Property Refurbishment And Becoming A Landlord

If you are thinking of becoming a landlord, or maybe you have a portfolio already and you are looking at adding more properties, then one of the best strategies for entering the market is to find a house in a state of disrepair and fix it up.

This involves buying a run down house, carrying out the repairs quickly, increasing the value of the property and then renting it out.

It’s becoming more popular to totally refurbish a property, extend the loft, build an extension and add extra bedrooms to increase rental income.

Planning is key

Before you undertake any refurbishment work, you have to make sure you plan ahead, you need a project plan in place to make sure you are working to a timeline and a budget.

Your project plan needs to include all of the tasks you have organised for each room, what order you are going to carry them out, and how much you plan on spending for each room

Budgeting is extremely important, especially on room-to-room basis, you would be amazed at the amount of people who don’t do this correctly, and end up over extending themselves financially.

If you budget by room, then once you have completed one, then you know how much you have spent and you can control your budget more rigidly.

The typical scenario for bad planning involves starting with a budget in mind, then going to B&Q and getting excited when you see the additional fittings you can have, so you choose the most expensive taps, and worktops etc.

The next thing you know you are 5 grand over budget, and you have eaten into your potential profit from the refurb.

Worst case scenario, you run out of money and can’t complete the project, leaving the property standing empty with no rental income.

This is why good planning is key, and sticking to your budget even more so.

Its very important to organise tasks in order, and prioritise key elements such as structural defects to make sure you get the big jobs out the way first, as they tend to be the most time consuming and costly.

Now for the décor

Once all the big messy jobs are out of the way its time to add a bit of sparkle to the property.

Making the house look nice on the inside will not only add value to the property, but it increases the chances of renting out the property quicker for a higher rental value.

Fittings and furniture should be seen as an investment, as these are the eye catching elements of your property that make the house more appealing to tenants.

The thing to keep in mind here is that you are not decorating the house for you, so you have to be more neutral in your choice of colours and fittings.

What appeals to you may not necessarily appeal to your prospective tenants, so if you have a particular favourite colour, you best think twice about doing the whole house just to satisfy your own tastes.

Fixtures and fittings is the most common area for people to go over budget. This is when people get over excited as the walk around B&Q, and pay over budget for swan neck taps, and expensive light fittings.

You have to keep in mind that you will have to replace these if a tenant damages them, so find the middle ground where you can get nice looking fittings that don’t break the bank, and stay within your budget.

Finding the right tradesman

To carry out a refurbishment to a high standard means you will have to find good tradesman, electrics and gas in particular require certified professionals to sign off any work, and you will need a gas safety certificate before you can rent out a property.

Finding good reliable tradesman can be a skill in itself, so make sure you take advice from friends and family, ask around to see if you know anyone who has had work carried out recently, who where their contractor? How much did they cost?

Asking these questions and doing your homework before you undertake any work can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Ideally it would be best to use a good refurbishment company from Liverpool to carry out the work, a good team can take care of everything for you and complete the work quickly, and to a high standard.

So your newly refurbished property can be let out to the right tenant.

If you are thinking about doing a renovation, or becoming a landlord and need advice, then the staff at James Kristian are on hand to discuss the process with you, and we can even recommend some good reliable tradesman to help you on your way.

Should I Sell My Home Or Rent It Out

One of the situations we come across at James Kristian is clients’ who are relocating and face the issue of selling their home as part of the move.

One a few occasions’ clients of ours have come to the point in their life when the kids have grown up and left the family home, and they decide to move to a warmer climate to escape the cold winters.

Or they have inherited a house from family in addition to the one they own.

But that leaves the question what do we do with our house? Do we sell? Or do we rent it out?

If you need the cash funds, then you may have to sell your home, if that is the case then the best steps to take would be to put the house on the market and sell.

If this is the situation you find yourself in, then make sure prepare your home correctly for the sale, to ensure you maximise the value of the property.

The more money you make from the sale, the more money you have in your pocket to fund your move. So it pays to put some care and attention into a makeover before it goes on the market.

The other alternative to selling your home is to rent it out.

This is often the case when the people who are moving are not as dependent on the money from a sale to fund the move.

They may also want to keep a base back in the UK in case they don’t settle, and so they have the option of being able to move back home should things not go as anticipated.

If this is the case then there are things to consider if you are thinking of becoming a landlord.

Do you have a strong emotional attachment to your house?

If you have never been a landlord before then you have to take into consideration the fact that you are going to be letting people into your home to live as they do, and not necessarily the way you would like them to.

It’s not uncommon for new landlords to find it hard to deal with the fact that strangers are living in their home.

You could of course rent to friends or family, but this again raises issues, and can be the basis for fallouts if the people you trust don’t keep their end of the bargain in maintaining your home in the way you expect.

So before you make the decision to rent out your property, you have to be comfortable in the fact that the house will be mostly out of your control with regard to how people are living in it.

You can of course schedule regular inspections, but if you are moving away, then this may not be so easy to do. So take some time to consider if you are happy with this.

Being a landlord is a long-term strategy.

If you want an income from your property then you have to think long term. To get the house ready to rent will take some expense, you will have to prepare the house to look its best to attract tenants and achieve the best rental price.

There are also things you need by law such as an energy performance certificate, and a gas safety certificate, which are both an expense to you before the house can be let.

You should anticipate a layout of money before the house is ready to rent, so you have to consider then the amount of time you will need to let the property before you recuperate your outlays and realise the financial benefits of being a landlord.

Tenants expect a good service.

As the landlord you will be expected to maintain the property, if the boiler breaks down in January, then you need to be able to get it fixed quickly.

A boiler can be an expensive fix, so you have to have a maintenance fund set aside to fix quickly any issues that arise.

If you don’t provide the service of being a good landlord, then your tenant won’t stick around for long.

The flipside being, if you do a good job as a landlord and your tenant’s feel assured that you are on hand to look after them, they will want to stay living there.

Be prepared for void periods.

Once a tenant moves out and the property is empty, this is known is a void period. More often than not, once a tenant leaves there will be some repairs to carry out, and a lick of paint to get it ready to rent again.

But be prepared that this could be for a number of months, and if the property has a mortgage on it, then you will have to pay this during the void period, as well as the council tax on the property.

So make sure you prepare in advance for this by having pot of money set aside to cover void periods, ideally you should have six months worth of money set aside to cover void periods.

And when the property is let you should also set aside a portion of it to bank and save for the next time it becomes empty.

A lot to think about.

If you are thinking of becoming a landlord there are a lot of points to consider, and if you’re in two minds and not so sure you can cope with the demands of being a landlord, then selling may be the best option for you.

However the benefits of holding on to a property are very good, over a period of 10 – 15 years the property could significantly increase in value, and the rental income adds revenue to your life.

The key to having a good experience as a landlord is finding the right tenant. And it can be trial and error if you are doing it yourself without the proper checks.

If you would like help in finding the right tenant, the James Kristian is on hand to help you.

We offer both a tenant finding service, and full management, meaning you can leave the whole process to us and we will take care of the property on your behalf.

We do full reference, credit checks and property inspections, and we pride ourselves on the long-term relationships we have with both landlords and tenants.

So if you would like some advice on being a landlord, then feel free to give us a call or pop in for a chat in the office, and one of our friendly staff will be on hand to give you the right advice.

Selling The House This Winter? Here are some tips for a quick sale.

Summery walls - James Kristian

Well the New Year is almost upon us, and it’s time to start planning for the months to come. January is often the time to make changes in your life, and more often than not this is the time when people make the decision to sell their homes.

It goes without saying this is also the darkest time of the year and you need to add a bit of summer to your preparations to make the house shine in the dark nights.

The winter can make houses look drab and grey, and this can make selling your property a bit more of a challenge.

So in order to help you sell your property quickly this winter, James Kristian have compiled a series of tips to give you some ideas on how to improve the winter mood of the property, and achieve a quicker sale.

January Is The Best Month To Declutter

When Christmas is over you have to deal with the outcome of discarded wrapping paper, cardboard boxes and general clutter that always accumulates over the holiday period.

If you are thinking about putting the house on the market in the New Year, then you need to get rid of that Xmas clutter sharpish.

And don’t stop at the wrapping paper and boxes, this also gives an ideal opportunity to go through the rest of the house and get rid of everything that would put off a potential sale when people come viewing the house.

In the darker nights when the space closes in, the last thing you want to present to a potential buyer is Christmas presents still lying around, and if this is compounded by shoes in the hall and a general unkempt house.

This will give a bad first impression and could kill the sale as soon as the buyer walks in the house.

So before any viewings make sure you de-clutter the house to give a good first impression.

5 Tips to De-Clutter Your Home for A Quick Sale
Opening image for article in AARP Magazine on the social and psychological effects of clutter in the home.

Make The House Warm And Cosy

When you have viewings scheduled for your property, make sure it feels nice and warm when potential buyers walk in.

Turn up the heating before the viewing so the rooms are nice and warm, don’t make it a sauna, but you need to make the viewers feel cosy when they enter the property.

Block any draughts, and use brightly coloured throws and cushions to give the place a nice homely feel to the property.

This will go a long way in making sure buyers will leave with the impression that this is a place they would like to live in.

warm and cosy room - James Kristian

Add a bit of summer to the Walls

For a small investment in some paint and brushes ahead of any viewings, take the time to freshen up the place with some bright colours that will add a bit of summer to the place.

When the door opens from a gloomy January day, it will make a really good impression if the first thing that hits the buyers is a bright rooms that make them forget about the winter weather outside.

Bright airy rooms also make the house seem bigger, and space is always a premium when buyers are looking for a new place to live.

Make sure you get the painting done well ahead of any viewings, as you don’t want the smell of fresh paint overwhelming your visitors as they enter your property.

Summery walls - James Kristian

Give the garden a makeover

The depths of winter are not the best times to be getting in some gardening, but if you are looking for quick sale this winter, then make sure you take the time to clean up the fallen leaves from the garden.

Get the rake out and fill some bags and give the garden a quick winter makeover, a few hours spent tidying up the garden ahead of any viewings will make a real impression when it comes to making a sale.

If the garden is clean and tidy it will look bigger, and give off the impression of space, but also allows the buyers to visualise how they would like it, seeing themselves sitting outside in the summer months enjoying a barbecue.

A nice garden is a massive selling point, so make the effort to show it at its best, even though its winter.

winter garden tidy up - James Kristian

First impressions count

January is a busy time for house moves, this is the time of year when people make changes in their lives, and finding a new place to live is often of those big decisions.

So when it comes to putting your house up for sale, make sure you take the time and effort to present it the best way possible.

Especially in the winter months, if you can make your house stand out against the gloom of winter, then you will be ahead of the competition when it comes to making the sale.

If you need any help or advice on the best way to present your property to achieve a quick sale then our friendly staff at James Kristian are here to give you help and advice on how to do this effectively.

Feel free to give us a call or pop into our estate agents in Waterloo, and we will be happy to have a chat with you.

Estate Agents Fees You Get What You Pay For

Estate Agents Fees You Get What You Pay For

There is an old saying that ‘you get what you pay for’ and when you’re looking for the best deal when selling a house, then a discount fee can sometimes lead to a discounted service.

This hasn’t been the best week for the discounted online only estate agents, it seems the second largest online agent Emoove are in financial trouble and are looking for a buyer.

From the first introduction of the online only agent, and the buzz they generated with their seemingly cheaper deal for the consumer.

Generally with an up front fee, it seems the online only model may not be working in the way it was intended, and hasn’t taken the gains in market share which where anticipated.

One of the most well known of the online agents, Purple Bricks has seen its share price drop over 60% in the last six months, whilst increasing its up front fees for its clients.

An independent property research group The Advisory, have carried out a report, which throws up some interesting results for a comparison of how the online only model works compared to the high street agent.

While the online only model may seem like the cheapest option for the seller to achieve the lowest fees for the sale.

It appears the one thing they can’t account for is the added value the high street estate agent brings to the sale.

Figures from the report showed that a good high street agent can:

  • Increase viewings by 48%
  • Increase offers by 64%
  • Generate a more secure buyer who was willing to pay a better price by 73% of the time
  • Averaging a 5% higher priced sale than the online only agents.

The key takeaways being without the assistance of a high street agent, 73% of the homes used in the study, would not have sold, remained on the market longer or would have needed the price to drop to achieve the sale.

And 5% may not sound like the biggest margin to lose on a sale, but when you put that into figures it looks a different picture.

£250,000                                                                                         £12,500

£180,000                                                                                         £9000

£100,000                                                                                         £5000

So if you hear someone tell you they achieved a quick sale from an online only agent, then you should be thinking about how much profit they have lost from not using a good high street agent who would have gotten a better price.

There is one main point that the online portals fail to grasp, and that is selling a property is highly emotional commitment.

And people need assistance and the human touch to achieve their sale.

Putting a house for sale online only and waiting for bookings via Rightmove is a limited strategy.

The importance of a personal relationship with your agent cannot be understated, whether it’s advice on how to best prepare the house for the best sale.

Having someone to talk to for reassurance during the sales process, and being that important link between the seller and the buyer when it comes to sales and negotiation of the price.

Having the knowledge of the local area and amenities can be hugely influential when it comes to negotiating the best price.

A properly trained estate agent is used to negotiation and the sales process, this is something that is built up over years of experience dealing with multiple sales.

As opposed to a homeowner who has no experience in this field. And may be more prone to accepting a lower price for their property.

Where the online estate agents stole a march is in their use of technology, allowing for ease of access for viewing properties online and booking viewings from the ease of their own home in the evenings after work.

This particularly appeals to the younger more computer savvy searcher, who are more prone to doing things via laptops or mobile phones.

But to have a complete service for the seller it appears being an online only agent is not enough.

In the case of Emoove it appears sellers who signed up and paid their up front fee of £895 might not see their money again if the company goes into administration.

It would seem the best way forward for the high street agent is to embrace the online strategies as a hybrid way to give the very best services to sellers.

So not only can you have the personal touch that comes with the high street, but also the online functionality to be able to view properties online and book viewings at a time that suits them, from the convenience of the setee.

And when it comes to getting the best price for your property, then you have the negotiation skills of an experienced estate agent to make sure you get the best deal for you.

The moral of the story here is a quick sale is not always the best sale, especially when you take into account the amount of money you could be losing from the sale.

And the professional help and reassurance you get with a high street agent goes a long way to getting a better price for you.

Plus, it takes away the hassle of doing viewings yourself when you may not be comfortable being involved in sales and negotiation.

At James Kristian we pride ourselves in being an estate agent that embraces both the personalised high street approach, and the convenience of the online culture.

You can view any of our properties for sale online, and book viewings via our website from the convenience of your own home.

We then follow up our online capabilities with our years of personalised service.

This helps ups to achieve the best service and price for all parties concerned, with a bespoke service for you.

You don’t want to be leaving money on the table when it comes to a sale, we have plenty of experience with houses for sale in Bootle and all the surrounding areas.

So if you are thinking about selling a property why not contact us, either give us a call, drop in and see us, or contact us via our website.

One of our experienced friendly estate agents is on hand to deliver you the best price for your property.

 

 

 

7 Things To Consider When Viewing A Property

structural cracks

Buying a house is the more than likely the biggest expense you will undertake in your lifetime. So, when it comes to viewing a property you need to make sure you view it properly to ensure you don’t end up buying a money pit.

This could be your home for many years, and unless you’re purposely looking for a fixer upper, then you need a checklist to help you make the right decision.
James Kristian have put together a checklist to help when you are viewing properties, to help you make the right decision.

1. Is the building structurally sound

The first thing you need to be looking at from a property is the outside structure, are there any major cracks in the brick work that may need attention.

This could be an indication of structural issues, the places to check are around the windows, if it’s an end terrace check the gable end for any signs of bowing. And if there is an existing extension look at where the brickwork joins the main building for any issues.

If you see any potential issues then ask the homeowner or estate agent during your viewing, they may not have noticed themselves, a house gains wear and tear and not all cracks may signal trouble.

As part of the sales process there will be a survey carried out, and for further reassurance chartered surveyors have years of experience to spot issues and highlight if needed.

structural cracks

2. Look for damp

Damp is pretty easy to spot once you enter a property, look for wet spots on the walls, and you will generally get a musty smell in the house if there is damp present.

The most obvious place to spot damp, are around the windows, in the corner of rooms, and on the top of the skirting boards.

Look for any freshly painted spots that may look out of place with the rest of the décor, as this may be freshly painted to hide damp.

Damp

3. Is there enough space for your needs

When you view a property its easy to get excited about the new décor, or the sunlight gleaming through the windows, or the new garden if it has one.

But don’t forget practicality, is the new place going to be big enough for you?
If you have couches and beds you are going to take with you then make sure you measure them before you view the new property.

Then when you conduct your viewing you can pull out the tape measure and make sure everything fits, even if you are planning on buying new furniture, then take a trip to the store before the viewing, or find the measurements online.

The last thing you want is to be there on moving day to find out your furniture doesn’t fit.

Measure for furniture

4. Check the waterworks

Check the water pressure in the taps by running them as you view the property. Have the pipes been lagged so they are insulated from the cold during the winter, you don’t want to move in and have a pipe burst on you.

Is there central heating?

Check the age of the boiler and the radiators, does the heating work ok, and check the hot water temperature.

These are all things you can check quickly for piece of mind, having to replace a boiler as soon as you move in will be big expense so check carefully.

5. Check the wiring

Rewiring a property is an expensive undertaking, so it’s essential to take a look a look at the wiring in its current form.

Look at the sockets, do they seem old, are they cracked? Are there enough sockets throughout the house for all your power needs?

And ask to look at fuse board, does it look modern and up to date, you may not be an electrician but if you know one it may be worth asking them to accompany you, or take some pictures on your phone to show someone who knows.

Dodgy wiring

 

6. Is there adequate parking

One of the essential items on the checklist for a new home, is there enough parking space?

And this may be one you have to check on alternate occasions.

If you view the property by day, then most people will be at work and so the road the property is on may seem empty with plenty of parking spaces.

So it’s worth driving by in the evening and weekends to see just how congested the road becomes, and whether it’s still easy enough to park.

There is nothing worse than coming home from work in the winter and having to walk a good distance from where you park to where you live.

So make sure you do your homework.

7. Are the local amenities any good

If you like the quiet life you don’t want to be living near a busy bar and restaurant area, but on the other hand it may be a bonus to live close to a town centre where these are all on your doorstep.

If you do like the quiet life you still need to get to a local shop for a pint of milk.
So make sure you check the local area for the usual suspects, post office, supermarket, transport links and schools.

Locak Amenities

Looking for a new place to live whether it be to buy or let is a big undertaking, and it’s really important you do your homework.

Take the time to do all the necessary checks to make sure there are no hiccups.

If you need help looking to find a new place, James Kristian are on hand to help you in any way.

Our friendly staff is here to make sure we answer any queries you may have with your new home.

So give us a call or pop into our offices on Waterloo for a chat.

5 Tips to De-Clutter Your Home for A Quick Sale

5 Tips to De-Clutter Your Home for A Quick Sale

If you were going to ask any of the staff at James Kristian, ‘what is the biggest issue that prevents a property sale?’

The answer would most definitely be ‘clutter’, if there is one thing prevents a property from achieving its best value at the point of sale, it’s the fact that a property is untidy, or cluttered when the potential buyers came to view the property.

When someone comes to view a property with the intent of buying, there is one thing in particular they are looking for……. space.

That’s right, the majority of people who are looking to buy a property are looking for more room.

So, if you’re in the position of looking to sell your property, the best thing you can do is create as much space as you can, to show the property in its best light.

Nobody wants to be viewing a cluttered property when in a buying frame of mind. Stepping over shoes or clambering over kids toys is not the best way you can present your property.

First impressions last, and if you present your house in cluttered way, then your property will take longer to sell, and you may have to reduce the price.

Fortunately, de-cluttering is a simple and cheap way of staging your house, so its presented in the best way for a quick sale, at the best value to you.

So James Kristian have put together 5 tips to help you declutter your home to make that sale in the quickest time for the best price.

5 Tips to De-Clutter Your Home for A Quick Sale

1. Declutter by category and not by room

You may think the best way to declutter is to do it room by room, when actually the best way to do it is by category, and by that we mean by shoes, clothes, books etc etc.

Clothing is usually the biggest form of clutter in a house, items hanging on the back of chairs, multiple coats in the hallway hanging on the banister.

These are the things that are unappealing to the eye when someone enters your home.

Find somewhere to hide the families shoes, which are usually in a pile behind the front door.

And books need to be neatly arranged to present a tidy and formal look to your property.

And even though it can be emotional, take down the excessive photos from around the house, if your walls are covered in pictures and photographs, this will close in the room and make it feel small.

Clean tidy rooms give the impression of space and will help the sale.

sort by category

2.Leave nostalgia at the door

When it comes to clearing clutter, you have to leave your nostalgia out of the equation.

You may have an old rug given to you by your mum, or an old book case that’s seen better days in the corner of the room.

But if its not improving the look of the room, then it has to go, lots of people get nostalgic about items in their house, so it may be worth getting a second opinion from a friend.

If you’re preparing or thinking about selling your house, then ask someone you trust to walk around with you and ask for honest feedback on what they like, and what would put them off buying.

It may not be what you want to hear, but this is about staging the property to appeal to someone you don’t know, so what’s nostalgic to you will be clutter to them.

The thing to remember is you don’t have to get rid of them for good, because you can take them with you when you move.

Just find a temporary home to make the space for the sale.

Nostalgic Clutter

3.Make the decision to ditch

Decluttering gives you a great chance for good old clear out, especially when it comes to clothing, I know its hard, you have that special t-shirt from the concert you went to back in the day.

Or the shoes you bought that you never ever wore…..but you will one day, when the occasion crops up.

When it comes to decluttering, there is no room for sentiment, keep or sweep, that is the question.

Collect all the items you are thinking of getting rid, and have two bags, keep or sweep.

Then make the decision yes into keep, and no into sweep, and don’t get sentimental, this could be the factor in making that sale.

 

4. To Iron is fine, but fold for gold.

Once you have removed all your declutter items, then you have to make what’s left presentable. And the last thing you want when someone is looking through you wardrobes, is untidy, un-ironed clothes hanging there for all to see.

If you are going to hang clothes during a viewing, make sure they are ironed and looking neat on the hangers, and make sure the hangers match.

But to create the illusion of space, its better to fold clothing away, and leave the hanger space empty, so anyone viewing can imagine their own clothes in the wardrobes.

Wardrobe space is a premium, so make it count.

5.Decluttering is good for the soul

Its good to have a good old clear out now and again, and if the occasion of selling your property prompts that, then take the chance to make it a good one.

Its very cathartic to cleanse yourself of unwanted clutter, it may be a big task, but its one worth doing.

If you need to get rid of excessive clothing and shoes, then take them to homeless shelter or charity shop.

Not only are you preparing your house to make as much profit as you can, but you can actually help someone who needs those items more than you.

You can also sell unwanted household items on eBay for a bit more cash.

And once done you will be ready to stage your property for that sale, and onwards and upwards.

If you are thinking of selling a property and need advice on the best way to present it for sale, then one of our friendly James Kristian staff will be more than happy to help advise you.

Feel free to pop in for a coffee at our estate agents in Waterloo,  or give us a call for a friendly chat anytime.

 

 

Three Steps to Take for Landlords Who Are New To Lettings

landlord checklist

If you have recently come to inherit a property, maybe in circumstances such as moving house but keeping your existing property as a secondary income.

Maybe you’ve met a new partner and moved in, leaving you in the position of having to be a prospective landlord.

At first glance this may seem a great opportunity, you now own real estate, which can bring in a second income and increase in value over the years.

But first impressions can be deceiving, the reality of being a landlord, especially when it’s thrust upon you can be anything but plain sailing. Being a landlord enters you into a world of property legislation and tax liabilities.

There are many laws that govern the lettings industry, and if you’re a new landlord who has been put in the position outside of circumstances, then you could be unwittingly breaking the law without knowing it.

So you need to be educated on the laws you have to adhere to if you are going to be a landlord. And ignorance is no excuse when it comes to the law.

The property has to be to a certain standard to let out, and this may entail having to spend out money to bring it up to good standard to attract the best rental income.

Apart from the décor, the correct health and safety regulations have to be adhered to, or you could be putting your tenants lives at risk.

A flurry of extra income is always welcome, however if you don’t know the best tax efficient ways to handle property income, then you could find yourself with a large tax bill in the future.

There are also the hidden costs of running a buy to let property; you need to budget accordingly for any unforeseen circumstances, such as a boiler repair, leaking gutters or to fix a leaking roof.

leaky roof

These kinds of property issues can be costly and will dent your wallet if you do not have a slush fund in place to cover repairs.

But its not all doom and gloom, finding yourself in the position of having an extra property to rent out is a great position to be in.

And there are steps you can take to ensure your tenure as a landlord gets off to a great start.

1. Get sound financial advice from a property tax specialist

Before you take steps to rent out a property, make sure you get the right tax advice. There are new tax laws in place for buy to let landlords, and you need to be aware.

A good property tax specialist will be able to advise you on the best tax efficient strategies to minimise your tax returns.

Property tax

They can help you to maximise the profit from the property, both in terms of rental income, and increased property value over time.

If you are to inherit the property from a relative, then they can advise you on the probate procedures if needed.

2. Do you have the correct mortgage in place

For a buy to let property it’s very important to have the correct mortgage in place. If this is a property you previously lived in, then you have to inform your mortgage provider when circumstances have changed.

Your provider can move you onto a buy to let mortgage, if the property is not your primary residence, then you can’t have a residential mortgage.

An independent buy to let mortgage broker can search to find you the best deal across a range of lenders, ensuring you have the best interest rate will help boost the profits from the rental income.

If the property comes with no mortgage at all, it’s still a good idea to take advice, as you may want to lend against the property to carry out any Refurb work required, and still turn a profit.

3. Find the right local agent to let and manage your property for you

If you are new to buy to let and are unsure on how to find a good tenant, why not let an experienced letting agent take away the hassle of having to find a tenant, properly reference them and let out the property.

Piece of mind is worth the fee, which is also tax deductible, a good letting agents services are an investment and should represent good value to you.

Your local letting agent should be a member of the appropriate industry professional bodies. Meaning staff are highly trained to look after your needs, and abide by a code of conduct.

If you have just become a new landlord and are looking for the right tenant, and more importantly the right advice on how to maximise rental profit and have a successful let.

Why not give James Kristian a call, or pay us a visit and one of our friendly team will be on hand to give you the right advice to help you on your journey as a new landlord.

 

Important Landlord Information for Selective Licensing

Dear Landlord

As you may be aware on the 21st September 2017, Sefton Council approved the designation of a selective licensing scheme for all privately rented properties within parts of Sefton (please see the attached for the list of areas included).

This came into effect on the 1st March 2018 and will last for a period of 5 years up until 28th February 2023. If your property falls within the Selective Licensing area you will need to apply for a Housing License before the 1st September 2018.

Selective Licensing requires landlords who privately rent out properties in the designated area to obtain a license from the Council. Landlords will be required to meet a range of licence conditions and show that they have appropriate management arrangements in place.

You can contact us for a list of the roads which are included in the licensing.

What is the licensing process?

This is the process that your application will then follow as it moves towards the grant of a Housing licence.  Please note that your application will only become valid when steps 1 to 5 have been completed.

  1. You compete and submit your online application form with the first payment, a copy of your application will be held within your account area and you will receive an email acknowledging your submission and receipt of payment.
  2. The Council then process your form, you may be asked for further information if not included with your application.
  3. A Notice of Intention to Grant a Licence will be issued to you and to any other interested parties. The notice will invite you to make any representations you wish to make on the conditions included in the draft licence. If you decide to make representations you must do this within 14 days from the date on the notice.
  4. The balance of licence fee will be requested within 14 days if full payment is not received your property will remain unlicensed.
  5. Final licence will be issued after representations (if any), have been considered and resolved.
  6. We will contact you to arrange an appointment with you to inspect the property. The inspection may be arranged sooner in respect of ‘higher risk’ premises such as HMO than in the case of some single-family properties, however we fully intend to inspect all licensed premises within the course of the licence.
  7. Where an inspection of the property has taken place, you will be informed of the outcome.
  8. If an inspection identifies licensing issues or housing related hazards that need to be addressed, the licence may be varied by including additional conditions and/or may require other action to remove any serious hazards under the ‘Housing Health & Safety Rating System’ (HHSRS).

The cost of the License Application is £695.00.

We have now been Accredited by Sefton Council, which entitles ourselves to a discounted rate of £495.00.We are proud to be one of only four agents in the borough to pass this accreditation and it has been a lengthy process, so we apologise for not writing sooner.

We have a good relationship with the Selective Licensing Team so if you would like us to submit the application on your behalf then this would involve us putting the License in our name, which then prompt any correspondence being sent to ourselves, which allows us to act quickly on any requests or conditions from Sefton Council, and completing the above steps 1-8 on your behalf. The cost for us to submit the license to all landlords is £100.00 per property.

 

For further information regarding licensing your property, please don’t hesitate to contact James Kristian today.

Tel: 0151 928 8822

10 Things Every Landlord Needs to Know Before Letting Out a Property

To Let - James Kristian

If you are thinking of renting out a property, or even if you are an established landlord, then there are certain boxes that need to be ticked before you can put the property on the market to let.

If not done correctly then you may find the house causing issues for you over the longer term.

Preparation is key to ensure a successful rental period for a landlord.

At James Kristian we have plenty of experience in handling properties for landlords, so we’ve put together a list to help you as a prospective landlord to make sure you get going on the right footing.

1. Make sure the property is competitively priced.

You must do your research when it comes to pricing your property for the rental market, everyone wants to maximise the rental profit you make every month.

However, if the property is overpriced it will sit empty as you lose tenants to more competitively priced properties.

The last thing you want is for a property to be sitting vacant for months.

The best way to research is to look at properties in your street, or the local area and see what they rent out at.

You can even book viewings to see how your property compares to others in terms of price and décor, this will help you to set your monthly rental price.

Then once you know the average prices for rent in your area, you can price accordingly and put the house on the market.

2. Plan for uncertain outcomes with the correct landlord insurance.

Landlord insurance is different from regular insurance, so make sure you have the correct insurance in place when you rent out your property.

If you don’t and something goes wrong, then you may be in serious trouble, both from a legal and financial standpoint.

A good landlord policy can cover you for rent protection, or if there are any legal disputes with your tenants.

But mostly it will cover you if there is any significant damage to the property, if you have a break in, or if there is damage to the property from a sitting tenant, the piece of mind that comes from having good robust policy in place is worth its weigh in gold.

3. Account for unseen expenses

One thing for sure if you’re a landlord, you will at some point have to pay out money you never accounted for. This may be from a broken window repair to having to replace a boiler.

Its very important that you have a reserve if money that you can tap into in an emergency. This is so important, and one of the main points new landlords overlook.

A pot of money is needed to pay the rent in times of void periods to see you through and pay the mortgage. Ideally you need at least six months’ worth of mortgage payments in reserve for void periods.

When the winter comes calling, this is generally when your expenses increase, especially when it comes to boiler repairs and leaks.

So its vital you have your emergency repair fund in place, a happy tenant tends to be a long term tenant, and fixing repairs quickly is one way to make sure your relationship and reputation as a landlord is well respected.

4. Pay attention to the law

If you’re a landlord with only one rental property, it is still a business, and as such needs to be treated as one.

You must be fully versed in the legal requirements for UK landlords, indeed you have to know any regional laws dictated by your local councils for tenancy requirements.

This is a heavily regulated industry and you need to make sure you stay on the right side of the law, you don’t want your own ignorance to cost you money, or wind you up in court because you don’t know the laws associated with being a landlord.

5. Know your tax obligations in relation to section 24.

The tax laws are not so friendly anymore for private landlords, and with the introduction of Section 24, and the phased reduction in tax relief for mortgage payments. It means you have to really crunch your numbers when it comes to making a profit from your rental income.

If you are looking into becoming a landlord for the first time, then you need to look into the advantages of setting up a limited company for property acquisition.

The moral of the story when in comes to property tax, do your homework on the operational costs for you, speak to an accountant who specialises in property to make sure it’s a viable option for you.

6. Consider a Gas Repair Policy

If there is one thing you can guarantee as a landlord, at some point you will have to fix or replace a broken boiler. And boilers have a tendency to break at the most inconvenient times.

Leaving you to receive a late night call from a cold and disgruntled tenant, one way you can remedy this is to take out a gas/boiler repair policy.

This will give you access to a 24hr call out and repair service, this can really be lifesaver for a landlord.

Private contractors can be very expensive to call out at 2am to repair a boiler, so if you don’t have any good friends that fix boilers, make sure you plan ahead with a policy.

Factor the cost into your rental income and sleep easier knowing when that late night call comes you’re prepared.

7. Find reliable tradesman for your maintenance team.

When it comes to getting work done on your property, it’s important to find tradesman who are good at what they do, and are reliable.

Particularly with gas and electrics, these two areas are probably the ones you will deal with most, and it’s very important to use registered tradesman for your yearly gas certificate.

There are websites to help you find trusted tradesman, and also ask for referrals from people who have had work carried out recently.

8. Don’t skimp when it comes to paying for work.

The old saying goes ‘ You get what you pay for ‘ and this is certainly true when it comes to hiring tradesman.

Cheapest is definitely not the best option.

If you choose to fix and Refurb at the cheapest possible cost, then it won’t be long before you are paying out again as the cheap work and cheap materials cost you more in the long run.

It’s worth paying out for quality work, as it will save you more over time.

Plus if your tenant knows you won’t pay out for decent work, they will not be as inclined to look after your property.

9. Carry out thorough tenant checks and know your tenancy agreement

There are ways and means to run checks on potential tenants from various online sources, and it always helps to get references off previous landlords or employers.

A guarantor for the deposit and any repairs is also an extra reassurance for you as the landlord, in the event of any uncertainty.

And make sure you know exactly the terms on the tenancy agreement, how long is the agreement for, and any other stipulations that make it appropriate for your property.

If you are renting privately, when you meet the tenant ask them any important questions you need to feel they are right for your property.

10. Choose a reliable letting agent carefully

If renting out your property is not something you want to do privately, then the next option is to use a letting agent.

But like finding a good tradesman, make sure you do your homework; don’t be afraid to ask questions to your potential agent.

How long have they been operating?

What professional bodies do they belong to?

Can they provide any testimonials from other landlords?

Above all choose an agent with professionalism and experience to help you rent out your property. One you can have a mutually beneficial working relationship with.

 

If you need any further advice on renting out your property, why not give James Kristian a call, and we will be only to glad to help you.

10 Ways To Keep The House Cool In A Heatwave

The UK is currently experiencing a heat wave like we haven’t had for years, the weather has been so good, people are outside enjoying the sun, looking pink and burned in some instances.

Enjoying time in the parks or down the beach, or sitting in a beer garden watching the world cup, it’s shaping up to be a great summer.

The downside to such warm weather though is it can make your home uncomfortable to live in during the heat wave. Especially when you are trying to sleep.

So James Kristian have compiled a list of tips to help you keep cool in your home as the heat wave continues to grip.

1.  Keep the blinds closed.

It may seem obvious but the majority of the heat that comes into your home comes via the windows, as much as 30% of the heat that warms up your home.

An easy way to beat the heat is to keep the curtains or blinds closed during the day, it may darken the room, but it can reduce the heat in your home by up to 20%.

This is especially true if you have south facing windows, where the heat is most prevalent.

Window blinds

2. Check the Airflow

If you have all of the internal doors closed where you live, then this will create that stuffy feeling of warm air in your home.

It’s best to create airflow throughout the property, so open up all of you internal doors to let the cooler air flow through your property.

This is important in the evenings when the air is cooler outside, opening the doors will allow the cooler air into the bedrooms to help you sleep easier in the evenings.

Air flow

3. Change the Sheets

If you don’t have summer bed linen then maybe it’s time to invest in some lightweight cotton sheets.

Ideally it’s best to swap your winter quilt for a lighter cooler option during the warmer months.

Opting for cooler cotton sheets is the better option, keep away from the satin and silk options, as they are not as breathable, so will not be as cool whilst trying to sleep, and don’t forget to opt for lighter colours that reflect the heat, and don’t absorb it.

Cotton sheets

4. Freezer Tricks

If the heat is becoming really unbearable, one trick you can use is to place your bed sheets into the freezer before you sleep.

The chill won’t last all night but it will give you a cool start, the thing to remember though is to place the sheets into a bag first, so they don’t gain any unfriendly stains or smells.

Another good trick for the freezer is to reverse the use of a hot water bottle, by adding cold water to the bottle and freezing it in the fridge.

You can then take the frozen bottle to bed, to help keep you cool as you sleep.

Frozen hot water bottle

5. Stick to the salads

Eating hot food during a heat wave is only going to raise your core temperature, so if you plan on making a roast dinner, then expect your temperature to go through the roof.

Especially if you have had the oven going for hours on a hot summers day, this will also raise the temperature through out the house.

So stick to the salads, where the food comes straight from the fridge, not only is it lighter in your stomach, but its cooler to eat and won’t send your internal thermometer souring.

Summer Salad

6. Keep the body temp down

It may seem obvious but keeping yourself cool is very important, one of the biggest risks during a heat wave is dehydration.

So make sure you take in plenty of cool fluids, water is always the best for hydration, you can keep a jug in the fridge to keep I cold.

A cold beer is tempting, but that will dehydrate you, stick to the water in general and keep in the shade.

Also wear light airy clothing to keep the ventilation going round the body when the sun is shining and the temperatures rising.

Cold water

7. Turn off the appliances

There are so many devices in our lives these days there is almost always something on charge, or turned on.

All those devices turned on around the house are going to create unnecessary heat throughout your home.

So take the time to switch off all appliances that are not being used, and this will keep the rooms cooler, and save you some money off your household bills.

Plug socket

8. Use your fans to full effect

Fans are a great help when it comes to coping with the summer heat, and a way to help this further is to place a bowl of icy water in front of the fan, as the ice evaporates it will spread cool air around the room.

You can also point fans towards open windows and this will help to push back the hot air, keeping the room cooler.

And if you have ceiling fans, then set them to rotate counter clockwise as this pulls the hot air away from the room.

Icy Fan

9. Use the garden

A longer-term plan for keeping the temperature of your house down is to plant trees and shrubbery to create shade.

If you know the locations where the sun has the most impact on heating up your home, then this is the ideal place to plant a tree or a tall bush.

Climbers and vines are great for stopping the sun from blazing in and warming you up.

So this may not make an impact during this year’s heat wave, but you will reap the benefits in the coming years.

Tree shade

10. Paint it White

White reflects the heat, so it makes sense to paint your house to reflect the heat during the summer months.

You can also use this method for your home interior, using white throws to cover couches and the like will also help to keep the temperatures down during these hot summer months.

So there you have our tips for keeping cool for the rest of the summer, we are sure you can use them to keep cool as the heat rises.

One other solution for keeping cooler may be to find a different property to live in, whether that’s to buy a house, or to rent a house, a bigger cooler space may be just what you need.

If that is the case then James Kristian can help you find the right place for your needs.

Feel free to contact us at any time, and one of our friendly professional staff will be on hand to help.

Have a great summer.