A Golden Opportunity?

Over the last 12 months we have seen unprecedented changes in the property market, in terms of legislation and tax changes. Such that many investors are wondering if it is still such a good idea to invest in property.

The reality is that the property market is constantly changing, and as professional investors know we need to learn to adapt to and make the most of the changes.

I believe it is a golden opportunity which is open to us for just the next 12 months.

I think we will see a lot of amateur and accidental investors sell off their portfolios because of the new proposed tax changes for property investors

Surprisingly some investors are not aware that they are sitting on a property time bomb

Koru ConnectionsSo how we can adapt to the ever changing property market?

  • We still live on an island
  • There is not enough accommodation
  • What will happen regarding immigration?
  • The Government is not going to kick people out of the UK
  • Population is growing even without immigration

Interest rates have been reduced to a record low so the cost of borrowing will fall; the expectation is that rates will remain low while the economy recovers. This is good news for existing and new property investors but not good news for savers!

We are also seeing competition between mortgage lenders which can only be good news if you are buying a property.

Why I believe the next 12 months represents a once in a lifetime, Golden Opportunity

  • Take advantage of the uncertainty
  • Buy whilst others are waiting
  • Make sure it stacks up and hold for the long term
  • Be careful of flipping ( buying , refurbishing and selling on )in this market
  • Educate yourself and take action now
  • The next 12 months could be the best opportunity for you to build your property portfolio

Sally & Kevin Cope – Koru Connections – 0845 0569513 – https://www.facebook.com/koruconnections/

I think I’ll buy it myself!

Many times over the years, I’ve been to value a property that I really liked and having shown the details I’ve produced to the vendor they’ve said ‘You’ve made it sound so good that I think I’ll buy it myself!”

This is not that surprising, and not because of my ability to describe an airing cupboard, it’s due to the fact that most people have at some stage in the past made a choice to buy the property they currently live in so are obviously going to have some positive thoughts about it.  There are of course exceptions to the rule such as those who have inherited a property or moved in with a new partner.

lovemyhouseWhat all sellers have to remember is that not every potential buyer is going to be wanting to buy their property for the same reason as you did all those years ago, you probably don’t live in the property now as you did at the start either.  It’s all well and good focusing on what you like about the property, why you think it’s good value and what you ‘need’ to buy your next property, that will have no bearing whatsoever on what someone else will be prepared to pay for it.

The key thing is to identify the most likely purchasers for your type of property and to dress your property up accordingly to appeal to them.  If you have a 3 bed semi in a popular location that’s ideal for a family, there’s little point in presenting your 2nd bedroom as a gym or a library. Having a garden that would win a prize at the Chelsea Flower Show is all very nice but if all the garden is going to be used for is to play football in it is unlikely to add much value.

There are rare occasions when it’s not immediately obvious who we need to attract with the home staging, on those occasions we will always advise to appeal to the masses by making things as neutral as possible enabling people to easily see how they could make the property work for them.

Are Estate Agents worse than Double Glazing salesmen?

When the lists of least trusted occupations are published in the newspapers each year Estate Agents usually rank quite highly (or lowly, depending on how you look at it!). According to an Ipsos MORI survey in 2015, as an industry we are trusted by just 25% of the public which is the same as journalists and only 3% higher than politicians.  It doesn’t specifically mention mechanics or double glazing salesmen so maybe that’s why they’re not below us (apologies to any mechanics or UPVC salesmen reading).

double-glazingI visited a property last week where the vendor seemed somewhat confused about my arrival at his door but he invited me in anyway.  I provided my opinion on likely marketing figures and suggested what could be done to enhance the appeal of the property to which the vendor told me to ‘Give it a go!’.  I felt that he didn’t understand exactly what I had gone through with him and wasn’t keen to get him to sign any agreement, despite the fact it would probably have been very easy to get him to do so at almost any rate of commission.  I had his son’s number, as he had initially called up to book the appointment and called him to discuss the situation, he confirmed that his Father was suffering from some form of dementia and that the family were helping him to move closer to them.  My view was that I was going to treat the gentlemen just like I’d have wanted anybody to deal with a relative of mine and I felt secure in knowing that I was doing the right thing by not taking advantage of the situation.

Having started in the business 25 years ago I have spent enough time seeing and hearing of how some agents feel the job should be done and can fully understand why the profession is held in such low regard by many.  When you look abroad, the real estate agent is generally a licensed profession where you have to have relevant qualifications and accordingly is far better thought of.  There are moves to further regulate the Estate Agency business, which most trustworthy agents will welcome, as it will hopefully weed out those who perhaps shouldn’t be entrusted with people’s most valuable asset.

Thankfully in our local area we mostly have good agents with plenty of integrity to go along with their qualifications, but as we dive headlong into the world of online only ‘agents’ who get rewarded regardless of whether the property gets sold or not, I’m sure that there will be some characters who will do their best to give the public what they really expect of us.

Is Energy Efficiency really that important?

EPCs?

If you are selling or letting a property, it requires by law to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

Most of the time having me carry out a survey is just part of the process you go through, I come round, I draw a plan, I take pictures of your lightbulbs and I stick my head in your loft space. It’s a tick off your ‘to do’ list!

You also probably only see the coloured grid that looks like the stickers on a new freezer but the report is actually about 4-5 pages long and includes details of construction, any insulation and heating system, along with estimated running costs, and any recommended improvements

It is also a public document which can be seen by potential buyers and tenants online.

The EPC is actually valid for 10 years so you may think of it as a ‘done and forget’ piece of paper but does it still represent your property? If you have made improvements to the heating system, added insulation or made any changes to the structure of the property then does it still represent your property? If you had gone to the necessary expense of installing a new boiler would you want the EPC to still have a recommendation to ‘install a new boiler’?

sue-colemanLikewise when you are looking at a property to buy, if you looked thoroughly at the EPC and looked at the recommendations and saw a list – loft insulation, replace boiler, draughtproofing, heating controls….. Would that not make you look a little closer, or does it even give you a little bargaining power.

Whatever you may think. energy costs can only go one way and that it up, and the running costs of our homes impacts greatly on our comfort and lifestyle.

Admittedly we are all generally swayed by a nice kitchen, spacious bathroom or easily maintained garden, don’t overlook the EPC.

Sue Coleman

DEA Torbay

www.deatorbay.co.uk

01803 400094

sue@deatorbay.co.uk

Back to School & the ‘Empty Nest’ Syndrome

Back To SchoolAs I write this, my youngest daughter has just returned from her first day in year 12 (or Lower 6th as most of us will remember it), in another couple of years we’ll probably be just a few weeks from her starting at University.  We’ll then be empty nesters and at the stage in our lives when we might consider if our current house is too big for our needs or not.  We get called out by a lot of people in a similar situation who are assessing their options for the future.  Most of the time the decision is not an easy one and on reflection the majority tend to opt to wait a bit longer before starting downsizing.  What we often see is the way the house is lived in changing, that long awaited hobbies room can finally become a reality or the dining room can become a little more sophisticated.

At the other end of the spectrum is when the children start a new school, a friend of mine’s daughter started at her primary school today and they ended up with a different school than they were initially hoping for.  It’s still a good school but they’re a lot closer to a couple of others they’d have been equally happy with.  As it happens they’re not planning on moving to be closer to the school yet but maybe in the future that will be something they’ll consider.

Empty NestProperties in good school catchment areas can make a massive difference to both the desirability and value of them, it is not unknown for properties on one side of a street to be 10% or even 20% more expensive than the other just based on the primary school you can get your child into.  It’s a classic verification of the old Location Location Location adage but of course catchment areas can change, new schools can open up and Ofsted reports can vary dramatically with each inspection.  All you can do is plan ahead based on the information that is currently out there!