Wednesday, 17 January 2018

JUST HOW DO YOU RATE YOUR MILTON KEYNES TENANTS?


A cautionary tale that all Milton Keynes landlords should read…..
How well do you REALLY know who you are letting out your property to? How do you know that the people you meet are the people they say they are, and not illegal sub-letters? Would you knowingly want to be involved with shady tenants, or would you rather be protected from them?

What if your tenants trash the place, rip off doors and radiators, kick holes in the walls or run a cannabis factory from home? Where do you stand – not in a great place, that’s for sure. We have reports of these horror stories (and worse!) even from some of our seasoned landlords, who all had enough experience to cope with such matters – or so they thought. Can you imagine the stress and financial burden this would put on a novice landlord or new investor?


The common denominator here is people – well, specifically tenants. Property investors often forget this is a PEOPLE business, it’s all about how you deal with tenants and how they interact with you, how you pick the good from the bad in the first place, and how do you know who to trust? Well if you don’t do thorough due diligence on your new tenants then the truth is you don’t. Would you honestly spend, for example, a quarter of a million pounds on a typical 3 bed semi and then effectively hand it over to strangers? Some landlords, and even agents, stress that they want (and will get) a tenant living in an empty property before the week is out. Now let’s think about this – I don’t know you, you want to potentially be entrusted with what is in effect a LOT OF MY MONEY tied up in the value of my property, not to mention that I will effectively be offering you credit to the value of 6 months’ rent – well I certainly want to know all I can about you my friend! First I want to take up references from your current and previous addresses, I also want to contact your employer to confirm not just your salary but also that you DO HAVE a permanent position there for a period covering your initial tenancy. Got any CCJs or financial defaults? If so then I want to know, because as I don’t know you, it tells me you are a financial risk that I could do without.


Obviously, anyone’s situation can change, so I’d like to pop around every 3 months just to keep an eye on my property. Sorry, what’s that - you don’t think that’s fair? Well there are currently 97 other agents listed locally on Rightmove, perhaps they could accommodate you. You see, our landlords get the protection from all of the above in the detailed level of service and tenant referencing we offer. What we want our landlords to understand is that we DO know our applicants even before they become our tenants, and that’s one of the things you pay your monthly fee towards. Think about this properly for a moment, would you really gamble your £250k asset for a saving of around £16 per month on your fee? If so, there are 97 phone calls you could be making. If not, just the one call to us is all you need to make.

If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time, and you want to read more articles like this about the Milton Keynes Property Market together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Milton Keynes, out of the many of properties on the market, irrespective of which agent is selling it, then feel free to get in touch! Email me at danielle@inspiredagents.co.uk
If you are in the area feel free to pop into the office we are based at 181 Queensway, Bletchley, MK2 2DZ -the kettle is always on.
Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Milton Keynes Property News.

Friday, 5 January 2018

January 2018 Milton Keynes Monthly Market Update



2018: A year of opportunity for the Milton Keynes market



As one year ends and another begins, we thought we’d take a look at what’s happened in the Milton Keynes market over the last 12 months, and what a year it has been. It’s true that something of a ‘cold front’ has been moving across most of the country, but the strong fundamentals which underpin the Milton Keynes market mean that we’re well placed to weather any storm.

Using simple unweighted averages, the price of a home in Milton Keynes is now £291,500, which is 21.5 per cent more affordable than the regional average.

Over the last 12 months this has risen by 4.3 per cent compared with a rise of 5.8 per cent in the region as a whole, so the area has underperformed the market in that sense. Since 2000, the average level of house

There were 2,956 sales in our area in the last year, compared with 5,068 in the 12 months which preceded it. Comparisons with 2016 need to be handled with care because of the big spike in sales before the stamp duty rise in April. The most common type of property to change hands were terraces which accounted for 27.1 per cent of all sales.

Given the natural advantages the Milton Keynes property market has, we’re expecting 2018 to be a tremendous year for everyone involved in the housing market - buyers, sellers, landlords and renters alike. If you’re in any of those categories and want some advice on how best to make the property market work for you, please give us a call and we can give you a more complete lowdown on what we expect in 2018.

Since 2000, the average level of house price growth has been


10.7 per cent per year.


Annual sales levels split by property type

In this analysis we've looked at how sales of property types have stacked up over time (literally!). For each of the last eight years we show what number of sales are accounted for by flats, terraces, semi- detached and detached homes. This analysis is very useful because it shows not only the total number of sales, but the types of properties it comprises.



Average property prices by type
Quarterly analyses of house price movements are a great way of seeing year-on-year changes. This chart is a particularly useful way to look at the market because it strips out seasonality, which can distort things and lead us to show things that might be inaccurate.


Wealth categories

The profile of wealth is a fairly good gauge of the day-to-day reality of residents in the local housing market. The government has drawn attention to the large numbers of people in the country who are 'JAM's or 'just about managing', and have pledged to help their property aspirations in the 2017 Budget. This chart shows the profile of our area based on their socio-demographic profile.




If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time, and you want to read more articles like this about the Milton Keynes Property Market together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Milton Keynes, out of the many of properties on the market, irrespective of which agent is selling it, then feel free to get in touch! Email me at danielle@inspiredagents.co.uk
If you are in the area feel free to pop into the office we are based at 181 Queensway, Bletchley, MK2 2DZ -the kettle is always on.
Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Milton Keynes Property News.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

7 ESSENTIAL SECRETS YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU’RE THINKING OF SELLING YOU MILTON KEYNES HOME


Lots of people wrongly assume that selling a house is easy and doesn’t take any preparation – after all that’s what you’re paying the estate agents for, isn’t it? Wrong! The reality is, selling a home can be stressful and inconvenient but if you are thinking of selling up, there are some essential secrets you need to know.
  1. Pricing your home right from the beginning is imperative. Price your home too low and you’ll miss out on money yet price your house too high and you’ll miss out on offers which in turn will leave your property on the market. Once your property has been on the market for some time, people will begin to wonder whether there is something wrong with it.
     
  2. It’s important to enhance your kerb appeal. First impressions matter and you only get one chance. Remember you’ve got to bring people in so consider what the outside of your property looks like to people driving up for the first time. Your property should at least look better than your neighbour’s. Revamp your front door, add a security light, plant some flowers and declutter any exterior porches. In addition to this, people love a healthy lawn!
     
  3. Exaggerations will only disappoint in the future. Take what you have and describe it to its best ability but don’t lie. If you have a tiny spare room, don’t describe it as an extra bedroom but instead be honest and explain that it would be better renovated into a walk in wardrobe or storage room.
     
  4. Shop around for the best estate agent. It’s one of the biggest decisions of your life so make sure you choose the best person to do it. A lot of estate agency business is done through referral and word of mouth so ask around to find a recommended choice. Don’t stop until you find someone who you trust and have faith in.
     
  5. Depersonalise and declutter. Whilst a house should feel homely, you need to allow the potential buyer to imagine his or her own family in the property. In addition to this, remove all items that largely relate to your political and religious beliefs and get rid of any trace of pets. You may love your cat but some buyers won’t want to see an animal lying all over the sofa.
     
  6. The kitchen and bathroom always come first. Typically, these are the rooms that buyers want to see the most so they shouldn’t look as if they need a huge renovation. If you do decide to update these before selling then remember that neutral colours always work best and always renovate up to the worth of your home. There is no point installing a bathroom for £30,000 if your house is only worth £200,000.
     
  7. There isn’t a best time to sell your home. Rumours have it that spring is the best time but houses do sell in winter, autumn and summer too. Only you can decide on when the right time is to sell and no matter what the housing market forecast says, people are always going to want houses.
Selling and buying houses is a very personal journey but with a little research and the right agent, hopefully you’ll be on your way to making that property dream, a reality.

If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time, and you want to read more articles like this about the Milton Keynes Property Market together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Milton Keynes, out of the many of properties on the market, irrespective of which agent is selling it, then feel free to get in touch! Email me at danielle@inspiredagents.co.uk
If you are in the area feel free to pop into the office we are based at 181 Queensway, Bletchley, MK2 2DZ -the kettle is always on.
Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Milton Keynes Property News.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Fancy a game of Buy-To-Let Monopoly in The Milton Keynes Property Market?



As the nights draw in, if there is nothing on TV, a lot of families like to huddle around and play the board game Monopoly, my family included. The buying and renting of property is like a busman’s holiday for me! Interestingly, the game was originally invented at the turn of the 20th Century (in 1903) and the game was initially called ‘The Landlord’s Game’! Anyway, after a few years in the wilderness, the current owners of the game renamed it in 1935 and so began Monopoly as we know it today.

Regardless if you are a homeowner or landlord in Milton Keynes, what would a Monopoly board look like today in the town? Property prices over the last 80 years have certainly increased beyond all recognition (not to mention the physical landscape which has of course changed beyond all recognition from the arable farmland that used to be seen for many miles around), so looking at the original board I have substituted some of the original streets with the most expensive and least expensive locations in Milton Keynes today.

Initially, I have focused on the MK2 postcode only, looking at the Brown Squares on the board, the ‘new’ Old Kent Road in Milton Keynes today would be Serpentine Court, with an average value £71,020 (per property) and Whitechapel Road would be Garrowmore Grove, which would be worth £113,200. What about the posh dark blue squares of Park Lane and Mayfair? Again, looking at MK2, Park Lane would be Manor Road at £309,200 and Mayfair would be Mill Road at £324,900. However, look a little further afield from the MK2 postcode, and such roads as Woodside in Aspley Guise would claim the Mayfair card at £1,130,000! Also, I can’t forget the train stations (my favourite squares), and over the last 12 months, the average price that property within a quarter mile of Central Milton Keynes station was £264,800 or 6% higher than those located in the next game square.

So that got me thinking what you would have had to have paid for a property in Milton Keynes back in 1935, when the game originally came out?

- The average Milton Keynes detached house today is worth £453,900 would have set you back 760 Pounds 8 shillings and 7 old pence.

- The average Milton Keynes semi-detached house today is worth £248,600 would have set you back 416 Pounds 9 shillings and 3 old pence.

- The average Milton Keynes terraced / town house today is worth £217,300 would have set you back 364 Pounds and 2 shillings.

- The average Milton Keynes apartment today is worth £165,300 would have set you back 276 Pounds 18 shillings and 3 old pence.

If that sounds like another currency, you must be in your 20’s or 30’s, because it was back in February 1971, that Britain went decimal and hundreds of years of everyday currency was turned into history overnight. On 14th of February of that year, there were 12 pennies to the shilling and 20 shillings to the pound. The following day all that was history and the pound was made up of 100 new pence.

I hope you enjoyed this bit of fun, but underlying all this is one important fact. Property investing is a long game, which has seen impressive rises over the last 80 years. In my previous articles, I have talked about what is happening on a month by month or year by year basis and if you are going to invest in the Milton Keynes property market, you should consider the property you buy a medium to long term investment, because Buy-To-Let is pretty much what it says on the label – you buy a property in order to let it out to tenants.


When you become a landlord, you are in essence running a small business – one with important legal responsibilities. On that note, I want to remind landlords of the recent and future changes in legislation and taxation when it comes to buy to let. Failure to adhere to them will mean a minimum of heavy fines in the thousands or in some cases, prison ... it’s a mine field! That’s why I write the Milton Keynes Property Blog, where it has an extensive library of articles like this one, where I talk about what is happening in the Milton Keynes property market, what to buy (and sometimes not) in the local area and everything else that is important to know as a landlord.

If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time, and you want to read more articles like this about the Milton Keynes Property Market together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Milton Keynes, out of the many of properties on the market, irrespective of which agent is selling it, then feel free to get in touch! Email me at danielle@inspiredagents.co.uk

If you are in the area feel free to pop into the office we are based at 181 Queensway, Bletchley, MK2 2DZ -the kettle is always on.

Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Milton Keynes Property News.

Blog – https://miltonkeynespropertyblog.blogspot.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/inspiredsalesandlettings/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/_inspiredagents

Website – http://www.inspiredagents.co.uk/

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

9 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR A PRE-CHRISTMAS SALE IN MILTON KEYNES

Buyers see the festive period as a key-influencing factor, with many people determined to move in time for the big day so give your property the best chance with this advice.
We all dream of putting a property up for sale, accepting an offer and moving out in quick succession but the reality is that if you want to do things properly then it takes time. Buyers see Christmas as a key-influencing factor, with many people determined to move in time for the big day so give your property the best chance with this advice and you could be hanging up the decorations in your new pad just in time for Santa’s arrival.
1.    The more flexible you are about visits, the more people will be able to see your home. Be ready for visitors early in the morning, at night and on weekends.

2.    There are a number of agents to use to search around and find the right one for you. These are the people who are ultimately going to sell your home and answer those tricky questions so make sure you trust them.

3.    You may decide to renovate your house to sell so bear in mind that neutral colours are always best and kitchens and bathrooms are the most important rooms to prospective homebuyers. These rooms should not look like they need major renovations.

4.    Give your property a little refresh. After location, good light is the one thing that most buyers want. Clean the windows, open your curtains, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the outside bushes to let light in. Whatever you can do to make your property seem brighter and cheerier will make it more sellable.

5.    Complete any DIY tasks. As they inspect the house, a buyer wants to see that everything works, including doors, locks, draws in kitchens and bathrooms, toilets, sinks, and lights. If a buyer can see minor mistakes, it will alert them to think about the damage that they cannot see.

6.    Make sure potential buyers can envision their family in the house so take down anything that largely relates to your family life, religion or political stance.

7.    If your home is priced too low, you’ll miss out on some money but if it’s too high, you won’t get as many offers. While you might be tempted to start with a high listing price to see what happens, overpricing can be a bad strategy. If a house has been on the market for a long time, people will assume that it hasn’t sold because something is wrong with it.

8.    Make sure that you have completed all the necessary legal work and are ready to go. There is no point pushing the sale of your house if you haven’t even started looking at properties and have nowhere to go.

9.    Moving takes time so consider packing up large furniture items in advance. If you’re considering getting in the professionals it is wise to book way in advance as you won’t be the only person looking to move before Christmas.

If you are looking to move before the big day, get in touch and one of our experts will be more than happy to help.
If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time, and you want to read more articles like this about the Milton Keynes Property Market together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Milton Keynes, out of the many of properties on the market, irrespective of which agent is selling it, then feel free to get in touch! Email me at danielle@inspiredagents.co.uk
If you are in the area feel free to pop into the office we are based at 181 Queensway, Bletchley, MK2 2DZ -the kettle is always on.
Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Milton Keynes Property News.


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

HOW EU MIGRATION HAS CHANGED THE MILTON KEYNES PROPERTY MARKET


The argument of migration and what it does, or doesn’t do, for the country’s economic wellbeing is something that has been hotly contested over the last few years. In my article today, I want to talk about what it has done for the Milton Keynes Property market.

Before we look at Milton Keynes though, let us look at some interesting figures for the country as a whole. Between 2001 and 2011, 971,144 EU citizens came to the UK to live and of those, 171,164 of them (17.68%) have bought their own home. It might surprise people that only 5.07% of EU migrants managed to secure a council house. However, 676,091 (69.62%) of them went into the private rental sector. This increase in population from the EU has, no doubt, added great stress to the UK housing market.

Looking at the figures, the housing market as a whole is undoubtedly affected by migration but it has been the private rented housing sector, especially in those areas where migrants come together, that is affected the most. Indeed, I have seen that many EU migrants often compete for such housing not with UK tenants but with other EU migrants. In 2001, 3.68 million rented a property from a landlord in the UK. Ten years later in 2011, whilst EU migration added an additional 676,091 people renting a property from a landlord, there were actually an additional 4.14 million people who became tenants and were not EU migrants, but predominately British!

As a landlord, it is really important to gauge the potential demand for your rental property, especially if you are a landlord who buys property in areas popular with the Eastern European EU migrants. To gauge the level of EU migration (and thus demand), one of the best ways to calculate the growth of migrants is to calculate the number of people who ask for a National Insurance number (which EU members are able to obtain).

In Milton Keynes, migration has risen over the last few years. For example, in 2005 there were 2,770 migrant national Insurance cards (NIC) issued and the year after in 2006, 2,790 NIC cards were issued. However, in 2014, this had increased to 4,530 NIC’s. However, if the pattern of other migrations since WW2 continues, over time there will be an increasing demand for owner occupied property, which may affect the market in certain areas of high migrant concentration. On the other hand, over time some households move into the larger housing market, reducing concentrations and pressures.

In essence, migration has affected the Milton Keynes property market; it couldn’t fail to because of the additional 30,174 working age migrants that have moved into the Milton Keynes area since 2005. However, it has not been the main influence on the market. Property values in Milton Keynes today are 34.49% higher than they were in 2005. According to the Office of National Statistics, rents for tenants in the South East have only grown on average by 0.95% a year since 2005 .... I would say if it wasn’t for the migrants, we would be in a far worse position when it came to the Milton Keynes property market. This was backed up by the then Home Secretary Theresa May back in 2012 - more than a third of all new housing demand in Britain is caused by inward migration and there is evidence that without the demand caused by such immigration, house prices would be 10% lower over a 20 year period.

If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time, and you want to read more articles like this about the Milton Keynes Property Market together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Milton Keynes, out of the many of properties on the market, irrespective of which agent is selling it, then feel free to get in touch! Email me at danielle@inspiredagents.co.uk

If you are in the area feel free to pop into the office we are based at 181 Queensway, Bletchley, MK2 2DZ -the kettle is always on.

Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Milton Keynes Property News.

Blog – https://miltonkeynespropertyblog.blogspot.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/inspiredsalesandlettings/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/_inspiredagents

Website – http://www.inspiredagents.co.uk/

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

WILL THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF MILTON KEYNES EVER OWN THEIR OWN HOME?


I had the most interesting chat with a mature couple (in their early/mid 50’s) from Loughton the other day, whilst viewing one of our rental properties. The property wasn’t for them, but their son, who wanted a second viewing with his parents to get the parental blessing. Now I know that isn’t the norm, but in this case the parents were going to act as guarantor. We got chatting about the Milton Keynes property market and how they had bought their first property in the town just after they got married in the late 1980’s when they were in their early/mid 20’s. Anyway, we got chatting about how the youngsters of the UK seem to rent more than buy nowadays and from that the conversation covered a number of similar topics. I want to share the highlights of that conversation with you today.

Their son, like many 20 to 30 year olds in Milton Keynes, desperately wants to own his own property and the parents said he had read in the Telegraph recently, when you compare house prices to earnings, the current 20 to 30 something’s generation have to spend more of their salary in mortgage payments than any previous generation. The demand for private rental sector accommodation in Milton Keynes is huge. There are in fact 12,700 private rental properties in Milton Keynes at the last count, impressive when you consider there are 6,923 council houses in the town. However, let us not forget 35,450 properties are owner occupied (23,945 with a mortgage).

Let us all be honest, private renting doesn’t have the stigma it had a few decades ago and it might surprise people that even though us Brit’s class ourselves as a nation of homeowners, roll the clock back 100 years and over 75% of people rented their own home (and it was all from private landlords as council housing only started to come in with the ‘homes for hero’s’ after the first World War). It might also surprise you to learn that at the time of the 1971 census, still more people rented than owned their own home.

Looking at the affordability issue, I have proved time and time again, it is in fact cheaper to buy a property than rent, when one looks at starter homes for first time buyers. 95% mortgages have been available to first time buyers for over four years and whilst you could certainly find better properties in better condition in better areas, apartments can be bought for as little as the early £80,000’s in the Walnut Tree area of Milton Keynes (meaning a modest deposit of just under £4,200 would be required).

When it came to affordability, I was able to tell them that when they bought their first house in Milton Keynes in 1988, the ratio of house prices to salary was 7.54 to 1 in Milton Keynes ... and here was the surprise for both of us, today’s ratio is only 6.53 to 1!

I said I believed there had been a cultural attitude change towards renting property in Britain and that this quiet revolution was likely to be permanent. In the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, saving for the deposit was everything and buying a house was everything. Youngsters today have far much more disposal income today than people had in the Callaghan and Thatcher years, but choose to spend it upgrading their mobile phones every 12 months, the newest tablet or PC, a newest 50” plasma LCD TV and two sun drenched holidays a year, than go without and save for a deposit.

Yes, there are horror stories of tenants living in rat infested properties with landlords who charge massive rents and don’t repair their properties. But that is very much the exception as most tenants rent homes of a quality they couldn’t ever to afford to buy. Twenty years ago, if you said you rented a property, you were considered the lowest of the low ... but now it’s the norm.

So with mortgage affordability being well within the bounds of most first time buyers, the level of deposit required for a 95% being surprisingly modest (starting off at c.£4,200 in Milton Keynes as mentioned above) until we change our attitudes, the UK housing market is slowly but surely turning into a more European model, where people rent for long periods of their life, then eventually inherit their parents properties and subsequently become homeowners themselves, albeit later in life.

Hence, I cannot see the demand for decent, high quality rental properties ever dropping in the next 10 to 20 years, but only ever increasing as the population continues to soar. Just make sure you by the right property, at the price, in the right location.

If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time, and you want to read more articles like this about the Milton Keynes Property Market together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Milton Keynes, out of the many of properties on the market, irrespective of which agent is selling it, then feel free to get in touch! Email me at danielle@inspiredagents.co.uk


If you are in the area feel free to pop into the office we are based at 181 Queensway, Bletchley, MK2 2DZ -the kettle is always on.

Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Milton Keynes Property News.

Blog – https://miltonkeynespropertyblog.blogspot.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/inspiredsalesandlettings/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/_inspiredagents

Website – http://www.inspiredagents.co.uk/