Category Archives: Letting Agent

Redstones Hayes Office Image

Redstones opens new Hayes office

On Saturday 5th August, Redstones was delighted to open its latest franchise in Hayes, West London. Redstones is growing fast as a leading estate and letting agency, quickly and confidently expanding its reach throughout the UK, particularly the London region.

The Hayes launch was an ideal opportunity to welcome potential local property buyers and landlords to the brand new offices, whilst explaining the business strategy of the Hayes office and how it intends to set itself apart from competitors.

The new office benefits from a prime High Street location, although similarly to all franchises, it will have a strong online presence.

A new business offer that is capturing the interest of those is Hayes and beyond is Redstones new launch offer to sell your property from £666, including VAT.

New franchisee, Pasoon Ebrahim stated that, “The launch was a great event for all that attended and helped to solidify strong relationships that I’m building in the area. There are lots of excellent business opportunities in Hayes and I believe the new branch will be a fantastic addition to Redstones growing network of high quality, value for money and reputable estate and letting agencies.”

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 Hayes Office Image

Say “hi” to the new Redstones Hayes Office

As a rapidly expanding estate and letting agency, Redstones has recently experienced huge growth through developing their franchise network, particularly in London.

The most recent franchise due to launch is the Hayes office in West London. Operated by new franchisee, Pasoon Ebrahim, potential new franchisees, landlords, buyers, property development professionals and all those interested in the local Hayes property market are warmly invited to an open day at the new High Street office, a prime location in Hayes on Saturday 12th August – 10am – 3pm. Address: 03 Coldhrbour lane , Hayes , UB3 3EA

Managing Director of Redstones, Manjit Virdi says, “Come and visit our new Hayes office, it’s an excellent opportunity to see the exceptional service we have on offer and how we plan to excel in the challenging property market in Hayes. Of particular interest to many will be our launch offer to sell your property from £666 including VAT. This exciting new launch offer is sure to interest the local property market.”

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 illuminated sign

How to choose the best estate and lettings agency

Estate and lettings agents don’t always have the best reputation but with our focus on customer service, Redstones is the brand that goes against those pre-conceptions.

For those seeking a home for sale or rent, in addition to landlords, here’s what we always advise:

Complete your research

Choose an estate agent that is selling or renting properties similar to yours or those you are interested in and an agent that is prominent in your local area. Ask about their track record in your area.

Assess estate and letting agents

Why not pop into the office and meet them? Are they professional, friendly and enthusiastic? It’s essential to find out about their marketing methods too. Are they utilising SEO, 3D floor plans and advertising on all of the best websites?

It’s so important to build up a good rapport with your agent from the start too. You need to find them to be honest and trusting, as well as flexible.

Ask about the level of service you can expect. Ensure they have good local knowledge and the right level of experience. Be honest about expressing your own concerns too. Perhaps you want ensure they will be flexible in terms of showing buyers around your home or if you’re a landlord, you will want to know the level of support the agency will offer.

Redstones offer many unique services that are highly attractive to landlords such as Switch Agent and Redstones Platinum Total Care.

If you want a valuation for your home, don’t always go for the agency that states the highest price. Ask them how they intend to achieve the best possible price, as there’s much more to selling a home than just price.

Many people also ask family and friends for recommendations and some canny individuals even pose as buyers so see how effective a certain estate agent is!

Check testimonials and accreditations

Recommendation websites and independent testimonials are useful too, as you can find out more about the experiences of previous customers.

Always make sure the estate and letting agency you choose is accredited as well. At Redstones, we are members of NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) and ARLA (Association Residential Letting Agents).

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 Red Cup

Brexit leads to a boost for the Buy to Let market

Buy-to-let activity has seen a boost in August, despite Brexit, with research revealing that buy-to-let valuations were up by 12.7% in August compared to the previous month.

From a landlord’s perspective, it has been a tough year, as the Government has introduced many changes to try and create a level playing field between homeowners and investors. These changes include the introduction of the stamp duty surcharge in April 2016 and the abolishment of the 10% Wear and Tear tax relief for landlords who rent out furnished homes has been abolished, so they can only claim the amount that they have spent. Also, mortgage tax relief is set to be phased out from 2017.

Despite these changes, buy-to-let activity has increased sharply. An encouraging economic outlook, high levels of employment and fading fears of a recession have been positively received, despite the uncertainty caused by Brexit. The Bank of England’s decision to cut the base rate for the first time in seven years also seems to have stimulated property investors.

Despite legislative changes, the buy to let sector seems to remain buoyant and resilient. Manjit Virdi, Director of Redstones says, “We are still regularly liaising with property landlords that wish to expand their portfolio, despite the political and economic climate. As well as helping them identify the right next property for their portfolio, we help them manage the often time-consuming burden of being a landlord.”

Redstones offers a wide range of property management services, from credit control to meter reading, repairs and maintenance, gas certificates and much more.

At the same time, house sellers are taking advantage of reports that house prices will increase following Brexit by getting their properties on the market. With new properties always becoming available, keep your eyes peeled on the local market by checking the search function on our website or registering your details with your local Redstones office.

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.