they receive.
When an agency bases its business on charging rock bottom fees there’s no way they can attract the best level of staff because good people won’t work for low wages. The saying ‘if you pay peanuts you get monkeys’ springs to mind.
Remember selling your home is probably one of the single biggest transactions you will make in your life.
You want to get the best possible price for your property. The difference between a quick sale and a good sale could be tens (even hundreds) of thousands of pounds.
At Dwell Leeds we’re flexible on our commission fees to a point. We’re not a ‘pile them high, sell them cheap’ agency but we do understand it’s a competitive market and we always aim to be competitive.
But one thing we never compromise on is our commitment to looking after your property needs as best we can.
Thanks for reading
Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Jon and our team on0113 357 2260 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for honest, expert and friendly advice.
Leeds is a dynamic and exciting place to live but if you’re looking for your first home in the city, choosing the best area to live can prove to be a little daunting!
Here at Dwell our portfolio of professional lets in Leeds covers a wide range of areas so we thought we’d offer an insight into just some of the best places to live for Leeds-newbies. Our next post will give more ideas on great places to live in Leeds for professional tenants.
Leeds City Centre
Living in the centre of Leeds is an obvious choice for professionals and is the ideal location for anyone who works in the city centre. Including a wide range of stylish options for city-centre living, our property portfolio covers stunning executive apartments and well-designed flats.
Leeds city centre boasts some of the best shopping opportunities outside London, alongside countless restaurants, bars and cafes. Leeds now enjoys a reputation for its distinctive cultural scene, thanks to the city’s wide range of museums, art galleries, theatres and music venues. If you like nothing more than being right at the heart of the action and within easy reach of the office, Leeds city centre will be right up your street!
Just north of the city centre, Headingley has become a firm favourite with young professionals and students alike. Offering an unbeatable selection of gorgeous period properties, many of which have been converted into elegant flats, Headingley’s tree-lined streets are within easy reach of the city centre.
Living in Headingly doesn’t mean that you’ll have to head into the city centre for entertainment though as this diverse area of Leeds boasts a great selection of independent shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and several cinemas. The perfect location for anyone who likes to maintain a hip and happening social life, we think Headingley is pretty hard to beat.
Whether you’re a young professional or a busy working family, we think you’ll find that Chapel Allerton ticks all the right boxes. This area of Leeds has a really relaxed feel to it, thanks to its mixture of stylish independent shops, laid-back cafes and bars. Properties in Chapel Allerton are as diverse as the area itself and include everything from spacious detached Victorian homes, through to contemporary new build apartments.
Chapel Allerton is within easy reach of Leeds city centre and because of its location to the north east, also makes a great place to live if you need to commute to towns such as Harrogate and Wetherby.
Cookridge offers the best of both worlds: a tranquil, leafy suburb, this lovely area of Leeds offers a great range of local amenities whilst being within easy commuting distance of the city centre.
Cookridge has its very own ‘village centre’ and thanks to its location in-between the areas of Headingley and Horsforth, a wide selection of shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants are within easy reach. Golf enthusiasts will appreciate the 18 hole course at Cookridge Hall but if golf isn’t your thing, Cookridge Hall also has a fantastic fitness centre and gym.
Cookridge offers a diverse choice of housing, ranging from spacious detached properties through to stylish flats. A superb location for professionals who want to live within easy reach of the office, Cookridge has a real cosy village feel; perfect for getting away from it all at the weekends and after work.
If you’re looking for a professional let in Leeds we hope this insight will help! This article covers just a few of the residential areas Leeds has to offer. Here at Dwell Leeds we’re specialists in helping professionals find their ideal home in Leeds and if you would like advice on the best area for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Don't forget to come back in a few weeks time for more suggestions on great locations for professional lets in Leeds.
To learn more about the best areas for professional lets in Leeds, check out our area guides by clicking on the links in the footers.
Although renting has become a way of life for many young professionals, for many it’s not a situation they want to be in. However it does mean that for anyone considering investing in a rental property in the Leeds area, the chances of finding tenants are higher than ever, making buy-to-let a cost-effective option once again.
Savers are finding that the returns on their accounts are pretty dismal; making the figures for investing in buy-to-let looks increasingly appealing. The demand for rental properties among young professionals unable to make that first step onto the housing ladders is rising with many having to rent during their 20s, 30s and even beyond. The average first-time buyer is now in their thirties with the age of those buying their first property without financial help being older.
Countrywide, the UK’s biggest lettings agency, released figures this week which show that the average rent in England, Scotland and Wales has risen for six months in a row, hitting the £842 mark last month. This is a 0.8 per cent increase year-on-year.
Whilst average yields (the annual rent as a percentage of the price paid for a property) are a very healthy 6.2 per cent, it is still essential to make sensible choices when it comes to choosing a property and tenants. Although young professionals are often seen as reliable tenants, it is very important adequate identity, credit and reference checks are carried out before the keys are handed over.
Remember that location is key to any successful buy-to-let investment. Rental properties in Leeds near stations tend to be snapped up and we find that properties within walking distance of Burley Park or Horsforth stations, for example, are always popular. It’s also worth considering how close a property is to local amenities such as restaurants or a gym.
Investing in a buy-to-let property in a university city such as Leeds can prove a wise investment as many young professionals settle in the city in which they studied, with many gravitating away from ‘traditional’ student areas such as Headingley or Hyde Park to Leeds city centre and the leafy suburbs of Roundhay, Chapel Allerton or Cookridge.
One final piece of advice: if you’re considering investing in buy-to-let, don’t discount a property that you wouldn’t want to live in yourself! Remember that the let-ability of a property often boils down to location and that many young professionals simply want to be within easy reach of transport to work or a couple of decent places to eat out!
Last Updated: 10/07/2017 10:12:20 Tags: Guarantee Your Deposit Back
It’s a fair arrangement, however sometimes disagreements can arise about the condition the property was in when tenants arrived, compared to the state it has been left in. It’s been known that (a minority of) unscrupulous landlords may try to cash in, by claiming items have been damaged or the property needed cleaning, in order to make a claim on the deposit.
To avoid this type of disagreement arising, it is important to make sure that a thorough inventory of the property is issued at the start of the tenancy agreement. This should include all furniture, fittings and fixtures and other items that are provided by the landlord, as well as the condition of the property overall. The more detailed this is the better, as this will avoid disputes arising later.
You should also make sure that any items belonging to the landlord remain at the property, and that the property is thoroughly cleaned before you leave. Any maintenance issues such as broken appliances should always be reported to the landlord at the time they arise, as it is their responsibility to repair these for you if they are included in the tenancy agreement. If you wait until you vacate the property to report issues, you might find it leads to problems later on.
A good landlord or agent will write to you to remind you of your responsibilities with a check list of items that you should go through before you leave so that nothing is missed. This may include cleaning, carpet cleaning, blown lightbulbs, and removal of rubbish or other items that belong to you. It is however your responsibility to ensure you are thorough at this stage as you waould not be allowed to re enter the property after the end of the tenancy.
If you are currently experiencing rental deposit problems, yet you feel the property has been left in excellent condition, you do have some options. If you are on an assured shorthold tenancy agreement (and most renters are, unless you are a lodger) your landlord or letting agent should by law be in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. This is a Government backed scheme to ensure tenant’s
deposits are protected. Your landlord has to pay your deposit into the scheme, and unless they have a valid reason not to return it to you at the end of the tenancy, you should get all of your deposit back.
If you feel your landlord is withholding your money without good grounds, and you need some rental property deposit help, you can use the ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) service, which is provided as part of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Under the ADR, your situation will be assessed by an independent third party, and they will determine how the deposit is to be split considering the evidence.
We hope this guide has been helpful, and of you need any support in finding your next property, whether renting or buying, we’d be happy to help.