A Landlords Guide For Stress Free Lettings

Landlord services Liverpool - James Kristian

Are you looking for help with finding and screening suitable tenants? Perhaps you want the peace of mind and convenience of a comprehensive round-the-clock letting and property management service that takes care of everything?

Whatever level of support you need James Kristian can provide the landlord service that is right for you.

We have more than 20 years experience in letting properties in the North West. Our clients range from private landlords with one small rental property to buy-to-let investment landlords with a property portfolio.

As standard we have 4 different levels of service:

  • Marketing only service

Perfect for landlords that have their own experienced staff to conduct viewings and manage their investment. The property will be marketed extensively including all the major property portals, our website and 24hr touchscreen window display.

  • Tenant find service

Perfect for landlords who have the time and experience to manage their own investment, but want assistance with finding a suitable tenant and accompanying the viewings.

  • Let only service

Perfect for landlords who want to manage the tenancy themselves but want to ensure all the paperwork (tenancy agreement, inventory and statement of condition) is completed professionally.

  • Fully managed Letting service

Perfect for landlords who have limited time, or are travelling / living overseas, and want to outsource the entire day to day tenancy management and upkeep of their property investment to a professional property management agent.

All our services can be tailored to suit your individual needs and we will provide a written quote with absolutely no obligation.

We understand that becoming a Landlord can be a daunting experience. So we have provided you this step-by-step guide to what’s involved in letting your property.

We have included information on some of your legal obligations and practical matters as well as an overview of all the services we offer.

So whether you are thinking of letting your property for the first time or you’re an experienced landlord looking for a new letting agent service, please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

Getting Started

Our knowledge of the local rental market coupled with a tailored approach to advertising will help you set an achievable rent and find the right tenant.

Property appraisal and valuation

We offer an independent assessment of your property by one of our trained and experienced members of staff.

This is free of charge and with absolutely no obligation.

We will visit your property and advise you of any work required to meet regulatory requirements.

We will also offer advice on any other actions you need to take before you let the property including necessary repairs or refurbishments.

It’s important that you set a rent that is competitively priced, fair and achievable. Using our extensive knowledge of the local rental market, we will assess how much your property could fetch in the current climate.

Our rental valuation will take into consideration the location, size, standard and condition of the property and whether it will be let furnished, part furnished or unfurnished.

During the assessment we will be happy to discuss the lettings process with you and answer your questions.

If you are first time landlord you will have plenty of opportunity to find out more about what is involved in letting a residential property.

Effective advertising and marketing

At James Kristian we use the very latest technology and proven marketing techniques to advertise our rental properties.

We use all the major property websites including RightMove, Zoopla and Prime Location.

Our own website www.james-kristian.co.uk is responsive, which means it automatically optimises the display to work and look good on smartphones and tablets.

This gives your rental property the highest possible online exposure, whichever device your potential tenant uses.

Our online marketing activity includes social media through our Facebook pages and Twitter account. We supplement this with press advertising, email marketing campaigns and our distinctive ‘To Let’ boards.

We tailor our marketing approach to the type of tenant you are looking for to attract genuine interest.

Once instructed, one of the first things we do is to match a property with our list of waiting tenants and send them your property particulars by email with alerts via SMS text message.

High quality photography and floor plans are fundamental to presenting your rental property in the best possible way.

James Kristian takes the time to capture the best picture of each room and show off its best features, ensuring every picture looks professional.

Location is a primary factor for people when choosing somewhere to rent and our online property particulars include information on transport links, schools, shopping and leisure facilities and other local amenities with useful maps of the area

Securing the most suitable tenant

As a landlord, you need peace of mind that the right tenants will be living in your property. All potential tenants on our rental database are pre-qualified by us before we carry out viewings to ensure they are suitable.

All property viewings are accompanied and conducted by a fully trained member of our team and we provide prompt and honest feedback.

We will keep you up-to-date on progress and will let you know as soon as someone applies to rent your property.

We take up tenant references and credit checks on your behalf using a specialist referencing agency.

This vetting process is a critical step in securing a reliable tenant for you.

Preparing you property to let – the legal essentials

Our experienced lettings team will provide the latest information and guidance to ensure you meet all your legal obligations as a Landlord.

Energy Performance Certificate

All properties for rent must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before any marketing or viewings can take place. An EPC rates energy efficiency and its environmental impact and is valid for ten years for rental properties.

A copy of the EPC must be made available to tenants before entering into a tenancy agreement. If you do not have an EPC for your property, James Kristian can arrange an inspection for you.

Gas Safety

Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, landlords have a legal obligation to make sure all gas pipework, appliances, fittings and flues are safe to use and maintained in a safe condition.

Every gas appliance and flue must be tested for gas safety every 12 months.

A Gas Safety record must be provided to existing tenants within 28 days of the annual safety check, or to new tenants before they move in, and you must keep copies yourself for two years.

All installation, maintenance and safety checks must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. We can arrange this for you.

Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety Amendment) Regulations 2010

Upholstered furniture and soft furnishings supplied in a rented property must comply with current regulations.

This includes, but is not limited to, bed frames, mattresses, headboards, sofa beds, pillows, cushions, seat pads and any garden furniture that may be used indoors.

Items, which comply, will have a suitable permanent label attached. All non-compliant items must be removed before a tenant moves in.

Bedding, carpets, curtains and any furniture made before 1950 are exempt.

Electrical Safety

Landlords are required to ensure that the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when tenants move in and maintained in a safe condition.

Although not a legal requirement, it is strongly recommended that you have the property inspected and tested by a registered electrician every five years and arrange Portable Appliance Testing (PAT test) once a year, to ensure electrical appliances are safe and fit for purpose.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

New regulations introduced in October 2015 require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their rental property and test them at the start of every tenancy, and to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.

Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

If you own a property and rent it our, your local council may decide to do an HHSRS inspection. Inspectors look at 29 health and safety areas.

Consent to Let

If your property is mortgaged, you must obtain written consent to let from your mortgage lender. If it is leasehold, your lease may require written consent from your landlord before you can sub-let.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

If your property is let to at least three tenants who share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities but are not from one household or family – sometimes called a ‘house share’ – it is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Depending on the size of the property, the number of tenants and the area, you are likely to need an HMO licence from your local council plus an HHSRS inspection. We can advise you on this.

Buildings Insurance

Landlords are required by law to take out buildings insurance for rental properties. We advise our clients to also consider contents insurance and policies to cover rent guarantee and legal expenses.

Letting your property – moving your tenant in

Our experienced lettings service ensures everything is in place for a smooth and trouble-free start to renting out your property.

Tenancy Agreement

This is a legally binding agreement, setting out the rights and obligations of both Landlord and Tenant.

Most residential properties are let on an Assured Shorthold tenancy (AST) for an initial fixed term of 6 or 12 months. We will prepare all the paperwork and draw up a comprehensive legal document for signing.

If we are fully managing your tenancy and rental property for you, then the tenancy agreement will include those activities we will be responsible for on your behalf.

Inventory / Schedule of Condition

All of the inventories produced for James Kristian clients contain a full written description of the property, it’s contents and schedule of condition inside and out, including the walls, flooring and all fixtures, fittings and furnishings.

We also offer market leading 360° photographs to protect our landlords, this provides a crucial legal reference in case of any discrepancy or claim against a tenant’s deposit at the end of a tenancy.

Utilities & Council Tax

Usually, it is the tenants’ responsibility to pay utility bills and council tax. We can organise all meter readings and arrange the transfer of water rates, gas, electricity and Council Tax accounts to the tenant.

Deposit Schemes

A deposit is paid by the tenant at the start of a tenancy to safeguard against damage.

Since April 2007, all new Assured Shorthold Tenancies must be registered with a government-backed tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme within 30 days of receipt of the deposit.

If we were not providing our Fully Managed Letting Service to you, then you would need to register the deposit with a TDP scheme yourself.

Landlords should be aware that there are significant penalties for failing to comply with deposit protection requirements.

Right to rent check

Landlords of properties throughout England must check that the prospective tenant has the right to rent before letting them a property.

Strict government legislation was introduced, if not completed correctly large fines can be imposed for none compliance.

Council Selective Licensing

Selective licensing requires landlords who privately rent out properties in the designated area to obtain a licence from the Council.

Liverpool & Sefton councils have already introduced this and Landlords are required to meet a range of licence conditions, and show that they have appropriate management arrangements in place.

Day to Day Management

Once you tenant has moved in we can take care of your property, tenancy arrangements and your landlord duties throughout the tenancy and beyond

Keys

You should provide at least one set of keys for each tenant. Where we will be managing the property for you, we will also require a full set, which will be coded for security purposes. We can arrange to have duplicates cut.

Collecting rent

James Kristian offers a rent collection service as part of its Fully Managed Letting Service for busy landlords. We collect rent monthly unless the Tenancy Agreement specifies otherwise.

Occasionally, tenants may experience financial difficulties and our rent collection service includes chasing any late payments.

We will notify you at the earliest opportunity of any rent arrears. You can protect against loss of rental income with an insurance policy; we can suggest one if you wish.

We pay the rent to landlords monthly by BACS (net of our fees and any disbursements, bills and income tax if appropriate) and provide monthly income and expenditure records.

Rental income and Taxation

As a landlord, you are responsible for assess your own tax for rent received. Below is some basic guidance on taxation matters relevant to landlords; however we would always recommend you seek independent financial advice from an accountant on tax matters.

Income Tax

Rental income is liable to tax, although a number of expenditure items can be offset against rental profit. You also need to pay Class 2 National Insurance if the work you do counts as running a property business.

Overseas Landlords

Under the Non-Resident Landlord (NRL) Scheme, your lettings agent will need to deduct tax from the rental income and pay the tax directly to HM Revenue & Customs.

If you choose not to use a lettings agent to collect rent, then your tenant will be legally responsible for collecting and paying the tax to HMRC.

Alternatively, landlords living overseas can apply for approval to receive rental income with no tax deducted. Full details of NRL Scheme are available from HMRC.

Inspections, maintenance and repairs

The practicalities of being a landlord can be very time-consuming. With our Fully Managed Letting Service we take care of all the day-to-day management and upkeep of your rental property so you don’t need to worry about it.

We will carry out regular routine inspections – usually quarterly – at a mutually convenient time agreed with the tenant.

This will involve visual inspections, assessing any wear and tear, and organising maintenance and compliance checks.

If we identify any problems we will advise you and, depending on our agreement with you, we can arrange for repairs and any work to be done on the property and pay for this out of the rent received.

We have an in house team of trades people as well as a network of reliable and trustworthy contractors we can call on to deal with routine repairs or emergencies at very competitive rates.

Tenancy Renewals, reviews and notices

We will handle all tenancy renewals, including rental reviews, for you. If you decide to increase the rent we will issue the relevant notice informing your tenants.

If you wish to end a tenancy, we will serve notice to your tenants in line with all legal process and timing requirements and manage all the end of tenancy administration.

End of tenancy checks and deposit returns

At the end of a tenancy the landlord should ensure the property is in a good, clean condition before the tenant checks out, take back the keys and formerly take possession of the property.

Assuming there are no issues and all paperwork is completed, utility companies notified and you have a forwarding address for the tenant, the landlord should return the tenant’s deposit.

This is all included as part of our Fully managed Letting Service.

Remarketing

No landlord wants a vacant property. If a tenancy is not renewed, we offer landlords who take our Fully Managed Letting Service an automatic property appraisal, rental valuation and remarketing service until we find a new tenant.

Piece of mind for busy landlords

Choose our Fully Managed Letting Service and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the rent. Your dedicated Property Manager will take care of everything and keep you informed.

Once your property is let the work doesn’t stop there. Today’s tenants can be quite demanding, expecting maximum value for their rental.

Whether it is fridge failure or a leaking shower, you can be sure any tenant will want a swift repair, however inconvenient the timing may be for you.

This is why our clients value our full property management service where we look after any repairs and tenancy issues for you.

And, for your peace of mind, we also visit the property regularly and organise any maintenance and safety compliance checks, assuring you that your property remains in sound condition and your legal obligations are met.

Personal service

You will have your own Property Manager who will look after every aspect of the let and your property throughout the life of the tenancy. Our landlord clients tell us they appreciate the continuity and accountability of a single point of contact.

Pop in for a chat

If you are looking to rent out a property or you already do and may be looking for management, then why not pop into our office in Waterloo for a chat to see how James Kristian can help you.

One of our friendly staff is on hand to give you the best advice on how to let out your property with minimal fuss.

Top Tips For First Time House Buyers

One of the biggest challenges in adulthood is making the move to get on the property ladder and buying your first home.

You may have been renting a house in Bootle for a time, or living at home with your parents, but at some point you start to think about owning your own place.

If you are paying rent, then why not pay a mortgage on a house that one day will add in value and become and asset.

Getting started is the hardest part, so here are some tips to help you on the way.

Start Saving Early

Get a head start - James Kristian

The early bird catches the worm they say, and this is especially true when it comes to saving, the earlier the better.

Budgeting is key when it comes to saving, and if you are serious about getting a deposit together then it pays to have a plan.

Whether you get paid weekly or monthly you have to have a saving plan in place, so you have to know ‘your number’ i.e. the minimum amount of money you need to cover the essentials.

Factor travel money for work, rent, utility bills and any other essentials, then what you have left work out the maximum you can afford to save towards your deposit.

Open up a Help to Buy ISA and set up a direct debit so you automate your savings process, and as an added bonus the government will add a 25% bonus to your savings.

If you haven’t already then start today, the earlier you get going the quicker you will have your deposit.

Workout Your Price Range

Property Values - James Kristian

One of the best things to do when you are starting out your search is to find out how much you can borrow for your mortgage.

The best way to do this is to speak to an independent mortgage advisor, they will take all your details, how much you earn etc, and then they can look at a range of mortgage products, and DIP you.

Which means a ‘decision in principle’ by a mortgage provider; this will also tell you how much you can borrow for your mortgage.

Its important to speak to a mortgage advisor at the start of your process, as this will give you a realistic figure for you to work with, then you can start looking for properties that fall within your budget.

Time To Do Your Research

Explore your options - James Kristian

Now you have a figure in place, and a mortgage in principle its time to research properties in your price range.

Do you want to buy a house or an apartment? Do you have a specific area in mind?

You may want to stay close to work, or have good transport links, these are all important things to consider when looking for place to buy.

So thorough research is a vital part of the process as you consider what you can afford, what type of property you want, and where you want to live.

Get Your Ducks In A Row

Get your ducks in a row - James Kristian

Now you are actively looking for your first home its important to make sure you have all the correct items for the purchase.

To be considered for a mortgage you will have to provide proof of income, utility bills and bank statements.

So make sure you can have easy access to all the essential paperwork, it is best to plan in advance and know where they are.

If you start the process and the provider asks you for your financial details, you can delay the process for yourself if you don’t have everything to hand.

So plan ahead and get your paperwork in order before you start making offers.

Start Your Search

Start your search - James Kristian

Now you have everything in place its time to start looking for your new home. You can search online at your local estate agents, or use Right Move to look for properties.

You can use filters to set your location and price range, and this will return a range of properties that fit your requirements.

This is an excellent way to start the viewing process, once you have a list of properties you’re interested in, you can then contact the estate agent to arrange viewings.

Its best to view during daylight hours as this will help give you the full perspective on the property and the surrounding area.

If you plan on doing multiple viewings in a day, then allow enough time to make the journey between viewings.

Its unlikely you will find your dream home on your first viewing so be patient in the process and you will find success, it’s important not to rush.

Make Your Offer

Make your offer - James Kristian

Once you have found a property you would like to buy, its time to make your offer. Working with your estate agent to liaise between you and the seller to make the deal.

It’s tempting to want to under offer on the price and make a bit of a saving, but its important to not offend the seller and scupper the deal.

Talk with your estate agent before you make your offer and see if there is any wiggle room on price, then once you have established what a sensible offer is, your estate agent can make the offer to the seller.

Then once you have your offer accepted you are well on the way to owning your first home.

Take Care Of The Paperwork

Take care of the paperwork - James Kristian

Now you are good to go its time to get the ball rolling with the legal side of the buying process, you can instruct your solicitor to take care of the conveyance for the property.

This is another area where patience is required as depending on the speed of both solicitors for seller and buyer, it can sometimes be a drawn out process.

It pays to keep in touch with your estate agent as they can help liaise with both parties to help the process move quickly to completion.

Collect Your Keys

Collect your keys - James Kristian

Once everything has moved along and contracts have been exchanged, its time to pick up the keys. You are at the end of the process and the owner of your first home.

Your estate agent will have the keys waiting for you to collect and you are on your way.

At James Kristian we have helped many first time buyers to find and move in to their first home.

If you are thinking about your first property and a bit unsure of the best way to move forward, then why not call in for a coffee, or give us a call to discuss your situation.

One of our friendly staff will be on hand to give you advice and help you on the way to becoming a first time homeowner.

Thinking of Buying a Home? Then You Must Follow The Golden Rules

Thinking of Buying a Home? Then You Must Follow The Golden Rules

If you’re in the market for buying a new home, maybe you are a first time buyer, or you are looking to move on from your current house.

There are many things to consider when you are buying houses for sale in Liverpool; do you have the deposit in place? Do you have the solicitors etc?

If you don’t have everything in place, but just want to test the market, and do some viewings, then you need you to take some points into consideration before you start making appointments.

Time is Money

It’s easy to get excited about the prospect of buying a new home, especially if you have been window shopping estate agents websites for inspiration.

And its very tempting to call up and book viewings for properties, its great fun to have a mooch around someone’s home and pretend its yours.

Window shopping online and a test visit may be fine, but if you’re not really ready to buy, and you are taking viewings regularly, then you can quickly sour your relationship with estate agents.

If you book a viewing but have no intention of buying, this means a representative from the estate agent will have to book time to leave the office to show you around the house.

And secondly the homeowner would have spent time and effort preparing the house to have it in its best appearance for you.

As Estate Agents James Kristian takes pride in the relationships we build with our buyers to find them their next home, and likewise we take great pride in the relationships we build with our sellers.

So if you are in the mode of ‘just looking’ then that’s no problem, we are more than happy to assist you with advice, and to stay in touch for when you are ready to buy.

But we do please ask to take into consideration that booking viewings when not ready to buy takes the time of the business, and alerts seller’s emotional expectations.

So please inform your estate agent exactly where you are in the process and they will be more than happy to help you.

Put yourself in the best position to proceed

As obvious as it may sound you cannot buy a home till you have been approved for a mortgage.

You may have a deposit saved and in the bank ready to go, but do you have the mortgage offer in place?

Before you even start looking at properties you should seek advice from an independent mortgage broker.  They will be able to look at your details and run the best deals for you from a range of mortgage providers.

If everything checks out they will be able to get you a mortgage offer in principle.

Then you will know how much you can lend, and start your search for a house.

Part of being accepted for a mortgage is credit checks, so its vital you speak to a broker to get you a mortgage, if your credit history isn’t great, then this will be highlighted as part of the checks.

This can be a real blow if you are expecting to move forward seamlessly, so take the time to put your ducks in a row, and if you haven’t yet spoken with a broker and are wondering about your credit status, you can use this free credit checker to make your own investigations.

Then once you have your mortgage in place you are ready to start viewings.

Appointments are made to be met

When you book an appointment to view a property you put the owner on alert to make the house look great prior to your arrival.

They may have spent a considerable amount of time getting the place ready the day before, and went to some expense buying cleaning materials.

What also happens is in the back of their mind they are thinking is your visit may lead to a sale for them, so they start getting their hopes up in anticipation.

So once you have made a booking to view a property, make it a priority to attend, and at the arranged time.

If for some reason you are going to be late, then call ahead and let the estate agent know, and they will inform the seller.

If for some reason you can’t make the viewing, again inform your estate agent at the earliest convenience so they can rearrange for you.

You can imagine yourself if you were the seller and the viewer didn’t show without any warning, I’m sure you would be disappointed after making the effort to get the place ready for you.

So all we ask is for as estate agents is a little consideration if you can’t make a viewing, and we can rearrange another time that suits you best.

Not every home is suitable for you

One of the things estate agents rely on is feedback from viewings, and quite often if a viewing doesn’t go as planned for the viewer; they can be a bit coy on the reasons that put them off making an offer.

Some people just feel uneasy about giving negative feedback, but its ok because it helps the estate agent to speak to the seller and relay the issues that prevented an offer.

The estate agent can then feed back to the seller and hopefully improve issues that may be preventing the sale.

So feedback is great, even if its negative as this help us make improvements for the next viewing and help the seller to gain the sale.

Is your offer credible

Everyone likes a bargain, and if you want to be taken seriously as a buyer then your offer must be based on facts.

It never ceases to amaze agents how low people can go from the asking price and expect a sale.

There may well be room for some negotiation on price depending on the sellers position, however you can quickly sour that position and offend the seller if your offer is ridiculously low.

So be realistic when you bid, take some time to look at the prices of houses in the same street, or nearby.

This will give you an idea of what you can offer realistically, especially if you have viewed a house and really liked it, if you offend the seller with your offer it may be something you regret in the long term.

If you are in the market for buying a house, or even if you are just thinking about it, then feel free to give James Kristian a call and we will be more than happy to help you out.

One of our friendly team is on hand to give you the best advice and help you find a house, or advise you on the best way to move forward in the house buying process.

Selling Your Home is An Emotional Roller Coaster: And How To Cope

They say that buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your lifetime, all the time spent saving up the deposit, scrimping away and saving every last penny to be able to afford it.

Then when you move in and make the place your own, you redesign the house, redecorate every room, put in a new kitchen and make the place yours.

The next thing you know the years have gone by, you have raised your children and the house has your stamp all over it.

The house you bought is now your home, complete with years of memories and emotions tied into it.

And for whatever the reason may be, downsizing, upsizing or relocating. If you come to the decision to sell your home in Liverpool, then all the emotions you never realised where there will kick in, and you may find it hard to keep your feelings in check.

Selling the house you have made a home can be a tremendously emotional experience, and you may find it harder than you thought to let go.

If you are thinking of selling your home then there are steps you can take to help you overcome the emotional rollercoaster you may be facing.

Be Prepared

Humans are emotional creatures, it’s in the make up of our DNA, and quite often we make judgements we go on to regret.

So when you have the idea to sell your home, the first thing to do is to take some time to think about it.

Do you really want or need to sell your home?

It may sound obvious, but it’s well worth considering, what may seem like a good idea at the time may not actually work out to be the best decision for the long term.

A good idea is to write down the pros and cons for selling or staying, if its more room you need, can you convert the loft?

You may think the house is too big now the kids have moved on, but can you be guaranteed if you move the new neighbours will be nice enough to live next door to?

Whatever the reason that’s brought you to the decision to move, make sure you take serious consideration before putting your home up for sale, as the grass may not always be greener.

Only Sell If You Are Ready

Once you have weighed up the pros and cons and you feel you really want to move, that’s when its time to put the house on the market, and not before.

One of the common things people do is still be in two minds, and put the house up with an estate agent to ‘test the water’.

This is not a good idea, if you are unsure in anyway about selling, then don’t put your home on the market, this can cause so much emotional conflict.

The minute you see strangers walking around your house viewing will cause you distress. Have I made am mistake? Do I really want to sell? Etc etc.

And if an offer comes in you may find every reason to not accept, and this is not good for you or the people viewing.

This is when the emotions really kick in.

So only put the house up for sale when you are sure you are ready, and not a moment sooner.

Price the House To Sell

Another thing that people do who are unsure if they really want to is to price the value of the house too high.

Subliminally you are saying I don’t really want to move, so I am either going to price myself out of the market, or I will accept an offer if I get a really high price.

Both of these tactics are not going to bode well for you, if you are pricing yourself out the market then do you really want to move in the first place?

And how much stress will it cause if the house sits in the market for a long time without selling?

And if you are willing to accept a high price, but don’t really want to, the motivations say you really don’t want to move, and should reconsider.

There is no use having money in your pocket and be missing the home you loved.

So if you are ready to sell, price your house accordingly and it will sell quicker for you to move on to pastures new.

Stage the House to Sell

It’s your home, the one you have built over years of hard work, but if you want to help sell it, then you have to de-personalise.

This is something people find really hard to do, take down the school photographs, remove the coats and shoes from the hall.

Take down the kid’s drawings off the fridge and basically remove all the memories you hold dear.

It may sound simple, but it’s harder than you think, and can stir strong emotions as you strip away the memories.

To sell the home you have to present a blank canvass to potential buyers, so they can imagine the house being their place to make new memories.

Let The Estate Agent Do The Viewings

If you have a strong emotional attachment to your home, when it comes to viewings, let the local estate agent take care of business.

Or you may find yourself talking potential buyers out of making an offer, even if its not intentional, you can emote strong feelings that may put a buyer off.

And you may take offence to comments viewers make about your home, as they are making a critical judgement based on their needs, not your memories unfortunately.

So leave it to your estate agent to do the viewings, they are trained to do so, and will make the sale happen quicker, relieving you from the discomfort of showing people around.

So maybe selling your home is a bigger decision than buying one, considering the emotional equity you have built, never mind the financial equity.

If you need any advice or help on how to best approach selling your home, then the staff at James Kristian have years of experience in handling property sales.

Especially when there is an emotional aspect of the sale that needs handling with care.

So please don’t hesitate to contact us today and we can help you on your way with an understanding team to guide you through the whole process.

Springtime Is The Best Time To Rent Out Your Property

Spring is here at last, and finally the days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer.

And when you have been bunkered in for the winter, spring offers the ideal chance to get outside and see how your property has faired through the winter.

Spring is traditionally the busiest time for property rentals, so if you already have houses to rent in Bootle, then it’s a good time to go and do some essential checks to make sure everything is ok for your tenants.

The obvious things to check are the guttering, door seals and anywhere that may have been affected by high winds and rain such as roof flashings and chimney breasts.

If you do find any water damage, then make sure you get it repaired immediately, water can cause a lot of expensive damage if not fixed quickly, so make sure you fix a small leak before you have to deal with something bigger.

Spring is also a great time to put your property out to rent, and if you are looking to rent out this spring then there are a few things you can do to give it the best appeal to renters.

Declutter 

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

Nobody wants to rent a messy home, and first impressions count. So before anyone comes to view your make sure you have removed all of the clutter from all the rooms.

Don’t leave shoes lying round, pick up any coats and clothes up and put them in wardrobes out of sight.

Remember that people coming to view the property are going to imagine themselves living in it, so create space by clearing clutter and removing any personal items such as posters, bikes and excessive furniture, this will go a long way in staging your property to rent out quickly.

Give the place a lick of paint

Newly painted room

Now the light is coming back its an ideal time to give your place a spruce up to rent out, when you have viewings it makes a massive difference if your property is bright and airy.

If you have taken the time to declutter then the next step of the process is to bring light into the place. And fresh, bright colours really open a room up and allow the light to give the illusion of greater space than the room may actually have.

Remember you are not decorating for yourself, you are doing it to appeal to potential renters, and so bright neutral colours are the best way forward to make your property appeal to viewers.

Give it a good spring clean

The next item on the list is to give the place a good clean, the two most common areas that both appeal to a viewer, and put off a viewer are the kitchen and bathrooms.

No one wants to walk into a kitchen and see a greasy cooker, or a dirty extractor fan. If there is a fridge in the kitchen, make sure any out of date food is removed and give it a good clean, to get rid of any lingering smells.

In the bathroom make sure the seals round the bath and shower is clean of any mould, same goes for the tiles, for a small expense it is probably worth renewing any silicone seals and touching up the grout to the tiles.

This will make a big difference in how your home is viewed by potential renters.

Give the place a good hoover through, and try to get any rogue stains from the carpets if needed.

If that all seems to daunting, then it may be worth hiring a professional cleaner who specialise in pre tenant cleans, to get the placed spruced up and ready to rent.

Tidy up the outside

If someone is thinking of renting out your property, the first thing they will do is take a drive or a walk past to see what its like, and this is where kerb appeal comes in.

If your place looks unkempt from the outside, they may not even follow through with the appointment to look at all the work you have done to make the inside look great.

Is the garden tidy? Sweep up any leaves from the garden and front step, could the front door do with a lick of paint?

Have the bins been emptied, and now spring is here maybe think about adding a couple of colourful plants via a hanging basket to the front door.

This attention to detail could be the difference between renting out your property quickly, or it sitting on the market for months.

If you need any advice on how to dress your property to make it appealing to viewers, then please don’t hesitate to contact any of our friendly staff at James Kristian, we are on hand to help you get your property rented out quickly.

D

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.