There are some interesting parallels between landlords and Santa Claus. For a start, you’re often making a list and checking it twice, only yours is full of to-dos for repairs and maintenance at your rental property. Then there’s deciding if your tenants have been naughty or nice, and whether they look after your property and pay the rent on time. Continue reading SEASON’S LETTINGS: YOUR LANDLORD CHRISTMAS CHECKLIST (4 min read)
They say that death and taxes are the only two certainties of life. Well, if you’re a landlord, you might be feeling that empty weeks at your Fife rental property are an inevitable third. Continue reading NO VACANCY: Keeping your rental property occupied in Fife! (4 min read)
…….Yet, if the proposals were adopted in full, some Fife landlords would pay £7,000 less Capital Gains Tax than they would currently
..and the 5 ways on how all Fife landlords can escape the worst of the coronavirus downturn on their Fife rental property.
With the second lockdown starting on the 5th November 2020 South of the border and Scotland in its 5 tier local protection lockdown programme, does this mean Fife landlords can wave goodbye to their Fife buy-to-let investment and see it go up in smoke on the bonfire of buy-to-let dreams, like a Guy Fawkes puppet? Continue reading Each Fife Landlord Could be Hit By a £25,822 Bill (4 min read)
The last three or four weeks, unquestionably, have been one of the most life-changing times we have seen since WW2. The imminent threat of the Coronavirus has taken over the world, the UK and Fife and will challenge you, our families, our relationships and test us all.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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?
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:
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.
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.
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.