Redstones Financial Services Is Here!

Redstones Financial

Redstones Financial

At Redstones, we are constantly seeking new ways to evolve the services we offer to our clients as well as extend the marketing tools available to our franchise network. Redstones Financial Services is yet another example of our innovative approach to business and evidence of how we always listen to our customers.

Click here to download Redstones Financial E-Brochure.

We know that finding cost effective financial advice, coupled with an advisor you can trust, is a concern for a number of our landlords and tenants.

Redstones Financial addresses those concerns directly by offering an extensive range of financial products to our clients including:-

  • Mortgages
  • Pensions
  • Life Insurance
  • Home Insurance
  • Savings facilities
  • Car insurance

In addition, we offer a number of critical illness and mortgage protection policies to cover unplanned events for your peace of mind.

Why choose Redstones Financial?

As well as working with a brand known for its superlative customer service, with Redstones Financial our customers will also enjoy the following benefits when choosing us as your financial services provider:-

  • Professional expert advice from friendly staff who will take the time to listen to your concerns and to understand your needs.
  • Our advisors will select a product that will meet your unique situation. We also explain exactly why we feel it is the best product for you, taking into account your current circumstances and any potential changes in the future.
  • Value for money – we research the market thoroughly so you can have confidence you are being offered the most cost effective product to meet your requirements.
  • As a client of Redstones Financial, you can be confident that your financial interests are protected.
  • No call centres – your call will be answered by one of our dedicated team.
  • To ensure we are able to offer our customers the very best service on the market we are delighted to announce that we have partnered with Acorn to Oaks Financial Services Ltd. The company is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (486131) to provide clients with ‘whole of market, fully independent advice’.

With Redstones, our aim has always been to focus on building relationships with our clients that last a lifetime.

The Redstones Financial guarantee

We promise:-

  • To provide excellent value for money.
  • To act efficiently while at the same time ensuring that any decisions you make over your financial future are right for you.
  • To continue to provide the outstanding levels of customer service you have come to expect from Redstones.
  • To make recommendations that are the very best option for you every time – which means our clients can be confident in both the stability and strength of the financial products they are offered.

To find out more about our Redstones Financial and how we can help you to secure the best financial products to meet your needs contact us today.

Redstones Financial enhances the range of unique products we offer to our franchisees. If you are interested in finding out more about what it means to run a Redstones lettings franchise, please get in touch.

Is Your Lettings Agent A Member Of A Property Redress Scheme?

The private lettings agency sector unfortunately has its share of unscrupulous agents but things are set to change.

In an effort to raise standards across the industry, from 1st October 2014 it will be mandatory for every lettings agent to be registered with an ombudsman or redress scheme. Previously, it has not been compulsory for lettings agents to provide any kind of compensation to either landlords or tenants, allowing unethical companies to get away with providing a poor service.

Every lettings agent must now join one of the three ombudsman schemes which operate in the private lettings sector, namely the Property Ombudsman, the Ombudsman Services Property or the Property Redress Scheme.

What does it mean for landlords?

At present approximately 3.8 million properties in Britain are privately rented, representing 16.5% of all homes.  In London, the proportion of privately rented homes is around one third.

The new law will provide landlords with independent redress which may result in the following action being ordered to be taken by the lettings agent in question:-

  • An apology or explanation of their actions.
  • Practical steps to rectify the situation.
  • Reimbursement of financial costs or losses incurred by landlords.
  • Additional compensation for distress and time taken to raise the complaint.

Financial compensation is capped at £25,000.

Lettings agents who fail to comply may also be expelled from the scheme for misconduct.

Best practice voluntary code

The new scheme comes hard on the heels of a recently launched ‘best practice’ voluntary code of conduct for the private rental sector, a government initiative facilitated by the Royal Institution of Charter Surveyors and backed by 17 leading industry bodies.  This code again aims to protect tenants and landlords from unethical lettings agents but is not compulsory.

Redstones Switch Agents

If your lettings agent fails to join a scheme to comply with this new ruling by 1st October 2014 they are in breach of the law.  If you are concerned about the standards of service offered by your existing lettings agent, Redstones offers a Switch Agents facility. This unique service takes you through the process of transferring your property management to Redstones in three easy steps.

Redstones offers outstanding customer service which is reflected in the regular feedback we receive from our clients.  For your added peace of mind, we are also members of the following industry bodies

  • Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA)
  • National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)
  • The Property Ombudsman (TPO)

We also comply with the Deposit Protection Service to protect tenants’ deposits paid at the beginning of a tenancy agreement.

We also pride ourselves on providing on outstanding customer service and comply with all industry regulations.

If you want to find out more about our Switch Agents service or if you’re new to the lettings sector and wish to discuss the management of your property, contact us today.

The Difference is Redstones

Redstones social_media

Redstones Property Franchise : 5 Tips To Getting Started On Social Media

Launching your new Redstones lettings agency franchise is an exciting, yet daunting task.  You’ve completed your training, you have all of the tools you need to run your business and now you’re ready to open on your first official day of trading!

Your primary aim is to win your first customers and as a Redstones franchisee, we work closely with all of our franchisees to help you to achieve your goal. As well as ongoing customer meetings, social media will also form a key part of your marketing strategy and assist you in expanding your client base and market reach.

As a Redstones franchisee we cover the basics of successful social media marketing during your training period. Here, we summarise the essential steps for getting started:-

Don’t spread yourself too thin

As a Redstones franchisee our state-of-the-art approach to online marketing gives you a head start in your business, together with your own local micro-site dedicated to your Redstones franchise.  You will also benefit from our visible presence on property websites such as Rightmove, Zoopla, Primelocation and FindAProperty, among others.  We also use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ to support and promote the Redstones brand. Maintaining a credible social media presence takes time and commitment, however, so we recommend focusing on the social media network that works most effectively for you to begin with, for example, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Be disciplined with your time

Social media is often a time consuming and distracting activity. In the early days of your new Redstones lettings agency franchise, we recommend that you create a time budget for your social media updates. Initially, social media may be a case of trial and error as you begin to understand the best times of day to post your updates and content.

Understand your objectives

Defining your business objectives will help you to utilise your social media most effectively.  As a Redstones franchisee your social media presence will enable you to establish yourself as an expert in your sector as well as provide a platform to generate new leads and attract new clients.  As you progress, evaluate your success by monitoring any increase in visits to your website, including enquiries which lead to sales.

Be consistent

While your lettings agency will benefit significantly from the reputation of the Redstones brand, the key to your success on social media will be consistency. Complete your profiles on all social media sites with links back to your lettings agency franchise website and post on a regular basis to enhance your credibility and reputation. Respond in a timely manner to enquiries and provide content that will be of value to your potential customers.

Launch a blog

A weekly blog will ensure a flow of regular content to post across your social networks such as LinkedIn groups and Twitter. To be successful, your blog should include posts relevant to developments in the lettings sector, such as the latest trends in the lettings agency sector as well as in your regional housing market. We’ll cover the basics of blogging in an upcoming article; in the meantime, you can keep up to date with Redstones founder Manjit Virdi’s blog here.

Are you interested in learning more about what it means to be the owner of a Redstones lettings agency franchise?  Contact us today.

Redstones : Your Lettings Agent Of Choice

At Redstones, we are committed to providing a premier service to our customers and pride ourselves on being a reputable brand in an industry which is often tarnished by unethical lettings and estate agents.

With that in mind, we were naturally delighted to receive the following feedback from one of our landlords, Oldbury based Dean Beezley, a client of Redstones for the past five years who has recently taken possession of his property after a long-term let:-

I’d like to thank you for your services over the last 5 years. I’ve had great tenants and any issues have been managed by yourselves in a very satisfactory manner.

In the long term future I intend to either re-let or sell the property and I have every intention of using Redstones again at that time.’

One of the primary reasons Dean remained loyal to Redstones was the quality of service provided at all times during the five years we have managed his property portfolio.

We pride ourselves on listening to our clients which is evident in the following unique services offered by Redstones:-

Platinum Total Care service : For many landlords, one of their major concerns is the tenant who fails to make their rent payments on time.  In direct response to a concern raised by one of our clients we launched the Platinum Total Care service. Not only do our landlords enjoy the benefits of a fully managed service when selecting this option but we guarantee that your rent will be paid, regardless of whether or not the tenant has paid on time. Additional information is provided by our founder Manjit Virdi in the above video. We also offer tiered levels of service to suit the budget and requirements of our landlords.

Switch Agents service : One of the most common complaints expressed by landlords is over the lack of service they receive from their current lettings agent.  Again, our Switch Agents enables a straightforward transfer of the management of your property portfolio to Redstones in a series of simple steps. We even deal with collection of your keys and all necessary documentation from your existing agent, making the whole process as seamless and pain free as possible for you.

Redstones Financial Services : One of the frustrations voiced by our clients is the lack of independent, unbiased financial advice available that addresses their individual needs.  Redstones Financial Services was launched in direct response to those needs. We guarantee the outstanding levels of customer service you have come to expect with Redstones, together with the following:-

  • The most cost-effective products tailored to your individual needs.
  • Quality service and appropriate levels of protection
  • Competitive pricing
  • No call centre – your calls are directed directly to friendly, qualified and experienced staff

At Redstones, we are committed to providing a superlative, unparalleled service to all of our clients.

Thinking of letting your property and not sure where to start or perhaps you are dissatisfied with your existing lettings agent? Join our growing ranks of happy landlords.  Contact Redstones today – we’re here to help.

Redstones Wolverhampton Launch

Redstones : Franchisee Training That Works

Redstones franchisees come from a diverse range of backgrounds and two of the questions we’re frequently asked are:-

  • How comprehensive (and successful) is the training offered to Redstones franchisees?
  • What background and experience is needed to succeed as a Redstones franchisee?

You’ll find a link to a blog which addresses the second question at the end of this article.

As for the first question, while it’s easy for us to tell potential franchisees how effective our training programme is, we prefer to let our franchisees speak for us.

Former electrical contractor and new Richmond franchisee, Brinder Bains recently completed his training with Redstones and provided us with this feedback on his experience:-

‘Normally for me, the prospect of attending any ‘training course’ is rarely an exciting one. However, having reached this stage of the franchise process with Redstones, I was actually looking forward to it with ‘real’ energy and ‘excitement’.

I was not disappointed. As the training unravelled it became apparent these guys really have done this before and are prepared for everything. Every pothole, pitfall and eventuality is covered by the training (I suspect they learned the hard way). Nonetheless, I now feel coiled and ready to action a (dare I say it) simple, step by step system and build my franchise into a solid branch of Redstones’.

At Redstones, we base our training on four fundamental principles:-

A comprehensive operations manual

Our franchisee training comprises an intensive two week training course, which provides our franchisees with all the information, knowledge and techniques they need to successfully operate their Redstones lettings agency franchise.  Our training assumes no prior knowledge or experience of the lettings sector (as Brinder’s testimonial and background shows). Following the launch of your Redstones franchise, this is supported by our comprehensive training manual which is also a key part of your franchise agreement with Redstones.

Training at Redstones Headquarters

All of our franchisees are trained on-site at Redstones’ head office with the full involvement and expertise of our owner Manjit Virdi supported by key members of Redstones’ support team.  This team will be vital in providing you with ongoing assistance as you grow your new lettings agency franchise.

On-site at your launch

After you’ve completed your training, Redstones’ franchise support team is on hand to offer advice and assistance as you launch your new lettings agency.  If requested, we also attend those all-important first meetings with landlords to assist you in securing your first clients for your Redstones franchise.

Ongoing training

Our support doesn’t end there – with Redstones, your success is our success.  We are committed to all of our franchisees and offer telephone support seven days a week, as well as regular visits from a dedicated franchise development manager to ensure your Redstones franchise is progressing in line with your business plan. Added to that, we provide regular updates on legislation or industry changes that may affect your legal obligations.

If you’re thinking of investing in a reputable lettings agency franchise, we’re here to answer your questions. Contact Redstones today to find out more about life as a Redstones franchisee.

For additional information you may also find our article on the 9 signs of a successful franchisee helpful.

Redstones Buyers

Selling Your House? Get Your Timing Right

When it comes to selling your property, timing can have an effect on how quickly the sale progresses and even the price you can attract as the seller.

At Redstones, we are often asked on the best time to sell.  In theory, any time is the right time if your expectations are realistic but as a general overview we suggest the following:-

Summer : Summer is generally the slowest time to sell a property, due to the months of July and August being traditional holiday times. If you are in the middle of a house sale you may also find that progress slows down considerably during this time. If you are selling a family home, remember that this is the school holiday period too so families may be thin on the ground.

Autumn : Now the school holidays are over you will find that autumn is generally a favourable time to sell your property.  Late summer weather or a mild autumn also helps to bring out larger numbers of potential buyers. With the property market still on a roll, September may be an optimum time to put your property on the market. Our advice is to be ready to move quickly if you do as the market slows down from mid-November onwards in the run up to Christmas.

Winter :  The run up to Christmas is typically another slow time for house sales. At Redstones, we generally suggest that unless our buyers need a quick sale, they put their house up for sale in January rather than December.

Spring : Spring is always a popular time for property sales.  Christmas is a distant memory, the weather is getting warmer and summer holidays aren’t upon us yet. From an aesthetic point of view, gardens always look brighter when flowers are beginning to bloom and the night are longer.

Having said that ….

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule:-

Do your research : Every region has its own unique trends. Before making a decision to place your house on the market, always do your research. Look online at recent property sales prices, check with your council that there are no major roadworks planned near to your home.  Talk to a reputable estate agent who will be able to advise you what price you can realistically expect.

Don’t sell if you’re not ready : If you aren’t prepared to sell – either practically or emotionally – then wait until you are. Nothing deters a buyer more than an indecisive homeowner.  If you’re uncertain whether selling is right for ask yourself these five questions highlighted in our previous blog first.

Get the paintbrush out! You don’t need to spend thousands of pounds renovating your property before a sale but a few simple touches will improve your chances of an early sale. Our previous article on 6 tips for presenting your property for sale offers advice on how to do just that.

Don’t be panicked into selling : The market nationally is buoyant but the timing still needs to be right for you as the property owner.  If you put your property on the market and it fails to sell fairly quickly, you may be forced to drop the price. The longer a property is on the market, the higher the chances are that buyers will begin to wonder if there’s a problem with it.

Having said that, if you want or need to sell now, we recommend that you are realistic about timing and choose a reputable estate agent. Ultimately, it may even be that renting it out is a more feasible option for you.

At Redstones we have an in-depth understanding of the local market and offer advice realistic pricing given the timing of your sale. As lettings specialists we can also explore the option of renting out your property if that is an option for you.

Thinking of selling your property? Contact Redstones today.

Redstones Red Cup

Buy-To-Let : 7 Essential Tips For The New Landlord

At Redstones we are often approached by property owners new to the buy-to-let market for advice on where to invest their money. One of the most common – and concerning – themes we see is the lack of research carried out by would-be landlords.

Figures recently released by the ONS (Office of National Statistics) reveal that the average buy-to-let investor in the UK has a property portfolio with a value of around of £650,000.  With an average gross yield of 5.6% year-on-year, this would increase the value of the portfolio to £1.63m over the next 15 years.  A 1% yield would increase the value of an investment by c£80,000 but to achieve this, research is essential.

A buy-to-let property portfolio doesn’t suit a ‘one-size-fits all’ approach.  If you’re confused about your options, here are our top seven tips:-

Research your market : Be sure that buy-to-let is the right investment for you.  Would you money yield a better return in another investment, such as a franchise? While the market is buoyant now, property values can fall as well as rise and much is dependent on the location of your property. Potential landlords seeking to build a portfolio should research the market thoroughly to understand the pitfalls as well as the potential of entering the private rental market.

Talk to other landlords : Get to understand what it takes to be a landlord, not only from the financial investment but the personal and emotional investment that goes into letting out a property. Talk to other landlords or lettings agents about the trials and tribulations of a property owner.  Letting occasionally goes wrong so you must decide on whether you have the right temperament for life as a landlord.

Choose the right area : By this we do not mean the most or least expensive but a location people want to live in, whether for the transport facilities, student life or for the schools.  Compare the property you can afford with the locations people choosing to live in that type of property would opt for.  While your local neighbourhood might seem a natural option, don’t rule out looking further afield.

Work out your finances :  What rental income will you be able to charge for the property you are considering? Will this cover your mortgage payments? What will you do if your tenant is unable to pay, if the house is empty for a while or if you need to find a cash sum for a boiler repair? Again, talking to a reputable lettings agent with an in-depth knowledge of the area you are considering will provide invaluable insight.

Get the best mortgage : Broaden your search for the best buy-to-let mortgage available rather than contact only your existing bank or building society.  Talk to an independent financial advisor to ensure you are getting the best deal available for your financial circumstances.  In response to our clients’ needs, we recently launched Redstones Financial Services dedicated to providing you with the best financial advice and products.

Consider your target tenant : You may love the house you are purchasing but will your ideal tenant? Young professionals generally seek modern and stylish properties, while students need comfort rather than luxury.  Families need plenty of practical living space to accommodate the different needs of family members.  Will you rent your property your property on a furnished or unfurnished basis? All of these questions need answering before investing in your buy-to-let property.

Talk to a lettings specialist : Will you go it alone or rent your property through a lettings agent? At Redstones we offer varying levels of service from introduction only to a fully managed property service. For landlords concerned about their tenant’s ability to pay their rent, we also offer our unique Platinum Total Care Service.

As a potential landlord, we understand that the first steps into the private rental market are often overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be that way.  At Redstones we are always available to offer advice.  Contact us today for answers you need.

The Difference is Redstones.