Category Archives: Landlords

Redstones Lettings

Understanding costs and returns as a landlord

Particularly if you are a new landlord, getting your head around the costs you will incur and your potential return on the property or properties you rent is essential.

Buy to let investing comes from two income streams – rent and the capital growth of the value of the property increasing.

The property market fluctuates, so it is possible to lose money if property values go down, if your outgoings exceed rental yield or if the property is vacant for any period of time. Being a landlord is a medium to long-term investment.

The costs involved are the costs of purchasing the property for rent including stamp duty, valuation, legal costs and mortgage arrangement fees. If you are renting your property as a business, Class 2 National Insurance is payable and so is income tax, which is payable on rental income minus day to day running costs.

Day to day running costs include landlord’s insurance, letting agent’s fees, mortgage interest, annual safety checks, redecorating and general maintenance.

But how about the profit you will earn? Here’s a useful article about calculating rental yield.

Also, if rent arrears are a worry, our Redstones Platinum Total Care service is invaluable, as it offers guaranteed rent paid on time, every time, whether the tenant has paid or not!

redstones epc

Government stamping out rental of energy inefficient homes

Calling all landlords and tenants! Please be aware that as of the 1st April 2018, all properties in the private rented sector will require a minimum energy performance rating of E or higher. These regulations apply to new lets and renewals of tenancies that come into effect in April 2018 and apply to all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020.

Therefore, it will become unlawful to rent a property that breaches the requirement of a minimum E rating, although some exceptions do apply. For any breaches, civil penalties of up to £4000 will be imposed.

Please note that Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) will be required for many types of property, including individual dwellings, self-contained flats, bedsits, shared flats and self-contained accommodation. The fixed penalty for those failing to provide an EPC certificate when required is £200 per dwelling and there is a six month time limit for any enforcement action to be taken.

Previous legislative changes mean that all property advertisements since 2013 have contained EPC ratings and SAP ratings and since October 2015, landlords have had to provide EPCs to tenants.

Currently, almost 10% of privately rented homes in England and Wales (4.2 million properties) fall below the E rating.

Manjit Virdi, Managing Director of Redstones explains, “The idea behind the changes are to ban the renting of the most poorly insulated homes in a bid to cut energy bills and carbon emissions, whilst improving the housing stock available in the country by ensuring landlords make efforts to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.”

He continues, “Redstones have advised all the landlords we feel will be directly affected by this but if anyone, either a landlord or tenant, has any concerns, we would encourage them to get in touch with us.”

Redstones Board design

Eye-catching new sales and letting boards launched

As part of a regular drive to refresh the Redstones brand, a new design for Redstones’ sales and letting boards has been launched, which eagle-eyed sellers, buyers and landlords will notice soon!

Redstones Board design

Redstones Board design

Manjit Virdi, Managing Director of Redstones explains, “We are a marketing led company who work hard to protect and position our brand effectively. The new board design is all part of that.

In a crowded market, it’s vital for us to have an even more eye-catching board design that will stand out to serious buyers or passers-by and help promote and showcase properties as effectively as possible. Sales and letting boards have always been an important marketing tool to us, which is why we refresh their design every 2 years or so.”

The new boards help ensure that properties attract the right attention and the new board design extends to premium gallow boards, the swinging boards used to sell high value properties.

Redstones Lettings

Good news for landlords with long-term rentals on the rise

It’s good news for landlords as a survey conducted by the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) has uncovered that two in five renters are not looking to buy a property and instead intend, consider renting a home to be a long-term plan.

From those who intend to buy, 62% stated that they do not expect to own a property within the next year and a quarter stated that they hoped to purchase a property within 6 months.

Of course, with buying a home being a major financial commitment, renting also suits those saving for a deposit before taking on a mortgage.

In terms of housing, it’s now recognised that the UK needs a flexible housing sector that suits the varied life choices and priorities of an increasingly diverse population and the rental sector plays an important role in offering quality housing in areas where shortages are occurring.

The survey reflects Redstones own observations. Managing Director of Redstones, Manjit Virdi says, “The number of tenants we are taking on is on the increase. We are finding that many people choose to be tenants as it better suits their plans or lifestyle, enabling them to be flexible.”

With demand at an all-time high, so is the potential for attracting high quality tenants. At Redstones, we attract landlords through our ‘Switch Agents’ programme, which ensures that new business is gained on the quality of service delivered. The programme makes it easy for landlords to switch their property or property portfolio to Redstones if they’re dissatisfied with their current agent.

Another favourite for landlords, Redstones Platinum Total Care ensures the landlord’s rent is paid on the date it is due, regardless of whether the tenant has paid on time.

Redstones also advises many landlords on property management, helping them to grow their portfolio without the time-consuming difficulties attached with managing property.

Alternatively, if you’re a tenant looking for a new home, find out more about what’s involved when renting through Redstones.

Redstones West Midlands House Head Office

Centre of Operations

This new office will be the centre of operations for the companies expanding lettings and estate agency franchise, as well as serving landlords, tenants and property sellers and buyers in the Willenhall and Walsall areas.

Manjit Virdi, founder and Managing Director of Redstones, said, “It is an exciting time for our company. As well as moving to our new Willenhall base, we will be revamping our website and online presence. We feel we can utilise our online platform to spread the reach of our service, and give an even more cost-effective service to our customers.”

“We have continually sought to be innovators in the UK property letting and management industry. Our Platinum Total Care Service, which guarantees rental income to landlords, and our Easy Switch Agents Scheme are two examples of that innovative spirit. 2017 promises to be our best year, and I am excited at what we will be delivering for our customers.”

Redstones services include residential sales, lettings, and property management. The nature of the property market is developing, with over 80% of all property searches now carried out online. Redstones utilises this to present property in the best manner, including 3D floor plans, providing a  “walk through” experience.

Whilst fully embracing the internet, and the latest technology, Manjit Virdi feels Redstones have a particular advantage in the property industry. “We never forget that this business is about people,” he says. “Although we may be dealing with bricks and mortar, at the end of the day we are helping people. That may be taking the pressure off a property owner by managing their property and tenants, or getting the best possible price for someone selling their property.”

“Our people make the difference too. We call ourselves the ‘local’ property experts, and the knowledge we have of our communities and the local property markets, means we can add extra value for our customers, that some of the big box agents struggle with.”

Redstones Property Management

How to ‘winter-proof’ your property

As a tenant or home owner, it’s worth thinking about how you can ‘winter-proof’ your property, so that you are well-prepared regardless of what the unpredictable British weather decides to throw at us!

Here are 5 easy to do tips:

  • To prepare for the expense of Christmas, why not compare utility providers to see if you can get any better deals? Remember that bills are always higher in Winter and good deals are available.
  • Are any of your rooms prone to damp? Before the cold weather really sets in, move all furniture away from walls to allow air to circulate better.
  • If your garden furniture or any other objects such as potted plants are still in the garden, make sure you keep them covered in a garage or shed to avoid the ravages of winter weather.
  • Cracked and burst pipes can be prevented by ensuring an even temperature in your home. Set your thermostat at a lower temperature when nobody is at home and set it to gradually rise just before the evening.
  • Consider draught excluders to keep the heat in for doors or even a draught-excluding letter box!

Here are some bigger tasks that are worth considering too:

  • Get your boiler serviced, clean the guttering from leaves and bleed your radiators if necessary before it gets too cold.
  • Don’t forget to check your roof! Cracked or broken tiles let water in, leading to damp, so it’s worth getting a professional in to check if you’re concerned.
  • Ensure that your home is as well insulated as it can be to keep the heat in and to save money. Windows and doors should be double-glazed and the walls and loft could benefit from cavity insulation. Keeping damp and mould at bay is the key.
  • To prevent too many leaves from falling or even branches falling onto your home or car as the weather gets very cold, prune back any large trees that reside close to your property or driveway.

Some forward thinking and vigilance is all you need to assure yourself that you’re keeping your home warm and safe.

Alternatively, if you’re considering a new home to buy or for renting this winter or beyond, Redstones has a great selection available.

Redstones Lettings

Longer tenancies supported by Government

Great news for landlords – the Government is now backing longer tenancies. The idea has been backed by the new Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, who is trying to make longer-term tenancies available to tenants who want them.

His department has drawn up a model tenancy agreement which encourages longer-term tenancies and the Government is now working with the private rented sector to promote the scheme and identify any obstacles. This agreement sets out the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, as a benchmark for tenancy agreements and outlines the ways in which families would benefit from longer agreements.

Manjit Virdi, Director of Redstones says, “I know that many of our landlords feel that long-term tenants make greater efforts to maintain their home and many tenants like the security of remaining in one property, so I believe this scheme will be welcomed by many.”

Interestingly, a recent report showed that the average tenancy agreement for a residential property in England stands at just 18 months, reflecting a short-term approach but clearly, some tenants will be happy to settle in one property for a longer period depending on their circumstances.

There are many stresses that come with being a landlord and finding new tenants once your existing tenants have left is just one of them. Although the average annual void period in the UK currently stand at 22 days, Redstones work pro-actively with our landlords to minimise void periods and identify longer-term tenants where possible.

Not only do we attract the right tenants, we pro-actively help our landlords manage their properties. Our uniques services for landlords include Redstones Platinum Total Care, which ensures that the rent is paid on time, every time and our Switch Agents Programme, which makes it very easy to switch to us if you’re dissatisfied with your current letting agent. This high level of service is what makes Redstones stand out in the lettings market.

Redstones Lettings

Good news for landlords looking to maximise their investment

Recent statistics have shown that buy to let properties still outperform most other types of investment, with average returns made by landlords in England and Wales being 9.6%.

Despite the recent increase in stamp duty, it is essentially house price rises that influence the return that landlords make.

It is calculated that the average price of a home in England by 2030 with be over £450,000. Already, between 2000 and 2015, house prices have risen by 84%. Of courses, property prices vary throughout the country, with London experiencing the highest rise, although this trend does impact the West Midlands too.

In fact, house prices have increased by 36% since April 2011 alone. This is out of step with the average weekly pay packet, which has risen by 7% only.

As a result, many people are locked out of home-ownership, leading to higher demand in the private rental market.

Inflationary property prices will continue to boost the buy to let sector, even if rental yields don’t quite the same returns. It therefore makes sense for landlords to consider expanding their property portfolio in the future.

At Redstones, we continue to offer landlords a high level of support, to take the time and hassle away from property management. You will find that our comprehensive range of services is over and above what’s offered by many other letting agents.

Redstones Lettings

Buy to let market to remain strong

Despite recent reports to the contrary, the buy to let market in the UK remains bouyant, with a growing private rented sector set to continue into the future.

In fact, the latest research shows that over the past 15 years, the sector has more than doubled. There are now 4.3 million households living in privately rented accommodation, demonstrating strong rental demand.

So, what has caused the private rented sector to grow? Firstly, more people are now living for longer and an increasing number of people live on their own. Furthermore, some people delay a choice to settle down with a family or they are staying in higher education for longer periods of time.

In addition, there is also a growth in population, which includes more migrants arriving in Britain. This is also combined with less available social housing and difficulties for first-time buyers in terms of affording properties.

Affordability is a key issue as house prices have been growing at a rate that has outpaced earnings, meaning that first-time buyers stay in rented accommodation for longer as they save for a deposit.

Whilst the Government states that it wants to get more people on the property ladder, the private rented sector is still likely to flourish.

There will be changes, however, as the new higher stamp duty for second properties could lead to higher rents and fewer properties available for rent. There is also tax and regulatory changes planned, which means that the buy-to-let market could grow at a slower rate but it will still continue to grow, nevertheless.

At Redstones, we regularly work with new and experienced landlords with property portfolios of all sizes and proactively advise them on market shifts. Here’s what makes us one of the leading lettings agents and property management experts in the West Midlands.

Redstones Property Management

How to be a good landlord

We’ve dealt with many landlords over the years at Redstones, so we know what makes a good one! Attracting and retaining good tenants isn’t always easy, but becoming a good landlord will help you achieve this. So, if you want to become the best landlord you can, we have some top tips for you:

  • Spend some time educating your tenants at the beginning of the process, so that they clearly understand your requirements and expectations. It certainly prevents misunderstandings later down the line. A fair tenancy agreement should also be in place upfront.
  • Often the quality of your rental property determines the quality of your tenant, so always keep your property well-maintained and clean when showing potential new tenants around.
  • Stay on top of repairs to minimise problems for tenants and have tradespeople on hand that can complete repairs quickly and cost efficiently.
  • Be pro-active and contact tenants after they’ve moved in to check how they’re settling in. This type of effective communication and courtesy speaks volumes about your status as a good landlord.
  • Always listen to tenant’s concerns and do your best to address them. It is this type of effective communication that convinces a good tenant to stay.
  • Make a full inventory, including photographs and meter readings to prevent any disagreements over damage throughout the tenancy.
  • Safety first – Gas and electrical equipment must be installed and checked annually by a registered engineer. Also, fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms must be fitted by law. Regular checks are also necessary.

As a landlord, working with Redstones will mean that we can take care of all of this time-consuming detail for you. We’re experienced in finding good tenants and can advise you on exactly what you need to do to become a good landlord.

Find out more about our vast array of services for landlords.