Category Archives: Letting Agent

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.

Redstones - The Green Deal

How a garden can increase the value of your home

If you are selling your home, it’s worth considering the impact of your garden in increasing its value. A recent study by the Home Retail Group stated that in Britain, we spend £80 billion on our gardens and two fifths of us would refuse to choose or consider a home unless it had a sufficient garden.

In fact, one in seven homeowners believes that their garden has added more value to their home than their original investment.

If you wish to enhance the value of your home, use plants, flowers, furniture and lighting creatively, keeping the garden well-lit and maintained to add potential value. It needs to look easy to maintain if you’re planning to sell in future. Good quality garden furniture, a patio and well maintained grass are all attractive. Selling in summer is a good idea too, as buyers will be able to picture themselves relaxing in the garden.

Keep fences well maintained and create privacy. Another good tip is to create defined spaces, such as a set area for a barbeque, an area for seating and a greenhouse/shed area.

Conservatories also help to create additional space and offer the best return on investment when upgrading your home, as does your garden and any extensions. Conservatories create space without the need for planning permission depending on their size and they are exempt from building regulations. Many can also be constructed at a reasonable price of £5,000.

With a pleasant garden being a key selling point for many homes, it’s time to give it your full attention now!

At Redstones, we are pro-active at offering you valuable tips that will help you present your property at it’s very best when selling. Discover some great reasons to use Redstones.

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 Buyers

Finding tenants with a good credit score

As a landlord, an essential part of finding good tenants is checking their credit. This is the best way of predicting whether or not they will be able to pay their rent on time.

There are various issues to consider in regards to credit scores, such as the age of your tenant. When you rent property to younger tenants, they may not have built up enough positive credit history to achieve a high credit score. However, remember that if a potential tenant has a low credit score but you feel they would be a good tenant, you could consider a co-signer such as a parent.

Another issue is the region where the property is located. Factors such as employment rates and property values can impact credit scores, so the region’s average credit score needs to be taken into consideration.

Many credit reports highlight issues that may have adversely impacted your prospective tenant’s credit score. It’s worth investigating these issues, as some of them may not matter as much as others.

Income, of course, is another factor and a credit report helps to assess whether the tenant has enough money to pay the rent, with enough left over for other expenses.

Clearly, a mixture of judgment and intuition, as well as evidence, helps determine good tenants.

As part of the detailed tenant screening process at Redstones, we can advise on credit issues and much more to take the hassle out of finding good tenants.

To safe guard you in any eventuality Redstones launched the Redstones “Platinum Total Care Service”. Rent is guaranteed whether the tenant pays or not.

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.