Category Archives: Financial

Property Owners Insurance- more than just buildings cover

Redstones Financial

Redstones Financial

Buildings Insurance may be a requirement for lenders who advance money to finance buy to let property purchases. Many insurers will provide a basic policy that effectively covers the risk of fire however a Property Owners Insurance can be extended a little extra cost to provide so much more to the Investor.

Covers can include Loss of Rent and Alternative Accommodation, both of which are useful if you find yourself in a difficult situation with a claim. One of our clients had a drain blocked which caused water to come into the property through the toilet system, leaving as you can imagine quite a mess to be cleared up. The Alternative Accommodation on the client’s policy provided the cost for the tenant to stay in a hotel whilst the property was sanitized and made fit for habitation. Likewise, another client suffered loss from a burst pipe, the water created significant damage to the property, water brought some of the ceilings down, damaged flooring and walls. The property took 10 weeks to dry out to allow the property to be a position to be redecorated and carpeted for the tenant to move back in. The Loss of Rent on the policy covered the cost of the rent which the client did not receive, this was vital for to allow the Landlord to meet his monthly loan repayments which the bank still expected to be met.

Contents insurance can be added to a Property Owners policy to provide for cover for any appliances/ furniture/ carpets/ curtains which are provided by the Landlord. These wouldn’t be picked up by a standard buildings policy and can add up. Even a small amount of cover – say £2000 can be useful should there be a significant claim and the cost of the cover is very nominal to include.

Property Owners Liability really is a must for the Property Owner. It is not compulsory by Law but it protects the Owner for any claims against them for negligence or damage to other property or to people.  A client of ours received a claim for damages due to a tenant slipping on some water outside of a flat that they occupies which the claimant said was down to the Landlords oversight. The insurers put a £15,000 reserve as the tenant had fell and hurt themselves as a result. Injury claims really can add up and be a major issue if insurance is not in place to defend the claim or make a payment if the landlord is found to be liable.

We see quite a few claims coming in where properties have been broken into and damaged maliciously, often this involves reckless damage and theft of items like copper piping and fixtures leading to water damage.  Theft and Malicious Damage can be caused by tenants also and it’s important to check that your insurance policy provides cover for these risks.

Hopefully this highlights some of the issues that Landlords find themselves with and ways they can try to mitigate their exposure. A Property Owners Insurance from a Reputable Insurer can really help to reduce the risks. We are happy to talk to Property Owners who may have concerns and want to know how to protect them- please call  Claire Oakley on 08000 686 001 or email claire@a2ofs.co.uk

Redstones Financial Services ltd is a trading name of Acorn to Oaks Financial Services ltd, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, our number is 486131.

redstones houses

Stamp Duty : What Will You Really Save?

This weeks Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osborne revealed significant changes to the amount of Stamp Duty which it is claimed will reduce the amount payable for 98% for all homebuyers.

Here we summarise what it all means.

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty, or Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a payment levied on all purchases of property, including flats, houses, land and other buildings over a certain price.

Before

Under the previous system home buyers would pay stamp duty calculated on a fixed percentage as detailed below:-

Property price up to £125,000  tax free

Price between £125,000-£250,000  stamp duty of 1%

Price between £250,000-£500,000 stamp duty of 3%

Price between £500,000 £1m  stamp duty of 4%

Price between £1m to £2m  stamp duty of 5%

A stamp duty of 7% applied to all properties over £2m.

Under this system, if buyers paid just £1 over £250,000 they were required to pay stamp duty of 3% on the whole purchase price, a system which was often criticised.

After

With the changes to stamp duty announced in the Autumn Statement, home buyers now pay a fixed percentage of stamp duty on each portion of the property price.

The applicable charges for residential properties are now as follows

The first £125,000 of the property price,  tax free

Portion of price from £125,000-250,000  stamp duty of 2%.

From £250,000-£925,000  5%

From £925,000-£1.5m  10%

Portion of price over £1.5m  taxed at 12%.

Under this system buyers are no longer charged a higher rate on the total property price if they pay £250,001, for example.

What does it mean?

Here we haveve provided some illustrations of what these changes will mean in practice.

Property price £125,00 – no change (no stamp duty applicable)

Property price £185,000  previous charge £1,850; new charge £1,200  Total Saving £650

Property price £275,000  previous charge £8,250; new charge £3,750  Total Saving £4,500

Property price £510,000  previous charge £20,400; new charge £15,000  Total Saving £4,900

Property price £2.1m  previous charge £147,500; new charge £165,750– Total Loss £18,750

A stamp duty calculator is available on the government website.

https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax-rates

Early predictions suggest that house prices may rise in some areas where the cost of stamp duty will be lower but fall in regions where stamp duty will increase, typically in areas where house prices are highest.

What will this mean for the housing market?

As an overall guideline the Treasury stated that people purchasing a property for £275,000 (the price of an average family home) would save £4,500 in stamp duty. A purchase of £2.1m on the other hand will see stamp duty rise by £18,750.

While the period leading up to Christmas sees a traditional slowdown in the housing market, it is anticipated that 2015 will see an increase in prospective buyers.

When did these changes take effect?

The changes took place with effect from 3rd December.   For buyers who have exchanged contracts on a property but not yet completed, they will be allowed to select which rules to use.

The new rates of stamp duty will apply across the UK but will be replaced by the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland from next April.

Thinking of selling your house? At Redstones we work hard to ensure a fast sale at the optimum price.  We also offer an online auction for property owners who need to sell quickly. Contact us today to discuss your options.

For more advice and guidance, see our previous blogs:-

Selling Your House? Get Your Timing Right

House Prices Are At An All Time High – Is It Time To Sell?

Always Adding Value : Redstones Joins Utility Warehouse

At Redstones we are continually looking for new ways to improve our service to our customers, as well as providing additional income streams for our franchisees. Most of the time, our ideas are prompted by listening to the concerns of our landlords and tenants.

As a result, we are delighted to announce we have joined Utility Warehouse.

With the rising cost of living we understand that our tenants, like most people, are looking for the most cost effective deal on their utility bills. Redstones can now offer them that facility.

Being a member of the Utility Warehouse Discount Club also means that our franchisees are now able to offer these additional benefits to our tenants.

With the rising costs of running a home showing no signs of abating, Utility Warehouse currently provides over half a million homes and small business in the UK with their landline telephone, broadband, mobile, gas and electricity services. Costs are covered in one single utility bill every month, which makes managing your cashflow much easier.

Utility Warehouse also offers a facility to enable you to move from your current supplier by helping you with early termination fees too.

This is the latest innovation in Redstones’ unique approach to customer service.

Our additional services include:-

Redstones Financial

This recent addition to our brand was the direct result of listening to concerns expressed by both our landlords and tenants over finding a financial advisor who they could trust.

Redstones Financial

  • Guarantees that we will find the most suitable and cost effective financial products to meet the individual needs of our clients.
  • Offers a wide range of financial products which include mortgages, life insurance, home and car insurance, savings facilities and pensions, as well as critical illness and health insurance.

Furthermore, your calls are answered by friendly, professional advisors and are not directed to a call centre. This was a particular concern expressed by our customers and a major influence when setting up Redstones Financial.

Platinum Total Care Service

For landlords concerned about tenants paying their rent on time, Redstones offers a Platinum Total Care Service.  For our clients selecting this service, we guarantee that your rent will be paid on time every month, regardless of whether your tenant has paid.

Switch Agents Service

The residential lettings market is thriving but as it is largely unregulated this means anyone can set up a lettings agency. This unfortunately attracts a number of unscrupulous companies into the sector. If you are unhappy with the service provided by your current lettings agent, our Switch Agents facility takes you through a series of simple steps to transfer management of your properties to Redstones.

Marketing At Its Best

With our state of the art technology coupled with our innovative approach to marketing, both Redstones franchisees and our clients benefit from our continued investment into our brand and commitment to excellence. Our decision to join Utility Warehouse epitomises that commitment.

For more information on our services for landlords or to find out more about becoming a lettings agency franchisee with Redstones, contact us today.

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.

Day in the life of an agent

Redstones Financial Services : It’s Official

At Redstones we are continually seeking new and innovative ways of adding value to our brand which will benefit both our customers and our franchisees.  We are therefore delighted to announce the official launch of our new Finance Division which will do just that.

Redstones Financial

Redstones Financial

We are aware from talking to our customers that reliable, unbiased financial advice is hard to come by in the property sales and residential lettings market.  Redstones Financial Services now offers our clients the convenience of expert independent advice provided by professional and friendly staff under the umbrella of the Redstones brand.

Our new division provides financial services and independent advice to our clients for a range of financial products including:-

  • Home mortgages finance
  • Buy-to-let property finance
  • Commercial finance
  • Property insurance
  • Business insurance
  • Motor/travel insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Pensions and investments
  • Tax planning

Why Choose Redstones Financial Services?

We generally find that our clients’ top three concerns when considering a financial services provider are:-

  • Cost
  • Quality of financial product
  • Quality of service

Redstones Financial Services offers you the following assurances:-

  • We listen : At Redstones Financial Services we promise to provide our customers with the most appropriate, cost-effective products to match their needs. We won’t compromise on quality or on the levels of protection you need.
  • Family run : As an expanding family run business, Redstones Financial Services is committed to low overheads to ensure that our prices are among the cheapest available.
  • Quality : We work closely with Simply Biz to ensure that we can access the whole market so you can be confident we are offering the appropriate level of protection to meet your needs.
  • First class service : With Redstones Financial Services, you can be assured of attentive, qualified staff who are ready to listen to your requirements and provide you with a solution that suits you, the customer.
  • No call centre : As you would expect with Redstones, you will deal directly with friendly and experienced staff, rather than experiencing the inconvenience and frustration of being directed to a call centre.

Benefits to Our Franchisees

The launch of Redstones Financial Services expands the advantages offered when investing in a franchise with Redstones compared to other lettings agency franchises, in addition the following benefits:-

Low start-up costs : The total investment required to launch a Redstones franchise is between £20-25,000, offering a cost-effective route to entry into a competitive market.  Our franchise model assumes the launch of your Redstones franchise from a serviced office, rather than costly high street premises. This way, overheads are kept to a minimum during the first crucial year of your business.

Larger than average territories : Our unique mapping means that our territories are larger than those generally on offer by other lettings agency franchises, encompassing c250,000 population, or approximately 100,000 chimney pots. This gives every franchise an equal opportunity to build a lucrative and successful business within the Redstones network.

Outstanding customer service : Redstones is recognised as an ethical brand with an outstanding reputation for customer service in a sector that often receives a bad press.  With our Switch Agents facility, our Platinum Total Care Service and now with the launch of Redstones Financial Services, our franchisees are guaranteed a comprehensive package to set them apart in the market.

For more information on Redstones Financial Services or on what it takes to succeed as a Redstones franchisee, contact us today.

Coming Soon! Redstones To Launch A Financial Services Division

Redstones Financial

Redstones Financial

At Redstones, we are always seeking new ways of enhancing our levels of customer service while adding value to our franchise offering.  We are confident the latest addition to our brand will successfully meet both of these critiera.

Our soon-to-be-launched Redstones Financial division brings a new arm to our brand which will provide a full financial service to landlords and investors as well as tenants and house buyers.

Why Redstones Financial?

When we first launched Redstones, it was partly in response to the poor levels of customer service in the lettings agency sector.  Today, we are frequently asked for recommendations for financial service providers by our customers. Most of them share a similar wariness of this sector due to the bad press it’s received in the last few years.

The launch of Redstones Financial sees our reputation for unrivalled levels of customer service and transparency extended to this exciting side to our brand.

Redstones Financial – The Highlights

The guiding principles of Redstones Financial are:-

  • Ethical regulated firm
  • Expert independent advice
  • Professional and friendly staff
  • The best prices obtained
  • Quick and efficient turnaround
  • Extensive market of lenders and insurers
  • Professional, friendly service with outstanding customer care
  • No call centres!

Redstones Financial – The Products

The variety of financial products to be covered by Redstones Financial will incorporate the following:-

  • Home mortgages finance
  • Buy-to-let property finance
  • Commercial finance
  • Property insurance
  • Business insurance
  • Motor/travel insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Pensions and investments
  • Tax planning

 Redstones Financial – The Benefits

This innovative addition to the Redstones brand will prove advantageous for both our clients and our franchisees.

For our clients, it reinforces our commitment to provide the highest levels of customer care and continually review our service levels.  When it comes to Redstones, we listen to your concerns and endeavour to provide the solutions you seek.

For our expanding network of franchisees, Redstones Financial will further enhance the value of our franchise offering.

Redstones has a proven track record of launching unique products in response to concerns raised by our customers.

These include:-

Switch Agents – The easy way to move management of your property to Redstones, Switch Agents was designed specifically for landlords unhappy with the level of service received from their current lettings agent.

Platinum Total Care Service – Redstones guarantees that your rental payments are made, regardless of whether or not your tenants have paid on time.

This is on top of the most comprehensive marketing strategy available in the lettings sector, with on-going investment in the latest in state-of-the art technology to ensure we stay ahead in a competitive market place.

More information on this exciting new addition to the Redstones brand will follow soon.  In the meantime, to find out more about Redstones Financial, Redstones property management or about becoming a Redstones franchisee contact us today.

The Difference is Redstones

Disclaimer: Redstones Financial Services Ltd is a trading style of Acorn to Oaks Financial Services Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority 486131