EYES ON….THIS WEEKS INVESTMENTS IN NEWARK!!!

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Here is this weeks round up of new properties for sale in NG24 up to a value of £150,000.

Here’s a quick reference guide to what is on offer, for how much and what you can expect as an investor!

Address: 42 Hawton Lane, New Balderton, Newark, NG24 3DL
Asking Price: £150,000
Property Type: 3 Bed Semi-Detached House
Estate Agent: CPG Property
Condition: Ready to Rent
Rent Range: £575-625pcm
Yield: 5%
Comments: Good size and location, lack of bath and busy road may put families with young children off and i’d maybe lose the orange and peach bedrooms but that’s personal preference. Overall a bit of a vanilla property.

Address: 15 Newnham Road, Newark, NG24 1HY
Asking Price: £119,950
Property Type: 3 Bed Mid Terraced House
Estate Agent: Winkworth
Condition: Ready to Rent
Rent Range: £475-525pcm
Yield: 5.52%
Comments: Good first time investment, quite a tight terraced street but very well presented property and close to town centre + train station. EPC TBC to check that out before committing. #16 sold in Jan for £110k with separate kitchen and dining room but similar condition…

Address: 34 Cardinal Hinsley Close, Newark, NG24 4NQ
Asking Price: £129,950
Property Type: 2 Bed Semi-Detached House
Estate Agent: Winkworth
Condition: Ready to Rent
Rent Range: £500-550pcm
Yield: 5.08%
Comments: Well presented property, not huge but will suit a small family or couple. #24 sold on the 1st Feb 2018 at a lower standard and without a garage. This property was previously marketed at £515pcm with EMPM.

Address: 16 Belvoir Crescent, Newark, NG24 4DW
Asking Price: £139,950
Property Type: 3 Bed Semi-Detached House
Estate Agent: Now Homes
Condition: Slight Update Required
Rent Range: £550-600pcm (based on update recommendations)
Yield: 5.14% (NOT including update costs)
Comments: Plenty of space but showing it’s age in places although take the curtains and lamp shades down and it’s looking younger already! I’d recommend changing the bold carpets and updating the kitchen tiles to something bright…the units too if you can. No idea about the bathroom!

Address: 58 Stafford Avenue, Balderton, Newark, NG24 3EG
Asking Price: £120,000
Property Type: 3 Bed Semi-Detached
Estate Agent: Richard Watkinson
Condition: Update Required
Rent Range: £550-600pcm (based on high end finish)
Yield: 6% (NOT including update costs)
Comments: Needs updating throughout, combination of carpets, decorating, the whole kitchen including the units and if you can, i’d remove the shower and fit a bath to appeal to families.

Buttercross Best Buy
Address: 3 Cromwell Road, Newark, NG24 1RP
Asking Price: £90,000
Property Type: 2 Bed Mid Terrace House
Estate Agent: Newton Fallowell
Condition: Ready to Rent
Rent Range: £445-495pcm
Yield: 6.6%
Comments: Small but well presented and less than £100k making it a great first time investment and great budget property for prospective tenants. #7 sold for £95k in March 2018 in a similar condition. No EPC yet so make sure you check it’s higher than an ‘E’!

Address: 29 Milton Street, Balderton, Newark, NG24 3AP
Asking Price: £105,000
Property Type: 3 Bed Semi-Detached House
Estate Agent: Alasdair Morrison
Condition: Major Update Required
Rent Range: £575-625pcm (once updated)
Yield: 7.14% (NOT including update costs)
Comments: This beauty needs an update…i’ve just seen my first aubergine bathroom suite and i think it has to go!! #35 sold in Aug 2017 for £110,000 with a much newer finish but not high end…although THIS price seems a bit high.

If any of these properties have caught your eye and you’d like to discuss it’s investment potential, call us on 01636 343014, or better still pop in for a chat and a cuppa.

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Eyes On… Wilfred Avenue, Balderton

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This week we are talking about this 3 bed end of terrace house on Wilfred Avenue in Balderton.

This would be ideal for a family looking for a 3 bedroom house in walking distance to John Hunt school.

There are not many photos and there is a serious lack of description on the listing.

The kitchen diner looks modern, in a gloss black and white design. It appears to be quite spacious with plenty of storage. Notice the paint pots that have been left out, perhaps to demonstrate just how newly decorated it is.

The lounge, from the photo, looks quite narrow but there are patio doors leading out into the garden so I presume the lounge is a little bigger than shown in the photo.

I am sure the black and white chevron style curtains are very impressive to some but it would have been a good idea to let some light in when taking the photograph to help make the lounge look bigger and brighter.

There are no photos of the bedrooms, nor an indication of the sizes. It is however a 3 bed house so is hopefully adequate for a family with at least 2 children.

There is a good size drive with space for 2 cars.

The rear garden on closer inspection has potential. There is a decking area immediately outside the house, which then leads on to a paved garden. No grass, no fuss. The existing table and chairs are roped off like a V.I.P area and I am not sure what is on the left hand side, a very shallow hot tub maybe.

A few flower pots dotted here and there, perhaps a ronseal treatment on the decking and the garden would be a good space for summer entertaining.

Close by there is a Sainsbury’s local, a Tesco express, post office, fish and chip shop and a pub. So a good range of amenities in close proximity.

Balderton is a popular place to live. There are 2 primary schools so it is a very family orientated area. It is also close to the A1 which is a big plus point for commuters.

This property would be a good rental as it falls in a popular price bracket for the area.

It is on the market for £109,995

Typically this type of property would rent out for £550 per month.

This sets it in an affordable bracket for a 3 bed family home.

Potential yield of 6%

The last 2 sales on Wilfred Avenue were:

£86,000 in February 2005
£82,000 in July 2007

The Estate Agent is Now Homes 01636 858311

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Eyes On… Barnby Gate, Newark

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This week we are talking about this 3 bedroom terraced house on Barnby Gate, Newark.

Oh where do I begin. This offers the most eclectic interior design I have seen in a while.

From the outside this property looks great. Nicely presented, nice brickwork and the houses either side are very well kept.

As you progress through the house, it gradually gets stranger.

Lounge, fine. Feature wall above the gas fire, this is purple but ok.

Kitchen, definitely needs ripping out and replacing with modern units and appliances.

Bathroom, at what point does that wallpaper go with the tiles? The bathroom looks in good shape though with a white suite and nice neutral wall tiles.

Then we get to see the 3rd bedroom in the attic. I feel confused. I feel as though as though I am in my local Greggs in Newark which is a historical Tudor building. I did not expect to see these arched beams in this house. They have been paired with some more black & white wallpaper, a beige wall and a red, patterned carpet. You will see in the next photo that the stairs leading up to this attic room is covered in another un co-ordinating striped carpet.

Whilst I can’t stop looking at the interior of this house, I think it will need toning down a touch to appeal to a wider market.

Outside there is a lawned garden so a shed wouldn’t go a miss for a lawnmower. Otherwise it might be kept in the kitchen like a property I went to see recently.

Barnby Gate is a popular street with young professionals and families. It is close to the town centre and is in catchment for Barnby Road School.

Parking can be tricky on this road as few houses have off road parking and it is also a busy cut through street.

I do believe though that with a new kitchen and some colour co-ordination, this property will be very popular. It offers 3 bedrooms, is close to a good school, is close to the town centre and will sit in an attractive rental price bracket.

Nearby there is a doctors surgery, convenience store, a park, a pub and a nail bar. Not a bad selection.

This is on the market for £112,500

Typically this type of property would rent out for £550 per month.

Potential yield of 5.8%

The last 3 sales on this part of Barnby Gate were:

£57,500 in July 2011
£91,000 in June 2014
£122,000 in July 2015

The Estate Agent is Winkworth 01636 611666

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Competition shrinks in Newark as Reality Estates gets bought out

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Reality Estates Newark

At the start of this month Newark On Trent said bye to Reality Estates after their sales and letting stock was bought out by Martin & Co. The (website) lights are on but no one is home (office is empty). Their office on Appleton Gate has been listed for sale with FHP.

I never met the team but they have been operating in Newark for over 10 years and have established themselves as a dedicated and friendly business. This is a big contrast to Martin & Co, one of the 3 franchised agents in the town, so it will be interesting to see how the landlords adapt to changes from above.

Change can always be daunting especially when it’s out of your control but I’d say to give it a chance. After all, if it doesn’t work out, switching management of your rental properties is easy. All it takes is one email to your agent and we’ll handle all the rest to ensure a smooth transfer.

Best of luck to the Reality team in their new ventures.

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Increasing competition in the letting market and how to protect your investment

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Rightmove Map

Every day I check Rightmove to see the movements in our patch around Newark & Bingham in terms of new properties to let, properties let STC and those that have been reduced. The area concerned is South of Witham St Hughs, North of Cotgrave, East of Radcliffe On Trent and West of Grantham.

Throughout most of the year the number of properties showing as available fluctuated between 195 and 205. Over the past 4-6 weeks I have seen this number grow to a staggering 235-245. This is around a 20% increase in the private rented sector properties.

The split is as follows;

  • 50% Houses
  • 23% Apartments
  • 7% Bungalows
  • 20% Commercial

What are the consequences of such a rise?

As you know with basic economics, if supply outweighs demand then prices fall. Landlords are usually encouraged to reduce rents to undercut others and attract prospective tenants. Sometimes rent free periods or cashback incentives are introduced. These options can work however it’s the landlord that suffers the financial hit. Funny that you don’t see the agent offering to reduce their fees…

Void periods are likely to increase as it takes longer to find a tenant. Be careful as you may be uninsured if properties are empty for too long. Check the terms of your insurance. This property in Newark has been on the market for almost 70 days.

How can you avoid the impact?

The better properties on the market will remain reasonably unaffected as good tenants like good homes. It’s the middle and lower quality properties that will be worse hit.

People filter properties on Rightmove in seconds so you want to make sure your property makes every tenants shortlist. Use an agent that takes high quality photographs to ensure your property stands out above the competition. Poor photographs will turn tenants off. The advert should contain a creative description about the property and the local area. This will be of great use to those moving into the area. Measure the room dimensions so that people can gauge the size of the property on offer.

Ensure you receive feedback from viewings. Agents should be getting feedback from each person that views a property and relaying that through to you. If there is a common theme such as they don’t like the olive bathroom suite then change it. Invest in your property and you will see the benefits over time.

By improving your property and marketing it better you should find that you do not have to resort to lowering the rent. That’s just a short term fix and won’t solve the problem when you’re looking for the next tenant.

If you want to work with a proactive letting agent that understands your property and the market then get in touch or pop in to see me, 4 Middle Gate, Newark.

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What to look for in a letting agent

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Choose An Agent

When you’re looking for a letting agent to manage a property for you and there are a number in your area (Over 16 in Newark alone), how do you choose? I have devised this guide so you know just what to look out for and what questions to ask.

1. Mystery Shop

How a letting agent treats tenants is crucial to them letting your property or not. Give them a call as a potential tenant and see if they are friendly and accommodating. *TOP TIP* try calling out of hours to see how calls are dealt with and how quickly they respond.

2. Tenant Fees

Tenant fees can range massively from one agent to another. Whilst you’re on the phone as them about their fees for tenants. Some agents charge separately for everything like administration, referencing, inventory, check in, renewal and check outs. Added together this could be almost as much as one months rent. Think about it, if there are two similar properties and one agent charges double the other, which would a tenant prefer?

3. Check Other Listings

Do the photos look good? Are they dark or blurry? Are they ‘selling’ the property as much as they can? Do they put effort into descriptions? This is what your property could look like and is the first thing potential tenants will see. Put it this way if you were online dating, you wouldn’t put a rubbish photo of yourself up there, so why your property?

4. Find Independent Reviews

There are many review sites out there like All Agents for example where you can see independent reviews. Look for reviews from both tenants and landlords.

5. Check What’s Included

Like fees, the service that is included varies from agent to agent. Do you have to pay extra for an inventory? Do they handle eviction notices or will you need a solicitor? Since May 2015 under the Consumer Rights Act all agents have to publicise their fees along with a description of what’s included. *TOP TIP* Use the management agreement along with the fee information to see what’s included, or more importantly, excluded.

6. Check Their Processes

How do they deal with repairs? Do you have access to a landlord portal to view statements/viewings etc?

7. Check Their Associations

Do they have client money protection in place? Which redress scheme do they belong to? Which Trade Body do they belong to?

8. Hidden Fees

Does the agent add a commission on repairs and maintenance? Do they charge tradesman for giving them work? Some agents will add on commission to a tradesman’s invoice before sending it you. Others may charge a tradesman for passing them work. Ask what their policy is and always request invoices from the tradesman. EPC’s and Gas Safety Certificates are a prime example of this. You can get both for around £50 each however most agents will charge you around £80. Some may advertise cheap fees but when you add on all the extras they can quickly turn into the most expensive.

In all, most people believe a letting agent should be knowledgeable, efficient, trustworthy and deliver a good customer service. Accept nothing less.

Download our letting agent comparison checklist and see how your agents compare.

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EMPO Training Courses – Sept to Dec

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EMPO

EMPO

We are pleased to offer the following training courses from September until the end of the year. Please note they will be held in either Nottingham or Lincoln.

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 24TH 2015 IN NOTTINGHAM – PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

99% of private rented property is now marketed online, an in an increasingly competitive market, good quality images of your property can make a big difference in attracting the best tenant paying the best price.

If you regularly advertise properties, this one day course, by a leading professional property photographer will give you the wherewithal to capture great shots and make your properties jump of the page.

To get the most out of the training you will need to bring a digital SLR camera with manual and aperture priority settings, tripod and a flashgun with bounce head.

COST FOR FULL DAY COURSE: £ 100 / DELEGATE FOR EMPO MEMBERS (INCLUDING LUNCH)

£160 / DELEGATE FOR NON EMPO MEMBERS (INCLUDING LUNCH)

THURSDAY OCTOBER 15TH 2015 IN NOTTINGHAM

MORNING COURSE – INTERMEDIATE LAW FOR LETTINGS (9:30AM – 12:45PM)

This course is designed to build on the basic law for lettings course and provides more in depth coverage of important areas of legislation and practice. Amongst the topics included will be the use of special clauses in tenancy agreements, getting dates right for section 21 notices, grounds for possession if the tenant is not behaving, working with contractors, deposit protection pitfalls as well as abandonment and surrender.

AFTERNOON COURSE – “ACCOUNTS” (2:00PM – 5:00PM)

This course discusses holding clients’ money, protecting deposits, dealing with issues surrounding overseas landlords and NRL1 forms

COST FOR EMPO MEMBERS : £ 50.00 PER COURSE OR £ 90.00 FOR FULL DAY INCLUDING LUNCH

COST FOR NON EMPO MEMBERS : £ 75.00 PER COURSE OR £ 140.00 FOR FULL DAY INCLUDING LUNCH

THURSDAY 19TH NOVEMBER 2015 IN LINCOLN

MORNING COURSE – LEGIONELLA AWARENESS COURSE (9:30AM – 12:30PM)

This course is designed to provide delegates with the knowledge necessary to be a competent person in terms of identifying the risks posed from the disease at their properties.

COST FOR EMPO MEMBERS : £ 50.00

COST FOR NON EMPO MEMBERS: £75.00

THURSDAY DECEMBER 3RD 2015 IN LINCOLN

MORNING COURSE – INTERMEDIATE LAW FOR LETTINGS (9:30AM – 12:45PM)

This course is designed to build on the basic law for lettings course and provides more in depth coverage of important areas of legislation and practice. Amongst the topics included will be the use of special clauses in tenancy agreements, getting dates right for section 21 notices, grounds for possession if the tenant is not behaving, working with contractors, deposit protection pitfalls as well as abandonment and surrender.

AFTERNOON COURSE – PRACTICAL POSSESSION PROCEEDINGS (2:00PM – 5:00PM)

This course includes use of accelerated possession proceedings, limits of accelerated possession proceedings, serving notice, court application, court response, judgement, enforcing judgement.

COST FOR EMPO MEMBERS : £ 45.00 / COURSE OR £ 90.00 FOR FULL DAY INCLUDING LUNCH

COST FOR NON EMPO MEMBERS : £ 75.00 / COURSE OR £ 140.00 FOR FULL DAY INCLUDING LUNCH

If you would like to book any of the courses or would like any further information please call Adeela on 0115 950 2639 or email adeela@empo.co.uk

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Right to Rent checks and avoiding a fine

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Get ‘right to rent’ ready.

Under section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014 a landlord should not authorise an adult to occupy property as their only or main home under a residential tenancy agreement unless the adult is a British citizen, or EEA or Swiss national, or has a “right to rent” in the UK.

Passport

With the introduction of the Immigration Act 2014, landlords will have to carry out “right to rent” checks for new tenancy agreements to determine whether tenants have the right to live in the UK legally.

The pilot scheme started on 1st December 2014 in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley & Wolverhampton. It is expected the national roll out will be May 2015.

In most cases, landlords will simply need to check the tenant’s passport or biometric residence permit. For the majority of landlords it will take a matter of minutes and they won’t need to contact the Home Office. Follow up checks are required at the appropriate date if initial checks indicate that the occupier has a time-limited right to rent.

In a limited number of cases, where tenants do not have their documents due to an ongoing Home Office application, landlords can request a check using the online form. The checking service will then provide a yes or no answer within 2 working days to confirm whether they can let to a particular tenant.

Penalties for non compliance is a fine up to £3,000.

If you are a landlord that has an agent acting for you and they have agreed in writing to take responsibility for fulfilling the requirements of the scheme then they are liable.

You also need to make sure you do not fall foul of the Equality Act 2010 by discriminating anyone. This means that all applicants must be checked as matter of routine. They should not make and act upon assumptions about a person’s immigration status on the basis of their colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, accent, ability to speak English or the length of time they have been resident in the UK.

More information can be found on the GOV.uk website.

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Carelessness can be costly

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Just recently I have noticed a number of careless errors by agents which have triggered my OCD.

They are very little things, yet things which can be avoided just by taking that little bit of care. A glaring example comes from a listing on Rightmove this week.

One of the large national franchises had an ‘off day’ with this corker of a listing…

Wrongmove

No only did it appear they have their camera upside down but it also has easy access to “Artificial Intelligence” followed by another spelling mistake…

Wrongmove2

Now I am not perfect, far from it. But this listing was uploaded on the 20th December 2014, some 38 days ago. Plenty of time to amend the error.

What gives me cause for concern is if spelling mistakes and photographs can be overlooked, what else is being missed… ?

Hopefully they will spot the errors before the landlord does. I’m sure most people would agree that if that was your property being marketed you would not be pleased.

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The most common frustration among landlords

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One of the biggest gripes we hear about from landlords are “setup” fees. Or “tenant find” fees or “advertising” fees on a fully managed service.

However your current letting agent chooses to call it, it’s the fee they charge whenever a new tenant moves into your property. The amount will vary between £200-300+VAT. Usually this means when they also add on the monthly management fee you are left with very little to pay your mortgage.

Agents justify this upfront fee claiming it covers the cost of moving the tenant in, drawing up the tenancy agreement, referencing and credit checking them. Funnily enough this is also what they tell the tenant when charging the tenant an application fee of around £200+VAT.

So when the tenants are already covering the costs of moving them in, most landlords feel like the setup fees are really just money for old rope…

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