Category Archives: Walsall

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A beginner’s guide to property yields

You may have heard people talk about property yield but what does this mean?

It is a way of measuring the rental potential of a property and is the amount of rent that can be earned in a year for the landlord. This amount is expressed as a percentage of the price of the house.

So, if a rental income of £10,000 was earned from a house costing £200,000, the yield would be 5%. It’s helpful to use a percentage because it better enables comparison between different properties, so that landlords can assess which would earn them the most. For example, a £10,000 income on a £160,000 house represents a rental yield of 6.25%, demonstrating greater value than the previous property.

Many factors impact upon property yield and the larger or more expensive houses don’t necessarily offer higher returns. Landlords can achieve a high yield in areas where there is a shortage of properties, a strong demand due to special amenities, such as a university nearby, close proximity to good schools, a strong local economy, good road or rail infrastructure or even a young population who aren’t yet ready to buy property.

Managing Director of Redstones, Manjit Virdi says, “Not every property will get you a great yield. For our various regions, our staff are equipped with excellent local knowledge and can advise landlords or potential landlords on which properties will generate them the best yield for their budget.”

He continues, “However, to make the right property investments, it’s important to look at potential capital growth as well as property yields to ensure you benefit from any future increases in both rents and property values.”

A professional lettings agent such as Redstones will advise you on how to succeed as a landlord, offering valuable local knowledge on targeted areas. Due diligence is the key and we can help you assess rental amounts in advance, so that you can calculate your all-important return on investment.

Here are some of the many reasons landlords choose to rely on Redstones.

Redstones Residential Sales

Top 5 tips for selling your home

If you’re planning to sell your home in 2017, here are Redstones’ top 5 tips for ensuring your sale plans are a success:

  1. Consider adding value

To achieve a good price for your property, it may be worth investing first. Adding double glazing, an extension, a loft conversion or a new kitchen could be successful tactics to contribute considerable value to your property.

Whether you want to sell now or if it’s more of a long-term plan, such modifications make a real difference to buyers.

  1. Be realistic

The price at which you sell should reflect your plans and reasons for moving home. Some people need to move quickly and others have less pressure and can take their time with a sale. Your circumstances to some extent should reflect your pricing. An expert estate agency such as Redstones can advise on this.

  1. Ensure your home is marketed effectively

First impressions count! Potential buyers will make a judgment on your home very quickly, which is why high quality images are so important. This is an area in which Redstones excel. Our marketing techniques include social media, advertising on all relevant portals, SEO and Pay-Per-Click. Vendors are able to sell their property quickly through 3D floor plans and walk through technology.

  1. Be fully prepared for viewings

Before every viewing, ensure your property is clean, fresh and clutter free to present it at its best for potential buyers. They need to imagine living in your home. Also, feel free to ask your estate agent for feedback after viewings, as often any negative feedback can be easily addressed.

And finally:

  1. Choose your estate agency wisely

This is a very important point because the agent that suggests the highest asking price for your home may not be the one you want to work with. A realistic price tends to work best and it’s also important to work with a trustworthy agent who will be honest with you. Selling your home can present challenges and therefore, picking the agent who you genuinely feel will be the most helpful through your journey is essential.

We believe we’re the agent for that job! Request a valuation with Redstones and find out more about the selling process.

Redstones Residential Sales

Property market buoyant as lending booms

In 2016, mortgage lending hit its highest level in 8 years, which can mainly be attributed to low interest rates.

Proving that the property market remains buoyant, the Council of Mortgage Lenders has confirmed that with a lending total of £246m last year, lending has increased by 12% on the total amount lent in 2015. Mortgage approvals for both purchasing property and re-mortgaging rose in December 2016, showing that this trend is likely to continue into 2017. In fact, since 2008, remortgaging has grown year on year by 30%.

Therefore, despite Brexit and higher stamp duty for buy to let investors, many people have clearly been taking advantage of low interest rates to move up the property ladder. However, despite banks being keen to do business, in some areas, there is an ongoing shortage of properties on the market nationally and house price growth is expected to slow.

Manjit Virdi, Managing Director of Redstones explains, “We’ve got off to a very busy start in 2017 across the board, in terms of both property sales and lettings. We have a very high quality supply of properties right now too.”

He continues, “The positive situation with mortgage lending means that this could be the ideal time to buy your first home, move up the property ladder or continue expanding an existing property portfolio. We’re finding that for many people, it makes sense to start the new year by strengthening property investments.”

We offer innovative services in both sales and lettings such as Switch Agent and Redstones Platinum Total Care, which are very popular with our landlords.

Find out more about the great service Redstones has to offer.

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 Houses

The impact of school performance on property prices

Nationally, figures have been released that reveal that house buyers are prepared to pay more to live near high performing schools. This could also offer landlords great opportunities, if they take this into consideration.

Research from Lloyds Bank has revealed that parents pay an average of £53,000 extra to live in such areas. This figure has increased by 31% or £13,000 on 2015. Where pupils are achieving the strongest GCSE results, average property prices have soared to £366,744.

The research demonstrates that average house prices in areas with a state school in the top 30 of exam results have soared by £76,000 since 2011 and seven of the areas covered in the survey have seen house prices rise by over £100,000 since 2011.

Parents who manage to secured a place for their child at a leading school have seen prices rise from an average of £290,683 to £366,744 over the last five years. This represents a significant increase of 26%. This is in contrast to average house price increases in England, which have increased by £42,145 over the past 5 years from £240,208 to £282,353. This is an increase of 18%.

Of course, the popularity of areas close to high performing schools means that some buyers will be ‘priced out’. However, for landlords or buy to let investors, it could represent a great opportunity.

Director of Redstones, Manjit Virdi says, “This research shows the importance that parents place on living near top performing schools. For any landlords with properties in such areas, this should be reflected in their rents and for landlords looking to expand their property portfolios, checking academic league tables as part of their research would be a wise move.”

Making house moving run smoothly

It is very rare to hear from anyone who didn’t find the process of moving house stressful. However, being prepared and making sure you don’t miss anything will be the key to making the process run as smoothly as possible.

Here are some of our top, tried and tested tips!:

  • Ensure that you have cancelled all bills and let all banks, insurance companies, the DVLA etc. know of your house move a few weeks in advance. Redirect post in advance too, in order to protect yourself from identity theft.
  • Research the best value utility contracts for your new property well in advance and remember to read the meters in both properties on your moving day
  • Use a good removal firm. Seek recommendations from friends or members of the British Association of Removers. Confirm the time and date of your move with the company in advance too.
  • Save time and cost by doing as much of the packing as you can yourself, clearing your diary to ensure you leave enough time to pack your belongings
  • Make sure that everyone who is helping you move is aware of the journey between your old and new property
  • Mark all boxes that you pack with the content and the name of the room in which they belong
  • Make arrangements for food and refreshments on moving day, keeping tea, coffee, milk and the kettle to one side!
  • Try to avoid Mondays and Fridays for your moving days, which are the busiest days on the roads
  • Be considerate to the new owners and explain how crucial items work (perhaps leave out instructions) such as your burglar alarm, boiler switches or a built-in oven. Also, provide details of who currently provides utilities at your property
  • Check all windows and door are locked and that utilities are turned off before you leave

These are some essential tips but as you get ready for the big move, it’s worth keeping a notebook close by and making any notes to remember that you feel will make the move more effective. Being as organised as possible is sure to miminise your stress on moving day!

Redstones Houses

Important considerations for choosing your next home

Determining what you want and need when choosing your next home is vital. Buying a new home is an expensive and long-term decision, so it’s worth thinking through all of the considerations.

The first set of considerations is what you may want from the property itself, in terms of number of bedrooms and bathrooms, parking provisions, a private garden or conservatory. Consider the amount of time or money you are willing to invest in refurbishment or redecoration too. If you speak to an estate agent such as Redstones, let them know what elements you would be willing to compromise on and what you don’t want.

A major decision will be whether or not you wish to consider a new build property. Some buyers want the challenges of refurbishing an existing property if it offers them other attractive features they desire, such as ample space or a conservatory. However, new builds are growing in popularity because they require less money and time to redecorate or repair. They are often more energy efficient than traditional properties and mean that they will be no upward chains upon purchase, making the process of exchange quicker and less stressful. New homes also come with a National House Building Council (NHBC) 10 year warranty.

Another big consideration is the area you will be moving into. Research is crucial to see whether the area suits your lifestyle. Information to gather includes house prices, school performance in the local area, public transport links and other amenities. Use Government websites to check council tax bandings in the area and information on population, crime, health and housing. The Highways Agency website provides information on road transport links and plans for future development that may impact house prices. In addition, the Environment Agency offers data on pollution or flooding, if this is a concern.

Managing Director of Redstones, Manjit Virdi says, “The bottom line is that if you’re looking for your next home, thorough research really pays off and will ensure that you make the right decision. Redstones are always on hand to advise home buyers as we know our local areas extremely well, so we always welcome questions from potential new home buyers who are trying to make the best possible decision they can.”

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.