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The Rental Trend That Could Be Good News for Savvy Landlords

We explore what the rising rate of older renters means for landlords. A two-minute read. 

Landlords looking to secure reliable, long-term tenants shouldn’t overlook a growing demographic in the rental sector – the older renter.

Recent statistics* show that the proportion of people aged 45 to 54 who rent is 16% (up 5% in ten years). During the same period, the proportion of renters aged 55 to 64 rose by 5% to 11%.  

The benefits of older tenants

There’s no substitute for rigorous credit and reference checks when it comes to tenant selection. But it’s worth bearing in mind the lifestyle and experiences of older renters.

Stability – An older tenant is less likely to chop and change jobs or pack it all in to go ‘find themselves’ in the Far East. Once they settle, older tenants tend to stay put (meaning less tenant turnover for landlords).

Lifestyle – You can anticipate fewer run-ins with neighbours about boisterous parties or loud music with older tenants. They’ll probably prefer binge-watching a Netflix series to bingeing on booze or illegal substances.  

Wear and tear – The more settled lifestyle of an older tenant is good news for landlords hoping to minimise damage to their property.

How to attract older tenants to your property

Maintenance and upkeep – Expect older tenants to be less forgiving about broken fixtures and shabby furniture. More mature renters are looking for a home rather than a crash pad.

Responsive landlord – Many older tenants are seasoned renters who have dealt with their fair share of absent/disreputable landlords in the past. They’re looking for a landlord who doesn’t cut corners and responds promptly when problems arise.

Green modifications – Sustainable features such as double or triple glazing, smart meters and solar panels will impress older tenants who are watching their pennies and keen to save on energy bills.

Pet friendly – If their children have flown the nest, an older tenant may be eager to have a furry companion. Allowing pets at your property could be a real attraction, and will signal to a new tenant that you want them to feel at home in your property.

For help with tenant sourcing and reference checks, get in touch with us here at Nest in Essex.

*Office of National Statistics, 2021

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Ending a Tenancy: Reasons and Rules around Taking Possession of a Property

This two-minute read looks at why landlords end tenancies and the issues and implications around taking such a step.

From toxic tenants to financial friction – there are many reasons why a landlord might want to end a tenancy.

These reasons can include:

  • The tenant has breached their contract by missing rent payments, subletting, or trashing the property.
  • Relations between the tenant and landlord have turned toxic.
  • The property is in need of repair, and it would be easier and less disruptive if the property were empty.
  • The landlord wants to live in the property.
  • Financial reasons mean the landlord wishes to sell up.

Whatever the motive for wanting a tenant out, one rule applies: never act impulsively.

It’s easy to get hot under the collar if you discover your tenant is treating your property like a dump or a drug den.

And it’s understandable if your circumstances suddenly change and you want to take back possession of your property (it belongs to you, after all).

But ignoring your contractual obligations and letting your heart overrule your head could prove costly.

What you can do

Before taking any action, make sure you understand your legal position and, if in doubt, get professional advice.

The steps you take will be influenced by the type of tenancy, the length of term, and the notice period.

Your strategy will also depend on if the tenant has breached their contract (in which case you’ll need evidence) or if you have a different reason for wanting the property back.

Whatever you do, don’t blag it. If the case winds up in court, a judge won’t look kindly on a landlord who has cut corners and ignored procedure.

Have someone in your corner

Having a letting agent manage your property means you’ll not only have a great source of advice at your disposal, but they’ll also do the legwork.

What a relief to have someone else deal with head-banging, anti-social tenants or chase late rent payments.

When it’s your property, it’s difficult not to take things personally – and lose your cool.

Having a professional deal with situations in a measured and calm way means less hassle and often proves more effective.

With discussion and negotiation, it’s often possible to avoid messy court disputes and move the situation along quickly.

Get in touch with us here at Nest in Essex to learn more about our property management services.

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Are You Selling Your Home to Relocate to a New Job?

Landing the perfect job is a dream for most, but what if that opportunity is in a different part of the country? Or abroad?

If this is the case, relocation may be the only solution.

Selling your home when you need to move out isn’t easy. You’ve got the start date of your new job to consider, selling your property quickly, the general hassle of moving, finding somewhere new in an unfamiliar area… the list seems endless.

So, in this two-minute read, we go through some important things to consider when selling due to relocating for work.

Be prepared

Just like the old Scouting motto, a big move takes preparation. For example, if you need to move before your original property has sold, you might need some extra cash in the short term as you’ll be paying two sets of bills. This also goes for costs such as removal companies and legal fees.

Also, if you’ve moved ahead of a sale, be prepared to come back and forth while everything is sorted out.

Be flexible

Time pressure is a pain. And if you’ve got your new job’s start date looming, you might be feeling stressed. So, the first thing to ask yourself is: can you afford to move into temporary accommodation while your property is on the market? If you’ve got a family, can you move ahead of them? It’s important to be as flexible as possible in this situation.

Selling a property takes time. Once you’ve got a buyer, there are legal issues to deal with, there might be a chain to consider, and it’s inevitable that something totally unexpected will come up to derail things.

Quick sale

There are things you can do to ensure your home is sale-ready:

  • Keep the interior clutter-free and presentable
  • Do minor repairs
  • Depersonalise
  • Keep it neutral
  • Tidy up the outside areas

Speak to us about an achievable purchase price. If you need to move quickly, holding out for the highest price might hold you back. By setting a price you’re happy with – not necessarily the highest – you can get things moving faster.

Other options

Do you really need to sell?

Can you afford to rent out your existing property to generate an additional income?

Or is selling the only option?

Renting your property gives you a plan B if the new job doesn’t work out, but you will need to consider things such as managing the property and additional tax responsibilities.

If you need advice on selling your home due to relocation for work, contact us today.

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Landlords, Are You Energy Efficient Enough?

Calling all landlords! Have you checked your buy-to-let property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating lately?

No?

Unfortunately, there have been some legal changes that might mean you’ve got some work to do (and money to spend), so you need to keep reading.

An EPC details how energy efficient a property is, recommends how to improve efficiency, and gives a general idea of associated costs.

At the moment, a rental’s EPC must be a rating of E or above as per the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) and should be updated every ten years. However, the government looks set to increase this to a rating of C or above for all newly tenanted properties by 2025, and for all existing tenancies by 2028.

Sounds like a long time away, right? In actual fact, if your property is below a C, you may have some serious upgrades to do. So it’s worth getting on top of them now. Ignore it, and you’ll be facing a hefty fine.

In this quick read, we look at ways to upgrade your current EPC rating.

Double glazing

There’s no point in doing anything inside the property unless you’ve got good glazing in place. Double glazed windows reduce energy loss. While most new buildings have them as standard, if you own an older property, you may still have single glazed windows in place.

Insulation

Although one of the most expensive energy efficiency measures, it’s a good investment if you’re newly refurbishing a property and plan to hold onto it for the long term. Wall and roof insulation have a significant impact on energy efficiency and help to reduce heating bills.

Better boiler

An inefficient boiler is the number one culprit when it comes to a low EPC rating, so it’s worth fitting a new one to meet the EPC requirements. Good boilers can cost anywhere between £1,000 and £4,000 but will last for many years and save energy and money over time.

LED lightbulbs

This is by far the quickest and easiest way to boost your energy rating by a few points. Make sure all those old halogen bulbs have been binned and switch to eco-friendly LED ones instead.

Extras

  • Smart meters are a great way to understand how much energy a property is using.
  • Renewable energy sources such as solar panels sound complicated, but you can get government funding to help with costs.

At Nest in Essex, we will remind you about the upcoming EPC changes as the time draws closer. If you decide to sell your rental in advance of the deadline, please get in touch with us on 01268 500988 .

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What Tenants Want: The Changing Face of the Rental Market

This three-minute read looks at the changing rental market and what it means for landlords.

With the rental market changing enormously over the past decade, savvy landlords need to stay on their toes to make the most of their investment.

General trends

  1. Since 2010, the sector has almost doubled in size; these days, about 19% of all households rent.
  2. Many tenants are renting for longer.
  3. Renting is no longer all about young singletons. An increasing number of renters are aged 35 to 44 and have children.
  4. Increased red tape: the number of laws relating to landlords has jumped by about a third in a decade.


What tenants want

Smart, clean interiors: The explosion of social media means tenants now expect more when it comes to décor. Landlords don’t have to spend a fortune, but a property must be maintained to a high standard and look fresh and modern.Grotty appliances and broken furniture won’t cut the mustard.

Location: Tenant priorities have shifted, particularly during the pandemic. The work from home phenomenon has seen some tenants prioritise access to open space and nature over proximity to commuter transport. It remains to be seen how this trend will pan out in the future.

More space: As more people with children are renting, demand for properties with outdoor space has increased.

Broadband: Flexible working, and the rise of streaming and gaming, means good broadband is a must.

Safety: Besides good locks, and secure doors and windows, tenants expect landlords to take every precaution when it comes to gas and electrical safety.

Pets: With more people viewing renting as a long-term lifestyle option, demand for permission to keep pets has surged, too.

Implications for landlords

Today’s rental landscape presents a real opportunity for landlords who can build a good rapport with their tenants. Happy tenants are more likely to stay put, meaning a landlord can save on the costs and stress of regularly sourcing new tenants.

However, increased red tape means there is more scope for landlords to trip up – and wind up in court or with a hefty fine. Note too, today’s tenants tend to be well informed about their rights and have access to an array of tenant action groups for support. Cutting corners or being lax when it comes to repairs and maintenance can prove costly.

Key takeaway

To enjoy a good return on your investment you need to put in the legwork. If work or family commitments make this a stretch, get an experienced letting agent to do it for you.

For more on maximising your rental returns, contact us here at Nest in Essex.

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Seven Ways to Outsmart Conveyancing Scammers

Devious fraudsters are hacking the emails of buyers and sellers, sometimes with devastating consequences. A two-minute read.

Hackers and cyber fraudsters went to town in the UK last year, swindling £1.3 billion in just six months – a three-fold increase on the same period the previous year.*

Gangs used all sorts of underhand tactics to separate people from their cash, one of the most ruthless being conveyancing fraud (also known as payment diversion fraud or Friday fraud).

This type of ruse is becoming increasingly common and, due to the large sums of money involved, concerning. In one recent case, a homebuyer sent £640,000 to a fraudster. (Imagine how devastating it would be to discover you’ve sent your life savings to a heartless crook?)

What is conveyancing fraud?

Scammers hack into the accounts of buyers and sellers (and their relevant conveyancing/legal representatives) and follow the correspondence. They wait until the sale is nearing completion, then strike.

The fraudsters send the buyer an email (usually it looks almost identical to the conveyancer’s emails) asking them to deposit the funds in a different bank account.

They may also phone or text the buyer to hurry proceedings along (scammers often strike on a Friday so that they have the weekend to cover their tracks and avoid detection).

While buyers are the key target in conveyancing fraud, the whole business is unpleasant for all involved. If you’re a seller, you don’t want your property sale to get bogged down in a messy fraud investigation.

How to stay safe

  • Read all correspondence carefully and look for changes in tone, awkward grammar, a new phone number or name. 

  • Be suspicious of any change in bank details. Call (don’t use the number listed on the suspect email) to check the authenticity of the message or pay a personal visit before you act.

  • Remember: a hacker’s emails can be persuasive and feature the same logo, fonts, and layout as those of the legitimate conveyancer. 

  • Avoid reviewing emails using unprotected public WiFi systems.

  • Don’t be afraid to push back if someone pressures you to act quickly.

  • Work with an experienced estate agent who understands the property process and is more likely to notice suspicious activity.

  • Trust your instincts. 

For more tips on buying and selling property safely, contact us today. We can also recommend good, local conveyancers.

*Source: National Fraud Intelligence Bureau

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Cons of Buying a New-Build Home

In this two-minute read, we explore the pitfalls of buying a new-build property.

So, you’re thinking about buying a new-build. You’ve fallen in love with the area and the idea of a brand-new home, but is it worth the money? Read on for some common disadvantages of new-build properties.

  1. Premium price

When you buy new, you’re paying for perfection. New homes are often more expensive than older properties as developers factor in the cost of warranties, tech, and modern living.

  • Delays and disruption

Buying a new home may mean buying a property that hasn’t been built yet. So, not only do you have to use your imagination, but you also have to put your trust in the developer to deliver what (and when) they say they will.

Also, if buying in a new development, be prepared for ongoing work after you move in as it may be a while before the rest of the site is completed. 

  • Size matters

New homes tend to be smaller than older properties. Developers try to fit as many properties as they can onto a site to maximise profit. They may also be legally obliged to provide social housing on a site, so space is at a premium. This could mean smaller rooms and less outside space.

  • Mortgage problems

You know what they say – when you buy a new car, as soon as your drive off the forecourt, its value nosedives. Well, the same can apply to new-builds. Lenders often require higher deposits for new-builds as they are concerned about loss of value over time, and they also know you’re paying a premium in the first place. You may also need to adhere to a strict exchange deadline set by the developers which can be difficult for lenders to meet.

Additionally, mortgage offers normally last for six months, so if a new-build is delayed you may have to start the application process again.

  • Problems after moving in

Once you move in, you may come across poor-quality building work or snagging issues that you weren’t expecting. A good way to overcome this is to arrange a snagging survey. While this increases your initial costs, it also means you can get things sorted with the developer prior to moving in.

To discuss your new-build needs, speak to us at Nest in Essex on 01268500988

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Reasons Why Landlords Sell Their Properties

A three-minute must-read if you’re a landlord considering selling.

It’s often thought that being a landlord is easy: buy a property, rent it out, and hey presto! You’re all set. Unfortunately, it’s never that simple, and many landlords look to sell up for an easier life.

Whether it’s age, personal circumstances or changes in the law, in this article, we explore five common reasons why UK landlords sell their properties.

Tenant issues

Let’s be honest, no landlord wants to take a call at 10pm from a tenant who has locked themselves out or can’t get the heating to work. For some landlords, the 24/7 nature of the role is just too much to deal with and selling their rental property is the best way to avoid such problems.

Realising profit

Perhaps a previously run-down area has seen a surge in buyer demand for property, or a refurbished property has increased in value. In both circumstances, by selling, the landlord benefits from capital appreciation, making selling a great idea.

For retired landlords, their property investment might also be their pension, so selling up is the only way they can get their money out.

Reducing debt

Landlords with one or more properties often have a few mortgages to pay off. And while it’s always hoped that rental income will cover monthly mortgage fees, this isn’t always the case. By selling, a landlord can free up their initial investment (plus any additional profit), pay off the mortgage, and reduce overall debt.

Changes in tax or regulatory laws

The last few years have seen several government changes that have hit landlords straight in the pocket. These have all meant a drop in income, occasionally making it less profitable to own a rental in the short term, leaving many landlords rethinking their portfolios.

Rental demand

The pandemic has changed the face of the rental market. Many people have left cities for greener areas, while others require rental properties with outside space. This has had a significant impact on urban dwellings, leaving some properties vacant and landlords out of pocket. Many city rentals saw a drop in rent, while suburban and rural properties saw a rise.

Changes in rental demand could leave landlords with little choice, choosing to sell rather than to sit on vacant properties.

If you’re a landlord and thinking about selling a rental property, contact us at Nest in Essex to find out how we can help.