Weather Warning for Windsor and Maidenhead Landlord’s Rent at Risk

Landlords protect your rent.

A timely reminder for tenants and landlords with empty properties, recently we’ve had our warning that winter is upon us with a blast of icy cold air from the North and then flooding in Cumbria.

 

Did you know that having a Gas Safe Certificate done does not necessarily include the servicing?

Have you had you’re your central heating boilers serviced recently?

This is the time of the year that the heating gets turned up and the tenants discover the radiators need bleeding or that they are weeping at the bottom union.

Do all the outside lights work? It’s the tenant’s responsibility to replace bulbs but are they accessible?

 

Did you know that there should be in every Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement AST) specific conditions that the tenant’s responsibilities include terms that protect a landlord’s property during the winter months namely:-

………to keep the property at all times well and sufficiently aired and warm during the tenancy. There are two notes here:

a) ‘aired’ implies free from condensation (more of which later

b) That the heating system is adequate and working

. ………not to leave the property vacant for more than 28 consecutive days…….. Note, very often tenants go away for Christmas and the New Year period or take a winter holiday these days. This could invalid a landlords insurance if breached; therefore a timely reminder is in order. In the same way all outdoor maintenance issues should be tackled before the UK goes on its annual holidays and festivities for 2 / 3 weeks.

What makes a good investment in property?

I am often asked this question and of course there is no definitive answer, so my usual response is “Why do you want to invest in property?”

The answer invariably comes back – look at how property prices have gone up I do not subscribe to the maximum mortgage say of 90% on an investment property, wait for the inflationary rise, re-mortgage and repeat the process buying another property, then repeating the process again (ie. A high risk strategy, which relies on a rising market).I remember living in Coventry in 1939, a new build terraced house could be bought for £200. Later in 1959 I built a bungalow in West Yorkshire for £2000. Just take a look at what you could buy around here for £200,000 today in 2015.Perhaps a more significant factor is 70 years ago the borrowing/income ratio was   2.5 x the man’s salary as the maximum that could be borrowed. Today it is calculated on joint salaries of a couple working and can be up to 4 x the loan/value rate.

Like Mark Twain said “Buy land they are not making it any more.”

LANDLORD’S TOP 7 FAQ’s

How much rent can I get?

It will always depend on supply & demand.

The location of the property & its proximity to mainline stations & motorways.

The quality & presentation of the accommodation.

 

Warning! Too many agents over value by as much as 20% to ‘test the market’ (estate agent speak) to obtain the instruction.

 

  1. What do I need to do to prepare the property?

The property should be presented in a good decorative order, good repair and all items supplied in working order

The legal requirements should be met for EPC, gas safe certificate, electrical checks & PAT testing.

Professionally cleaned including carpets.

 

3. How long will it take to rent out my property?

There are far too many variables for certainty, but from a landlords perspective, assume a month could slip by and that a mortgage payment will become due before tenants can move in.

4. Who maintains the gardens?

Tenants like to use the garden but seldom are they prepared to maintain it. If you expect them to cut the grass provide a robust electric mower.

 

  1. What about condensation?

There are two major causes of condensation and tenants nearly always claim dampness in the property. It will invariably be brought about by the lifestyle of the tenant.

  1. Condensation is caused by too much moisture in the air (warm air holds more moisture than cold air).
  2. The other factor is the lack of ventilation.

The biggest culprit is drying washing indoors, drying clothes on radiators and cooking without an extractor on, showering and bathing, the door should be closed and the extractor on (or a window open).

. The problem now is we have double glazing and modern doors that hermetically seal the building to conserve energy – it also conserves the moisture and where there is a cold wall or dead air space in a corner or behind furniture, warm air will condense on the cold surface and eventually mould will become apparent.

6. How do I assess damage at the end of a tenancy?

This is where most landlords and tenants get things wrong and end up in conflict by a lack of understanding.

– Fair wear and tear – must take into account the length of the tenancy

– Betterment – the landlord can not use the deposit to update old or worn out fittings

– Supporting evidence – the claims made by either party must be supported by clear    evidence such as a good inventory and dated photographs.

– The average life span of the carpets, furnishings, appliances etc. (NB. Some carpets just can not be professionally cleaned due to their age & condition).

Remember the deposit is the tenant’s money and if you can’t agree on the deductions and go to ‘Dispute Resolution’ the service to date has always favoured the tenants.

7. What furnishings should I provide if the property is to be let fully furnished?

Most kitchens now have all the appliances built in and bathrooms tiled and fitted with showers. No ‘flatpack’ furniture.

Don’t for heavens sake take up an offer seen recently by Sue Ryder Homes “To kit out a property from £500”

Think about it, you purchase a property for £200,000 – £300,000 then furnish it for £500. You wouldn’t do that would you?

 

NEWSFLASH – COMING SOON

Launching January 2016 there will be a new approach to property maintenance by a local company that will make a Tangible difference, benefitting tenants and landlords but only through selected agents.

 

Call us if you are thinking of investing and you would like a 2nd. opinion on any property, we’ll be happy to talk to you 01753 622686. This blog can be read on our website www.rentahome.co.uk

 

 

Maidenhead Landlords Urged to Do Their Homework

Boulters Meadow 007cropsmall

Many luxury, new-build apartment blocks are now marketed specifically to investors. But for landlords in Maidenhead, I would suggest that an alternative strategy is fast emerging.

In years to come it is possible that Maidenhead could have a surplus of modern, two-bedroom apartments, keeping potential yields down. My advice to investors would be to focus on the stock that no-one is building – the humble 3-4 bedroom semi-detached house, of which there is already a genuine shortage.

This summer we have seen corporate demand returning to the Home Counties and some 47% of all new tenants between April and June came from outside of the UK. Expats from North America accounted for more than half of these corporate tenants, many of whom were families in search of gardens, square footage and good schools. Bearing this target market in mind is never a bad idea in our popular corner of the commuter-belt.

I don’t claim to have a crystal ball, but I do have the tools, contacts and years of experience to know what tenants in Berkshire are looking for, what prices they are willing to pay and where they most want to live.

Don’t be one of the 25% of buy-to-let investors who risk their portfolio for the sake of a little research. If you don’t have the time to do the homework, ask us for a second opinion on any property in the area and we’ll be happy to talk to you. Call us on 01753 622686.

This blog can also be read on our website www.rentahome.co.uk

Another Property On Millionaires Row

There are two hills in Windsor, Castle Hill, perhaps better known as Windsor Castle and St. Leonards Hill, often referred to as millionaire’s row.

However, each location has its downsides – Windsor Castle teems with visitors year round and St. Leonards Hill situated next door to Legoland has to cope with peak traffic particularly in school holidays along Winkfield road.

Not many people know that it is possible to live within Windsor Castle grounds in one of the ‘grace and favour’ homes. To do so you would have had to have connections with the castle or to have served your country. For the rest of us then consider St.Leonards Hill, a good location, a bit pricey, but would it be a good investment?

What is the potential for capital gain, what would you expect of a rental ROI?

Over the years I have seen many older houses on large plots sold off, demolished and two or more built on the plot. A developers dream. The above property is just one example. 40 years a go Freddie Star (notorious comedian) lived in the house called ‘My Way’ which just so happened to be the home of Billy Smart Jr. (circus fame). 1 2months ago it was demolished and two rather splendid houses built in its place, a definite improvement on what was an untidy plot.

We now have ‘My Way House’ pictured above for sale at £2.5 million by Aston Mead.

What are the prospects for capital gain in this area, I would say excellent. Last year a row of new build regency style town houses in Kings Road facing the Long Walk sold well at £2.0 m.

Historically property prices based on an average price of £1.5m have increased by 17% over the last 5 years.

St.Leonards Hill has a considerable diversity in the style and number of bedrooms with 4/5 bedroom properties attracting rents of £2500 pcm to £4000 pcm and some of the 6/7 bedroom properties attracting rents up to £8000 pcm to £10000 pcm.

Who would you expect to pay rents at this £2.5m property level? Well CEO’s earning not less than £250,000 pa and probably paid by the company into the bargain.

Call us if you are thinking of investing and you would like a 2nd. opinion on any property, we’ll be happy to talk to you 01753 622686. This blog can be read on our website www.rentahome.co.uk

Hospital Becomes Luxury Apartments

‘The Residence’ is a development of Luxury apartments facing Clarence Crescent, the regency terrace of fine homes in central Windsor and on the corner of Trinity Place.

The development is on the site of the former Princess Christian Nursing Home dating back to 1904 and following extensive re-development offers a collection of apartments, penthouses and a town house; now known as ‘The Residence’, Clarence Road, Windsor. SL4 3AP.

The town house is being offered at £1.7 million and is a 4 storey residence within the Clarence Wing enjoying its own private entrance and front garden. The house has direct access to parking within the secure gated courtyard. Further information and details are available from Savills.

Trinity Place, which runs along one side of ‘The Residence’, is home to a diverse collection of elegant townhouses from the regency period and many with basements now converted into flats. They command a range of prices and are much sought after.

The average asking price in Trinity Place £845,000, compared to the average for the SL4 area at £518,000. Values have increased by 6.1% over the last 12 months. The average rentable value of property in Trinity Place is £1900 pcm which gives a gross yield of 2.7% which is way below the national average for 3 bed properties at 4.7%. This is possibly distorted by the cost of the basement flats.

Nevertheless if you are a dedicated ‘townie’ who wishes to enjoy all the amenities of Windsor town centre restaurants, entertainment and shopping all within walking distance of two rail stations to London, that’s what you’re paying for.

Call us if you are thinking of investing and you would like a 2nd. opinion on any property in the area, we’ll be happy to talk to you on 01753 622686. This blog can also be read on our website www.rentahome.co.uk

A Tale of Two Towns

It’s the same river, Old Father Thames, but upstream property on the banks of the river at Maidenhead can be half the price of those in Windsor with views of Windsor Castle.

45 years ago I used to visit Bushnell’s boat houses for chandlery items and sailing kit. Now it has been developed into a block of flats with parking underneath and is now known as Chandlers Quay.

Downstream by the Windsor – Eton Bridge the Eton Boathouses at rafts have been developed into upmarket apartments with views over across the busy riverside to Windsor Castle.

Maidenhead Town has grown centred around the rail station and the river is a mile away. The 2- bed flats at Chandlers Quay, Ray Mead Road have in the past 5 years increased in value by £180,000 but jumped last year by as much as £71,000, an increase of 17%, with a potential rentable value of £2600 pcm, indicating a gross yield of 4.16%. Braxton are currently offering a 2- bed flat with a guide price of £750,000.

The Eton Boathouses have been developed sympathetically to achieve the same look and character, and no doubt because of the location they attract a higher price. For a 2-bed expect to pay £1.0 million and for a 3 bed £2.2 million with price increases over the last 5 years of £400,000 and last year £260,000 an increase of 16% with a potential rentable value of £7000 pcm, that is a gross yield of 4.2%. Hamptons are currently offering a 3- bed apartment for £2,250,000.

Call us if you are thinking of investing and you would like a 2nd. opinion on any property in the area, we’ll be happy to talk to you on 01753 622686. This blog can also be read on our website www.rentahome.co.uk

West Windsor or Windsor Town for Under £400,000

The choice is yours, which is right for you? What are the benefits of the two locations? Which will be the best investment?

There is a 3 bed end terrace house in Wolf Lane, West Windsor offers on £360,000 (Frosts) well below the value range, rentable from £1200 – £1400 pcm. Since 2010 its value increased by £100,000, last year increase was 15%.

It is close to several local schools, shops and a Tesco supermarket, absolutely suitable for young families and typical of the area.

On the other hand it is possible to be within the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Windsor Town in a 2 bed terraced house in Edinburgh Gardens offered at £385,000 (Hardings) rentable value range from £1250 – £1500 pcm. Since 2010 its value increased by £100,000 and last year by 15%.

The private development of Edinburgh Gardens is set back from the Kings Road opposite the Long Walk with ample parking; however it has half the number of property sales compared to Wolf Lane. It is a short walk to the town centre, castle, riverside and rail stations.

Which one of these two has the potential for most growth in the years to come? My money would be on Edinburgh Gardens because of its location.

Call us if you are thinking of investing and you would like a 2nd. opinion on any property, we’ll be happy to talk to you 01753 622686. This blog can be read on our website www.rentahome.co.uk

Moving On Up

We all know adding another bedroom will improve the value of your house, but there is no room to extend sideways. Conservatories on the rear are nice but surveyors don’t really take them into account when valuing a property (bricks and mortar you know).

Can you go up? Can you make better use of the loft space? Some of the old solutions were pretty naff. Don’t be limited by what you have seen in the past. Time has moved on and the ‘Loft Access Company’ www.theloftaccesscompany.com  who is a local Maidenhead company can make a more imaginative job than most these days which will improve the value of your house.

It might be possible to re-mortgage your house, do a loft conversion and recover the cost (in value) in 2/3 years because of the rise in Maidenhead especially with Crossrail coming in 2018. Last year property prices increased by 9.7%.

The 1930’s houses in the Alwyn Road area, near St. Marks Hospital are typical properties with potential for this type of improvement being close enough to the rail station.

On the market with Roger Platt at £485,000 in Alwyn Road is a 3 bedroom house and would rent out close to £1750 pcm, but if you were to spend £40,000 adding a 4th. bedroom the potential rentable value would be nearer £2000 pcm. – just an idea.

Call us if you are thinking of investing and you would like a 2nd. opinion on any property, we’ll be happy to talk to you 01753 622686. This blog can be read on our website www.rentahome.co.uk