If you’re buying a second home, Buy to Let, or investment property, you should be aware that there is an additional 3% Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on top of the standard SDLT amount payable. Since this regime was introduced in 2016, the market for second homes has certainly felt the pinch, especially for buy to let landlords who are also being penalized with a reduction in the amount of mortgage interest that can be claimed against tax.
One of the first things a buyer will ask an estate agent when offered a property is “How long has it been on the market?”, and with good reason. Buying a property is a large transaction and it takes courage to commit to undertake such an apparently huge decision – often with very little support other than pure instinct.
New legislation means that all private landlords in England now have to check that new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting a property, although this responsibility can be given to your letting agent as part of a written agreement.
The penalties for ignoring the new legislation are severe. For the first time an agent/landlord breaches the rules, a fine of £1,000 per illegal adult occupier will apply, rising to £3,000 per adult for repeat offenders.
Most property sellers will recognise the tremendous importance of ensuring that as many prospective buyers as possible see their property. After all, more viewings means more buyer competition thereby maximising your chances of securing the highest price the market will pay. However, whilst one always has to be fair, there is a lot to be said for strategic viewing! Good agents…
In this second part of our two-part series on how to keep maximise your rental yield by ensuring that your tenants stay – thereby avoiding any possible void periods or additional expense in seeking a new tenant.
One of the main reasons why people move out is because they just don’t feel they belong. So does your letting agent make your tenant feel that they are part of the local community? Are they kept informed of local events and issues in which they can participate if they wish? Have they been invited to join a residents association or at least introduced to their neighbours?
“Moving House” may be the term we commonly use, but moving HOME is surely a better description for one of life’s more stressful experiences. Few changes in life, other than a relationship, can stir such emotions.
As estate agents, we are effectively “agents of change” and whilst our natural focus might be to help people move in a practical sense, we find we can be most effective when we really empathize with our clients.
It would be callous to think that a home is just bricks and mortar. Home is so much more than that…
A buy to let investment should ideally deliver impressive returns with minimal stress and these two objectives are most readily maximised when your property is occupied by a reliable long term tenant. Too many letting agents simply sign up the first tenant who comes along, with little consideration for the long term implications of accepting the wrong tenant – even though that prospective tenant might look great on the surface.
This year don’t wait till spring
As we find ourselves in the middle of the dark winter months, some would suggest waiting until spring before putting your property on the market. After all, spring is traditionally associated with a time of change and this has always influenced the property market in the past.
A survey of over 500 residential landlords by Endsleigh Insurance reports that landlords are overwhelmingly satisfied with the service they receive from their letting agent and find them an invaluable resource. Some 92% of landlords reported a positive experience with their letting agent.
Despite the fact that many people regard estate agents as more or less the same, there are in fact numerous selection criteria on which to judge the good from the bad, and the exciting from the mildly indifferent.
For example, there are many services and innovations which can make a difference to how effectively your property is marketed, and how the subsequent sale is handled. These could be the use of 3D floorplans, subscription to several property portals, 360 degree virtual tours on a particularly impressive website, multi-media window displays, on-line progress tracking, chain management and interactive “for sale” boards to name but a few.