Landlord Archives - Page 2 of 5 - Fife Properties
Fife Properties

Fife Buy to Let – Past, Present and Future

Investing in a Fife buy to let property has become a very different sport over the last few years.

In the glory days of the five years after the turn of the Millennium, where we had double-digit house price growth, mortgage companies (notably Northern Rock, HBOS and their ilk) desperate to get on the buy to let mortgage bandwagon with rates so low it would make the belly of a snake seem high and an open mildness to give loans away with not so much more than a note from your Mum and with hardly any regulatory intervention… anyone could make money from investing in property – in fact it was easier to make money than fall off a log! Then we had the unexpected flourish of the property market, with the post credit crunch jump in the property market after 2010, when everything seemed rosy in the garden.

Yet, over the past five years, the thumbscrews on the buy to let market for British (and de facto) Fife investors have slowly turned with new barriers and challenges for buy to let investors. With the change in taxation rules on mortgage relief starting to bite plus a swathe of new rules and regulations for landlords and mortgage companies, it cannot be denied some Fife landlords are leaving the buy to let sector, whilst others are putting a pause on their portfolio expansion.

With the London centric newspapers talking about a massive reduction in house prices (mainly in Mayfair and Prime London – not little old Fife) together with the red-tape that Westminster just keeps adding to the burden of landlords’ profit, it’s no wonder it appears to be dome and gloom for Fife landlords … or is it?

One shouldn’t always believe what one reads in the newspaper. It’s true, investing in the Fife buy to let property market has become a very different ballgame in the last five years thanks to all the changes and a few are panicking and selling up.

Fife landlords can no longer presume to buy a property, sit on it and automatically make a profit

Fife landlords need to see their buy to let investments in these tremulous times in a different light. Before landlords kill their fatted calves (i.e. sell up) because values are, and pardon the metaphor, not growing beyond expectation (i.e. fattening up), let’s not forget that properties produce income in the form of rent and yield. The focus on Fife buy to let property in these times should be on maximising your rents and not being preoccupied with just house price growth.

 

Rents in Fife’s private rental sector increased

by 1.96% in the past 12 months

 

Rents in Fife since 2008 have not kept up with inflation, it is cheaper today in REAL TERMS than it was 11 years ago and some landlords are beginning to realise that fact with our help.

Looking at the last few years, it can be seen that there is still a modest margin to increase rents to maximise your investment (and it can be seen some Fife landlords have already caught on), yet still protect your tenants by keeping the rents below those ‘real spending power terms’ of the 2008 levels.

Buy to let must be seen as a medium and long-term investment ….

Rents in Fife are 10.28% higher than they were 3 years ago and property values are 11.04% higher than Jan 2016

…and for the long term, even with the barriers and challenges that the Government is putting in your way – the future couldn’t be brighter if you know what you are doing.

Investment is the key word here… In the old days, anything with a front door and roof made money – yet now it doesn’t. Tenants will pay top dollar for the right property but in the right condition. Do you know where the hot spots are in Fife, whether demand is greater for 2 beds in Fife or 3 beds? Whether town centre terraced houses offer better ROI than suburban semis? With all the regulations many Fife landlords are employing us to guide them by not only managing their properties, taking on the worries of property maintenance, the care of property and their tenants’ behaviour but also advising them on the future of their portfolio. We can give you specialist support (with ourselves or people we trust) on the future direction of the portfolio to meet your investment needs (by judging your circumstances and need between capital growth and yields), specialist finance and even put your property empire into a limited company.

 

If you are reading this and you know someone who is a Fife buy to let landlord, do them a favour and share this article with them – it could save them a lot of worry, heartache, money and time.

What Has Happened to the Fife Property Market Since the Crash?

A handful of Fife landlords and homeowners have been asking me what would happen if we had another property crash like we did in 2008/9?

The UK property crash in 2008/9 caused property prices in the UK to drop by an average of 18.37% in a period of 16 months.

Continue reading What Has Happened to the Fife Property Market Since the Crash?

Design trends to look out for in 2020

We’re moving into a new decade, and so the last thing that you want is for your home to look dated. Throughout 2019 we have seen some extreme trends in interior design; from the embracing of industrial elements to the resurgence of entirely neutral spaces. We have taken a look at what to expect this year and how to get ahead with your design aesthetic, whatever your budget.

  1. Colour makes a comeback

One of the key trends this decade has been that of neutral spaces with a few accent pieces to liven up the décor, however this year one of the main inclinations in design will be towards colour; bolder, brighter and braver! Rebecca Breslin, Wayfair Professional design manager, is calling for an end of “Greige, grey and all neutral everything without texture or visual interest” and therefore if you are looking for a change this year then start by adding colour into your home – burnt oranges and deep blues are set to be en vogue throughout the whole year.

  1. Paper set to tear up the market

A feature wall has been the mainstay of every makeover show and glossy magazine before-and-after shoot since the early naughties, however 2020 is set to end this fad. Rather than a singular wall that is adorned with wallpaper, we are going to see all four walls covered with paper – in line with the brighter aesthetic of 2020. Wallpaper has seen something of a renaissance over the past decade, with designs from Gucci and Dior all the way through to stick-and-peel examples flooding the marketplace, and this isn’t set to end this year. If you want to experiment, then start with smaller spaces such as studies, toilets and guest bedrooms where patterns will seem less overwhelming.

  1. Cabinet shake-up

The crisp, white kitchens that have been an enduring design staple over the last decade are set to move into retirement in 2020, with colour making its way back into the heart of the home. Kitchen cabinets, more specifically, are to become a real focus in kitchen design – therefore if you are looking to stay on-trend then think about rejuvenating your cabinets. Navy blue matte cabinets with vintage gold handles will transform your aesthetic immediately and mixes the traditional and vintage visuals that are set to be all the rage this year.

  1. Give art a start

In these modern days of mass production and consumerism, vintage art and antiques are making a huge comeback due to the perceived one-of-a-kind nature of the objects and that they possess their own unique story. If you are looking to make small changes to your home that make it chic, then adding some select pieces of art is a great start – adding pieces to your kitchen walls will add particular interest to an otherwise utilitarian space.

  1. Soften the edges

Throughout the 2010s, chicness has often been related to strong lines, sharp edges and minimalism, however as we move into the next decade this is set to be turned on its head for an altogether softer look. As well as a nod to 30s glamour (think metallics such as silver and gold, as well as scalloped seating) curves and fluid shapes are set to be popular this year; from circular side tables to rounded-edge sofas.

Tips for Buyers and Sellers looking to move

It’s the start of a brand new year in the market, with buyers and sellers alike preparing to fulfil their New Year’s Resolutions and make their move. Market conditions appear to have stabilised after December’s general election brought with it a majority Conservative Government, but what can you do to give yourself the best chance of a successful transaction? Read our top tips for Buyers and Sellers below.

BUYERS TIPS

Research, Research, Research

As clichéd as it sounds, buyers who prepare sufficiently are more likely to end up with a better deal for the home they’re looking for. Once you’ve made the decision to begin house hunting, look into sale and listing prices for properties in the local areas that you’re interested in; this will give you a rough guide as to how much you can expect to spend.

Prepare your mortgage

If you’re house-hunting in a competitive area where properties are quickly snapped up, then getting a mortgage agreement in principle will give you an advantage when you find the property that you want. Having your finances in order and prepared can save time and prove invaluable if the home you want is likely to generate significant local interest.

Check the Home Report

Make sure you check the home report (Scotland) and the surveyor’s comments before you offer. This survey flags up any major issues or elements of the property that require attention, such as urgent defects or structural concerns. Depending on the age of the building, you could find yourself a wildly fluctuating amount of work to carry out, especially if previous owners have neglected its upkeep. Either way, this is an invaluable belts and braces report of the property and will provide peace of mind in any outcome. If it’s more than 3 months old once you have had an offer accepted, insist on the seller getting a refresh so it’s up to date. If a long time has passed since it was first listed it could be there is other issues you need to be aware of that could affect your initial offer price.

SELLERS TIPS

Research, Research, Research

Preparation is key for sellers, too! Make sure you know your property’s true value before it’s listed; carry out a full appraisal of your home with a trusted agent and not just an instant valuation to get a clear idea of what your property is worth. Inviting valuers into your home can also provide you with a fresh set of eyes which can be useful in flagging up any existing issues or reminding you of a few flaws that could require attention before going to market, too. Some even provide more specialist knowledge than just a valuation.

Find ways to add more value

If you’re looking for ways to add more worth to your property, then carrying out home improvement projects will certainly aid you. These can be relatively simple tasks, such as installing double glazing or adding extra insulation to your loft, or bigger jobs such as renovating your kitchen. Whilst the cost associated with these projects may be off-putting, it may pay off when it comes to increasing your home’s value. But ask the professionals first if it’s worth doing before doing it.

Declutter and organise

Take a look at each room in your house and you’ll likely find a few easy ways of decluttering and making extra space. This is vital for the viewing process as potential buyers need to be able to picture themselves living in this space, and in some rooms, it’s as easy as clearing a few worktops or mantlepieces.

In today’s market, preparation really is key whether you’re buying or selling. Carry out your market research, get your finances and paperwork and make sure you utilise a knowledgeable and local agent to help you through the process. One that has a consistent track record, years of experience and is an expert in their field. One that embraces and uses new technology and media marketing to hit specific target markets for your property rather than one that will put it on a few big websites and hope for the best. Proactive rather than reactive.

Prospective tenants: furnished or unfurnished lets?

Furnished properties can vary in the level of furniture and furnishings offered. It is extremely important for prospective tenants to find out exactly what is being included in furnished properties before signing any contracts. When viewing rental properties on the market, remember that the furniture and decor may all belong to the current tenant, and so shouldn’t be the sole decider for signing the contract. Continue reading Prospective tenants: furnished or unfurnished lets?

New Year New Home: Selling your home in the new year

There is often speculation as to when is the best time to sell your home. Sellers often wait for certain times in the year that may be construed to be better than others. If you feel like you are ready to sell, you should seek a valuation and consider whether it is the right time for you, as it may well be right now.

The imminent general election has caused mixed feelings about the housing market. Many are waiting for the outcome of the election to see whether policy changes (such as stamp duty reforms), will be put in place. However, if you are considering selling your home, now is a good time to put your property on the market. There will always be other circumstances that can affect the housing market, but none of that should prevent you from getting a full market appraisal.

House prices have continued to increase throughout these uncertain times so you may be surprised at how much your home is worth. No matter what time of the year it is, there are a few checks that you can run through to ensure that your home is in its optimum condition. High spec homes are attracting the attention of serious buyers. If your house is well presented and organised, it will help potential buyers believe in your home.

Photos

Photos, photos, and more photos! If there was only one thing that could attract potential buyers to your home, this is it. It’s the first time people will see your home, and remember what we said about first impressions! Ensure that photos are of a high specification, in natural daylight and show the full room to its full potential. Check that your home is neat and tidy so that buyers can visualise living in the home themselves.

Christmas

Leading on from photos, we have Christmas. You should ensure that you have photos of your home without decorations up, so that those viewing can see how the space in the home could look throughout the year. Christmas time is where we can really show off our homes and display how inviting it is, giving viewers a lasting feeling about your home. The festive spirit is a great tool but be mindful to use tasteful festive décor without too many different colours. Everybody has different tastes so a more neutral Christmas touch will work best if you have viewings over the Christmas season. Potential buyers will also be able to see a sense of community and good spirits in the neighbourhood.

Declutter

Your home needs to be clean and tidy when on the market. This includes the exterior as well as the interior, as you never know when a potential buyer may be driving past the home unexpectedly! First impressions last so you don’t want to tarnish them by being messy, so keep leaves swept off the garden and ensure that doorbells and outside lights are working; this shows that the home has been well maintained. Inside you want to show that there is ample storage space. Ensure that anything that is left out on tables, sides or shelves is there for a purpose, so that potential buyers can see that there is plenty of storage to maintain a tidy home.

Paperwork

Remember all that paperwork that you know is important, so you keep in that ‘safe place’? Well, now is the time to dig it out. Important documents relating to deed titles and guarantee certificates for any work you have had done are essential during the selling process. Collate any paperwork that you have for the home into a folder so that you can show prospective buyers that everything is in order.

Landlord – prepare your properties for winter with our guide

As we head towards the Winter months, now is the optimum time for landlords to prepare for the potential issues that may arise from the harsher weather. Spending a little time and effort now may well save money further down the line in the event of an accident or repair cost. Here’s our list of essential landlord checks:

Boiler Service

The number one priority for every landlord should be checking that the boiler in your property (or properties) is in good condition, as repair costs can be extremely expensive. Book a boiler service to ensure that everything is working correctly and safely as boilers can break down with the surge in gas consumption that comes in the colder months.

Protect the Pipes

Adding lagging to your pipes (specially designed pipe insulation) is an inexpensive measure which will give you peace of mind knowing that your piping will not burst due to freezing and splitting. Focus on pipes in external areas and lofts which may be subject to the most extreme temperatures and you should avoid any problems as the cold sets in.

Smoke and CO Alarms

In line with regulations interlinked smoke alarms must be installed in each hall on each floor including every reception room and a heat detector in the kitchen – now is the perfect time to double-check these are in good working order and that your tenants are safe in your property. If your rental property has a fireplace (or solid fuel appliance) or central heating system then an additional carbon monoxide alarm must be fitted within one meter of the appliance in the same room, as the chances of these items being used increase astronomically in winter.

Open Dialogue

One of the key pieces of advice that we can give to protect your property through the winter is to create healthy dialogue with your tenants. As they are living in the property day-to-day, they will be able to tell you about any smaller issues so that you know how to avoid any larger issues. Make sure your tenants know where the stopcock is in the property, where the fuse board is located and who to call in case of an emergency. This could be invaluable in saving you time and money.

Protect the Roof

Chipped, cracked or dislodged tiles on your roof could lead to significant water damage and in cold temperatures this can lead to structural issues with water freezing and expanding. Double-check that your roof is in tip-top condition, and whilst you’re at it take the time to clear out your gutters to avoid blockages when the inevitable rain falls.

A Guide to Designing a Child’s Bedroom

Designing a child’s room can be tricky; there are a number of factors to consider so it is hard to know where to begin. Design trends are forever changing and your child is constantly growing, so it is important that you consider a few things before starting.

Striking the balance between fun and practical is a challenge and designing something that your child does not grow out of too quickly is not easy, but by taking the time to think it over, you can save yourself a lot of hassle and create a space that is fun for them and easy for you to manage.

Draw Up A Floor Plan

Before you start buying all sorts of cute and colourful furniture, it’s important to remember that depending on your child’s age, this room could have a variety of functions.

Have a think about what the room will be used for and draw out a plan. If the room just needs to be a comfortable place to sleep then you should have plenty of freedom, however, if it also needs to be an area to play and study, you’ll require a good amount of floor space and maybe a dedicated little corner for a desk.

Everyone’s home and preferences are different but you want to get as much out of the space as possible, so take a moment to consider the role that the room will play and how it may change over the next few years.

Choose The Right Colour

It may be tempting to simply ask your child what their favourite colour is and then start buying paint or wallpaper.

While it is a good idea to include your child in the design of their room, if their favourite colour resembles a highlighter pen, then your best option is to go with the more neutral shade of that colour.

Your best strategy is to aim for a colour palette that nicely blends with a variety of furniture and will not look so childish once your child turns into a teen. Save yourself a redecoration job in 18 months by picking a colour that will age well with the rest of the ever-changing décor.

Decide On The Flooring

When it comes to flooring you have a few options, all with their pros and cons, so you just have to decide which will be best for you.

Carpet helps keep the room a little warmer but is vulnerable to stains. Hardwood is much more durable and easy to clean but does not provide much cushion for a child that is a little more clumsy than most. You could also opt for rubber flooring that does offer the benefits of both carpet and hardwood; however, it is the most expensive option of the three.

The flooring that is best for you is dependent on the age of your child, but research your options while keeping your budget in mind and make sure your choice of flooring compliments the room and doesn’t break the bank.

Getting The Furniture Right

There are two key things to keep in mind when choosing your furniture, functionality and lifespan.

We’ve already established that space is a valuable commodity so finding multifunctional furniture can be a real lifesaver.

Beds that have storage built in underneath are quite easy to find and the extra storage they provide can go a long way, as well as free up more of the room for other essential items. This also gives you an opportunity to get a little creative and look for ways to combine 2 items into one such as adding some padding to a desk or dresser so that it also can be used as a changing table.

The other consideration for furniture is its lifespan. There is a lot of cute miniature beds, tables and chairs that might look great, but you must remember that they will grow out of it quicker than you think. A good strategy would be to buy some furniture that they can grow into. Their small clothes may not justify full sized dresser just yet, but it will not be long before you are looking for extra storage space and their feet are hanging out of the end of the bed.

Add Character Through Accessories

Now that your room has been planned out, you have chosen your colour palette, had the flooring fitted, assembled and placed the furniture, it’s time to add character.

The great part about this phase of designing the room is that because the rest of the room’s features were kept neutral and timeless, you can now give your child a good amount of freedom to add their own personality to the room from accessories.

Whether it’s action figures, bed covers or posters, you can basically style the room however you want and the best part is, these accessories can be easily replaced and changed over the years at the same rate as your child’s taste in décor shifts from one thing to the next.

Is the buy-to-let market still viable?

 

The buy-to-let market has had somewhat of a difficult time over the past few years due to changes in government legislation and taxation. Since July this year, however, the number of buy-to-let mortgages approved has risen considerably and is proving that there is life in the market for those looking to invest.

With competitive mortgage rates available, especially if a larger deposit has been accrued, anybody who has the desire to become a landlord now has the opportunity to do so. A new report by HomeLet showing that the average rent around the UK has reached a record high of £970 per month demonstrates that the potential to reap rewards through buy-to-let is exceptional.

HomeLet data shows that rents have increased in every single region of the United Kingdom over the past twelve months, up to 3.5% greater than at the same point in 2018. For those looking to invest, this presents tremendous opportunity to be able to invest locally and see the benefits.

Biggest annual increases in average rents

Region August 2018 August 2019 Annual Change
London £1,632 £1,689 +3.5%
North West £717 £741 +3.3%
South West £826 £852 +3.1%

In terms of rental yields, we are also seeing record highs in terms of the average yield that landlords are reaping, with the average now reaching 4.5%, up from last year and the highest in three years. For those looking to maximise their yields, there is a growing trend towards Houses of Multiple Occupancy, or HMOS, as they tend to provide a yield approximately 20% higher than a typical rental property.

So, which region provides the best rental yield?

North West 6.20%
Yorkshire & The Humber 5.90%
East Midlands 5.40%
Scotland 5.30%
West Midlands 5.10%
North East 5.10%
South West 4.40%
Wales 4.20%
East of England 4.10%
London 4.10%
South East 4.00%
National average 4.50%

 

On a local level in Fife, the annual rental increase is 2% and the rental yield is 4.5%.

However, in Fife, there are real gems out there producing yields of between 6% – 12% sometimes greater.

You can find out more by tuning in to our Lettings Director, Richard Cook’s Investment Property of the Week Vlog via our social media channels every Thursday @ 7pm.

The 5 best ways to add value to your property (4 min read)

When we decorate our properties, it is often driven by personal preferences in order to make a space fit into our own idea of what is stylish. However, if you are not just looking to decorate a space but to maximise the potential value of your property, then this guide explores the best ways to add value to your home.

Solve Existing Issues
Don’t jump straight to improving the appeal of rooms in order to gain the “wow factor”; instead, make sure that your property is structurally sound. It may have less cosmetic impact, but a house with a leaking roof, subsidence or damp will severely hinder you in achieving a strong asking price due to the perceived costs and effort in fixing the issues. Take the time to assess your property and ensure there are no major defects, and this will give a solid foundation to achieve the best price on the market as buyers will not be scared away by problems, nor will they be able to barter the price down.

Central Heating
Take a look at the central heating system in your house – If your central heating is on its way out then replacing this is more than likely to add value to your property as it is another issue which has the potential to put buyers off. Although the initial outlay for the central heating refit may seem high, you should more than recover these costs when selling the property as it is another key point which will assure buyers that your property is well-cared for.

Extra Space
Adding additional living space will always attract buyers as this offers them versatility in the way in which they will use the property. However, before you convert that loft or garage, we would recommend doing a little research. A converted loft can add thousands to the asking price of your property, so it is certainly something to consider – before you undertake this take a look at similar properties in your area and do some investigation as to what the top-selling price has been lately. There will be a ceiling price for the properties in your area and therefore before you add a room, make sure that there is the potential to recoup the cost or more in the asking price.

Decoration
If you want to add value without any major outlay then picking up the paintbrush could be the answer. Freshen up any decoration that has seen better days around the house and do the same in the bathroom, checking on any sealants to ensure they are crisp and clean. Clean up a few simple defects and buyers will see your property in an entirely different light and could be willing to pay more for a home that they perceive to be in excellent condition. This should extend to the frontage of your home, so ensure lawns are mowed and outside areas look cared for. Kerb appeal is everything and first impressions count.

Kitchens and Bathrooms
That old saying that homes are sold due to their kitchens and bathrooms is so true. Having a modern kitchen and bathroom will add considerable value to your property, as well as generating much more interest from buyers. If you don’t want to invest in a brand-new kitchen and bathroom, then update them in order to make them more sellable. Kitchen cabinets can be painted to modernise them and changing the door handles to something sleeker will also help to create the feeling of a newer space. In the bathroom, refresh the paint on the walls, keeping it as neutral as possible, and ensure that the space is bright and airy – add mirrors to make the space feel bigger and use accessories to add colour.

This is clearly a different take on the typical advice and some of these top tips can be done at an inexpensive price which can completely revitalise your property so it’s often worth doing when selling to enhance the buyer experience as it often translates to a higher offer.

However, do your sums. Work out how much it would cost first, get quotes from local contractors and do some research on the valuation now and the valuation after the work. Then work out if it’s worth doing. Getting a local Estate Agent to help on the valuations and give practical advice will pay dividends but make sure you choose one with a proven track record and experience in refurbishments.

FIND OUT HOW MUCH YOUR HOME IS WORTH

TAP HERE TO BOOK A FREE SALES/RENTAL VALUATION