Thursday, 16 May 2019

Should landlords bother inspecting their properties?

The short answer is that yes, a landlord should regularly inspect their properties to ensure they are in a good condition and that your tenants are happy in their home. There is of course a fine line between making this intrusive towards your tenants, so here’s an insight into my normal process:

A week after moving in I’ll give the tenants a courtesy call to ensure they’ve settled in ok and to check if there are any ‘teething issues’ they’ve discovered that needs attention.
When the rent comes in for the first time, I’ll send the tenants a text message thanking them and giving them peace of mind that their standing order payment was received ok. It also opens up a dialogue to ensure everything is running smoothly their end and that they’re happy in their new home.

If all goes smoothly, the first time I’ll re-visit the tenants and the property is after three months. Inspecting the property is obviously important at this stage to gain an idea as to how it is being treated by the tenants. But, it’s just as important to see how the property is treating the tenants too. Have they met the neighbours? Have the utilities been set-up? Are there any maintenance issues or potential improvements to make their home more comfortable (and their stay longer)? Testing the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms is also sensible, as is checking that the tenants are happy with how the appliances and heating function.

Whilst my tenants know they can call, text or e-mail me anytime, often they won’t bother me with minor maintenance issues until I visit them. Sure, I now need to fix a broken extractor fan at a property I visited this week that I knew nothing about (and the tenants hadn’t spotted). But that’s far better (and cheaper) than getting a phone call next Winter about the black mould in the bathroom caused by the excess moisture in the room.
Hopefully at this point your tenants have been paying their rent and are looking after the property. If not, now is the time to raise these concerns and what the consequences will be if their actions continue.

I’ll undertake a similar visit a few months later and then in most cases (where the rent is being paid and the property looked after) I’ll stretch the visits out to every four to six months. If there are any concerns with a particular property or set of tenants I’ll continue to visit quarterly. All this needs a little common-sense towards the type of property and the tenants, but don’t visit too frequently; not only is it intrusive to what is the tenants’ home, but it can be deemed as harassment if you’re visiting every month!

And a word of caution; don’t put off visiting your property just because the rent is always paid on time. Last year a landlord in Kent was in the news having not visited his property for 12 years because of this reason...to find thousands of empty cans and piles of rotting food in the flat when the tenants moved out because they couldn’t access the communal bins! It’s also a common ploy amongst criminal gangs to pay six or twelve months rent upfront on the agreement they be ‘left alone’.

So, whether you use a letting agent or self-manage your rental property, be sure someone visits the property and interacts with your tenants to ensure everything is running smoothly. If you’d like the burden of this task taken away from you by a competent letting agent, please get in touch and I’ll be happy to help.


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If you are looking for an agent that is well establishedprofessional and communicative in Chichester, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of your investment property.

E-mail me on clive@crjlettings.co.uk or call 01243 624 599.

Don't forget to visit the links below to view my previous buy-to-let deals and Chichester Property News articles:

c/o CRJ Lettings, 30B Southgate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1DP



Chichester rental valuation

Monday, 13 May 2019

BUY-TO-LET DEAL OF THE WEEK: 2 bed flat in Chichester, £210,000, 4.7% yield

2 bed flat, Guilden Road, Chichester
kitchenlounge
Summary:
2 bed flat in Chichester
Listed for sale on 18/01/19 @ £215,000
Now = £210,000
Rent = £825pcm
Yield = 4.7%

Last sold for £174,000 in 2018 (+21% in 1 year)

This two-bed flat is very close to Chichester's city centre; in fact it's just on the Eastern periphery of the city, which seems to be going through a general improvement lately with more 'trendy' bars and shops arriving in and around The Hornet in Chichester.

You don't often see property 'flips' in Chichester, whereby a property is bought, refurbished and sold all within a short space of time. That's because when you consider the buying and selling costs, which now includes an additional 3% stamp duty, it typically isn't worthwhile.

In this case the property was purchased last year for £174,000, which seems to be a very good price based on the sale prices of the others in the block (there are just four apartments in the block, which adds to its appeal). It is now for sale for £210,000, which seems a handsome profit (+21%), although when you consider the extent of works inside (a new boiler, kitchen, full decoration and flooring) and what else is on the market nearby, it still seems pretty reasonable to me. The advert also suggests the bathroom and double glazing has been upgraded.

And because the refurbishment has already been done, it should suit a landlord looking for a 'ready to rent' investment. I believe they could do so for up to £825pcm bearing in mind it has the bonus of a garage to the rear (worth £50pcm in itself), which is enough to provide a decent 4.7% rental return.

Ordinarily smaller blocks like these also have smaller ground rents and service charges attached to them, although in this case the advert suggests it's around £100pcm. That, along with the length of lease (now around 80 years left) might explain why it's sat on the market for sometime. This is certainly something to check, otherwise I think it looks like a very decent buy-to-let proposition.

The property is on the market with Sims Williams and full details can be found on Rightmove via the following link:
https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-78660830.html


If you are looking for an agent that is well establishedprofessional and communicative in Chichester, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of your investment property.

E-mail me on clive@crjlettings.co.uk or call 01243 624 599.

Don't forget to visit the links below to view my previous buy-to-let deals and Chichester Property News articles:

c/o CRJ Lettings, 30B Southgate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1DP



Chichester rental valuation

Thursday, 9 May 2019

What’s for rent in Chichester?


Last week I looked at what properties were for sale in Chichester. This week I thought I’d cater for those who aren’t yet in a position to buy and instead are looking for a property to rent in Chichester. It should also help Chichester’s landlords see how their properties fit into the rental market.

Of course, what you can rent is largely dependent on your budget. The cheapest property in Chichester costs £350pcm (per calendar month). The problem is it’s a single room in a shared (student) house, rather than a whole property. The cheapest property you could call your own in Chichester is a studio apartment in Arundel Park, which is up for rent at £585pcm.
On the other end of the scale, the most expensive property for rent in Chichester today is a five-bedroom detached house in Summersdale, which is available to rent for £2,250pcm.

Clearly rental property in Chichester is expensive…some more so than others! Let’s assume your budget is somewhere in the middle of the market. In fact, the median property for rent in Chichester costs £950pcm, which is the same figure as it was 12 months ago. For £950pcm there are a variety of two-bedroom flats and houses available to rent throughout the city.

Delving a little deeper into the median price by property type provides a good indication of what your budget is likely to be able to afford in Chichester:
What is also interesting to note is how much (or how little!) choice there is for prospective tenants in Chichester right now. There are a total of 212 properties for rent, of which 133 are still available to rent and 79 are now ‘let agreed’. This is actually a slight improvement on the market a year ago, when just 126 homes were still available to rent; but it is still low for a city that houses 6,356 private renters.

Those looking for a two-bedroom apartment have the most choice, with 36 available to rent in Chichester. There are a larger number of three-bedroom houses available than normal (29), whilst there’s a tighter supply when it comes to two-bedroom houses (17 available), one-bedroom flats (16 available) and four-bedroom houses (14 available). 
It seems that rental supply remains tight in Chichester, which is limiting tenants’ choices, keeping rents stubbornly high, and makes finding that dream home just a little bit trickier.


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If you are looking for an agent that is well establishedprofessional and communicative in Chichester, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of your investment property.

E-mail me on clive@crjlettings.co.uk or call 01243 624 599.

Don't forget to visit the links below to view my previous buy-to-let deals and Chichester Property News articles:

c/o CRJ Lettings, 30B Southgate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1DP



Chichester rental valuation

Monday, 6 May 2019

BUY-TO-LET DEAL OF THE WEEK: 3 bed house in Fishbourne, £289,950, 4.8% yield

3 bed house, Cuckoo Fields, Fishbourne, Chichester
kitchenlounge

Summary:
3 bed house in Fishbourne
Listed for sale on 11/04/19 @ £299,950
Now = £289,950
Rent = £1,150pcm
Yield = 4.8%

Last sold for £250,000 in 2011 (+20% in 8 years)

There's a few very similar three-bedroom houses on this newish estate in Fishbourne currently for sale. That means they're effectively competing for the same buyer, which has led to what I think is the possibility to purchase them at a good price.

The cheapest of the three available is this one, priced at £289,950 having been reduced by £10,000 just a few weeks after coming on the market (possibly in reaction to a chunky £25,000 price reduction from another that's been on for a few months, brining it down to the £300k mark).

Considering the house is only eight years old (in which time the value has increased just 20% from when the current owner paid £250,000, compared to an average increase locally of 33% in the same timeframe) it remains in very good condition. These houses are modern enough to appeal to young professional tenants, who appreciate a little more space and tranquillity living in Fishbourne versus being closer to Chichester's city centre.

Having said that, one downside of these houses is the size of the bedrooms. Having let a few in the past I can tell you this is pretty much the only barrier to renting them out. The downstairs' space is good, kitchens are modern and come with integrated appliances and the houses have gas central heating, double glazing, a cloakroom, family bathroom and en-suite. But the bedroom sizes aren't great - even the master is only a smallish double due to the en-suite eating into the space. The second and third bedrooms aren't really capable of being called a 'double' bedroom; in truth I've seen two-bedroom houses with a larger footprint upstairs than this house.

Nevertheless, if you can find someone for which this isn't as important as living on a nice estate, in a nice area and with a good quality home (typically a young professional couple and possibly a young child - no more than that), you should be able to rent it for £1,150pcm. That would equate to a 4.8% rental return, which is strong for a freehold house in such good condition. Even snipping £50pcm off the rent will mean a 4.6% return, which is still good and would then be based on a conservative rental figure.

The property is on the market with Sims Williams and full details can be found on Rightmove via the following link:
https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-71069041.html


If you are looking for an agent that is well establishedprofessional and communicative in Chichester, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of your investment property.

E-mail me on clive@crjlettings.co.uk or call 01243 624 599.

Don't forget to visit the links below to view my previous buy-to-let deals and Chichester Property News articles:

c/o CRJ Lettings, 30B Southgate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1DP



Chichester rental valuation

Thursday, 2 May 2019

What’s for sale in Chichester?


As we enter another bank holiday weekend, a large number of people will be spending their extra day off work browsing through the property portals looking for a new home (or just ‘window shopping’!). So, let’s take a look at the market and see what these property hunters might find for sale in Chichester.

Of course, what you can buy is largely dependent on your budget. The cheapest property in Chichester costs just £19,995 - a two-bedroom mobile home on Lakeside Holiday Park. The problem is it’s not a permanent residence. The cheapest fixed abode in Chichester, excluding retirement and shared ownership properties, will set you back £140,000. For that price you’ll get a studio apartment in the heart of Chichester, opposite Priory Park, which has been on the market since last May.

On the other end of the scale, the most expensive property for sale in Chichester today is a newly-built five-bedroom detached house on The Drive in Summersdale, offering over 4,000 square feet of space and priced at a cool £2m.


Clearly property in Chichester is expensive…some more so than others! Let’s assume your budget is somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. In fact, the median property marketed for sale in Chichester costs £340,000, which is up 3% from the £328,950 compared to 12 months ago. At that price you could choose between a variety of two and three-bedroom homes of various age, size and location in and around Chichester.

Delving a little deeper into the median price by property type provides a good indication of what your budget is likely to be able to afford in Chichester:


What’s interesting to see is how much (or how little!) choice there is for prospective property buyers in Chichester right now. There are 492 properties for sale, of which 332 are still available to buy and 160 are now sold ‘stc’ (subject to contract/completion). Compared to a year ago, the total number of properties on the market may be down, but due to a drop-off in the number being sold, there’s actually slightly more still available to buy.

Those looking for a three-bedroom house have the most choice, with 110 available to buy in Chichester. It is the smaller homes, aimed at our first-time buyers, where supply is particularly lacking. There are actually more four-bedroom houses available (62) than there are one-bedroom flats (30 available), two-bedroom flats (51 available) or two-bedroom houses (46 available).

It seems that this relatively low supply of property in Chichester is limiting prospective buyers’ choices. This is what is keeping house prices resilient, which makes finding that dream home just a little bit trickier.


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If you are looking for an agent that is well establishedprofessional and communicative in Chichester, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of your investment property.

E-mail me on clive@crjlettings.co.uk or call 01243 624 599.

Don't forget to visit the links below to view my previous buy-to-let deals and Chichester Property News articles:

c/o CRJ Lettings, 30B Southgate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1DP



Chichester rental valuation

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Chichester Property News - Issue 38 - May 2019


Featuring the articles:
"Has the minimum wage helped Chichester's first-time buyers?",
"How much is a bedroom in Chichester?",
"Have you re-mortgaged recently?"
"Community Focus: Last Friday Club"
and "Buy-to-let deal of the month: 3 bed house in Westhampnett, £374,950 4.2% yield"

➕ Plus, the latest average property values, rents and yields in Chichester!

Community Focus: Last Friday Club


The Last Friday Club is a FREE business networking meetup on the last Friday of each month, based at a variety of independent venues within Chichester.
Started in 2016 by Debbie Ford, owner of The Chichester Social, and Emily Perry, a local HR Consultant and founder of South Coast HR, there are now over 300 members of the Last Friday Club.

WHO IS IT AIMED AT?

Chichester-based:
     Freelancers: professional or personal services, including digital, creatives, writers, tech etc.
     Independent business owners or solo entrepreneurs: retailers and pop-up shops from Chichester and the surrounding areas, or individuals running their businesses from home (including CRJ Lettings!)

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The Last Friday Club is a little more informal than many other business networking clubs. It is Debbie and Emily’s aim that their members come away from each meetup with a renewed vigour and purpose for their business, having benefitted from the experience and the different perspective of other members.
There are typically over 40 attendees at each meeting, so you’ll be sure to fit in and find someone, or something, of interest. As well as informal networking (and coffee and pastries!) there is typically a speaker too, sharing their business experiences and knowledge.
This has led to many collaborations between members in the past three years. With an eclectic mix of people, you never know where your next opportunity could come from.
So, if you’re a freelancer or business owner in Chichester and would like to meet others who face the same challenges as you, come along to one of the free meetings on the last Friday of each month.



NEXT MEETUP

Friday 31st May at Woodies - registration is essential, email for details
Instagram: @LastFridayClubChi
Twitter: LastFridayChi