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03Jul

Have you become an intentional landlord, or perhaps an unintentional landlord?

Being a Private Landlord can be a fantastic way to make an income, whether it’s a primary income, a secondary income or a or retirement plan.

If you’re considering letting your property and being your own landlord then it can be tempting to manage everything yourself and want to avoid paying fees to Lettings Agents.

However, being in our game, we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of Lettings, so here are some considerations to think about if you are thinking about becoming a private landlord.

Time and Convenience

Letting your property can be a very time-consuming process. You need to ensure that you have the time to do all of the viewings on your property. People may want to view your property in the evening or at the weekend rather than during the day, so you may find yourself having to give up your evenings and weekends to do so. Having an agency looking after your lettings process means that they can find great tenants for you and save you so much time!

Legal Considerations

The legalities around being a property Landlord can be an absolute minefield. You need to ensure that you have all of the right documentation in place to fulfil your legal responsibilities as a private landlord, that all equipment in the property is safe and is tested regularly and that you have all of the correct insurances in place to keep you covered, plus other considerations surrounding the current COVID-19 situation also. Navigating all of this on your own can be a nightmare, whereas a lettings agency can help to ensure you have everything covered.

Marketing Your Property

Have you considered your marketing strategy? Depending on your property and your network, you may not have issues finding someone to let your property, and you could always use social media and other local marketing strategies to find yourself a tenant. However, a Lettings Agent will typically have a wider customer base and reach and be able to market your property effectively within the local market. They will also deal with all of the interactions and enquiries for the property, saving you time, stress and hassle in the process.

Helping you make more Money

Letting agents will typically have a better idea of market value and will be able to help you price your property competitively. They will also be able to advise on realistic rent rises year on year.

If you are letting your property yourself then it can be tempting to let to friends and relatives or people you know, and to strike some kind of “deal” but although this may seem like a good idea which will save time and hassle, you may have ended up earning more renting your property through a lettings agent at market value than to a friend or family member at a reduced rate.

References and Vetting 

Do you have procedures in place to vet your prospective tenants and have a rigorous referencing process in place? Having nightmare tenants can be a tumultuous emotional journey and can end up costing you a lot of money in the long run. This could be prevented by ensuring that rigorous referencing leads to a fantastic experience for you and your tenants.

When something goes wrong

If you are a private landlord, then when something goes wrong with your property, it will always be down to you to fix it. This means that you need to have the time to deal with any issues that crop up, and have a good list of local suppliers to call on in times of emergency.

If you don’t want to be getting phone calls with emergencies in the middle of the night or have to drop everything and what you were doing to deal with an emergency at your rented property, then letting your property through a lettings agency can take away this stress and worry for you as they will typically deal with emergencies and have trusted suppliers in place for maintenance work.

Tried and tested Industry Knowledge 

Here at Aubrey and Finn, we like to think that we hold the key to a successful let. We have many years of industry experience and we work with private landlords to Let their properties throughout St Albans, Hertfordshire and the UK for short term and long-term rentals. If you are considering letting your property then we’d love to help you especially if you are new to being a property Landlord and just want some help and advice.

Why not give us a call on 01727 221290 to discuss letting your property with Aubrey and Finn?

30May

Things have been very quiet on the property market in recent months for obvious reasons, but the government has recently given the green light for people to be able to move home again which is good news for the market, but more importantly, good news for those whose property plans have been on hold. 

We are hoping to get as many people moved as we can this year, because we know that life still happens and family circumstances, work relocation and school or personal lifestyle preferences will be guiding the necessity to move imminently for some people.

Our office in St Albans will be open again from Monday 1st June and so we wanted to let you know what our plans are, and how we are taking steps to working safely and in accordance with government guidelines. 

Firstly, just because the way we work has changed, it doesn’t mean that our service has. We are still offering the same professional, friendly and personal service we always have, just in a different way! 

If you are looking to sell or rent your property, then we’re conducting “virtual valuations” online with prospective clients to allow us to give you a valuation on how much your property is worth in the current market.

We have also been conducting “virtual viewings” for our clients and these are being used as the first initial introduction for prospective buyers to get a feel for a property rather than having lots of people traipsing in and out of the home unnecessarily. 

We are now also able to offer face-to-face viewings, with a maximum of two people who will attend, with everyone gloved, masked and two metres apart.  We will of course observe social distancing ourselves and we ask our clients to do the same. At this time, we aren’t carrying out open-house viewings.

During physical viewings, we are encouraging those we show around to avoid touching surfaces, plus we’re also suggesting that they bring hand sanitiser and wash their hands before and after viewings. 

Home owners and current tenants can make viewings safer by vacating the property whilst viewings take place in order to minimise contact with those outside their household. 

If people are looking around your home, we also suggest keeping internal doors open and cleaning door handles and other surfaces regularly with household cleaning products.  

Please be assured that we will be doing everything that we can do keep our clients safe when conducting house viewings and face-to-face meetings. 

With people looking for a way to live and work socially distanced, it’s predicted that even more people will be looking to leave London for the home counties and further afield, so St Albans is going to be in demand than ever!

If you are looking to move in the local St Albans and Hemel Hempstead area then please do get in touch, as we’d love to help you find the home of your dreams and we have properties on offer for sale and rental. 

If you are considering putting your home on the market, then we’re always happy to offer a free no obligation valuation to help you get off to a great start with selling your property.

For any questions on what’s happening with the local property market, please give us a call at the office on (01727) 221290 or and Nick and the team are very happy to answer your query either over the phone, via a zoom meeting or face to face (or mask to mask) at our Victoria Street office.

 

05Apr

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks hasn’t it. 

After the decision on Brexit on the 31st of January if you have asked us what the rest of the year would hold, we would have said that we hope that there would be no more bumps in the road for cast which would prevent our clients from renting, selling or moving into their dream properties in 2020.

Little did any of us realise that a few short weeks later, we would be in a situation where everything is up in the air again! We know that it’s definitely uncertain times for the moment, so for those of you that may have been in the middle of a house  move, or just getting ready to start thinking about putting your house on the market, here are a few tips for things that you can do whilst you’re waiting.

Start to prepare your home for sale or rent

If you were quite early on in your rental/sale journey, now may be a good time get “your house in order” before putting it on the market. Perhaps consider what jobs need to be one before the home is in tip-top condition for market and focus on getting these jobs done if possible. Get in touch with us if you are considering a valuation and we can get you booked in for as soon as is safe to do so again. Having this planned means that you will be ready to get to market as soon as possible once the current landscape starts to improve. 

Do your research on your planned move

If you are in the early stages of your moving journey, start to have a think about the different areas that you might like to move to and do some research into the kinds of properties available in the area and what’s available within your price bracket. Register for property alerts on areas you’re really interested in. It may also help to decide on what areas you absolutely aren’t interested in locally. 

You could also write a list of everything that you want in your next property. If you have a clear idea in your head about the negotiables and non-negotiables then this makes your move easier!

Review your Finances

Given the current financial state of the country and your personal finances, it may be that you find yourself having to rethink some options which could’ve been available to you the last couple of months. So make sure that you have a chat with your mortgage advisor or financial advisor, to ensure that your house move will still be realistic in the current climate and you can still borrow as much as you thought that you would be able to borrow previously as circumstances can tend to change quite quickly. 

De-Clutter

Whilst you are at home perhaps with less to do than an average week, now is a great time to try and clear some clutter, so grab a couple of boxes and start sorting out what you do and don’t need. Although charity shops may not be open, you can always store the boxes until they reopen. This means that you will also then only be moving with belongings that you want to move with. It’s also a good time to perhaps indulge in some pre-moving packing if you know that you are hopefully going to be moving in the near future. 

Already found your new dream property? 

Start planning your new space. 

Just because you aren’t currently moving into or nearly moving into your new home it doesn’t mean that you can’t start planning for your future space.

Start to visualise the new space in your home and consider how your current furniture will work in the space. If it won’t, then you can make lists of what needs to be bought either for new or replacement and start planning now so that you can get new furniture ordered once you have a moving date confirmed.

Similarly, you could start planning your garden and outside space, especially if you want to move in warmer weather. 

Familiarise yourself with your new area

Although you aren’t living in an area yet, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t start to do some research into the new area you are moving into via the internet. There’s lots of information to be found online, so you can work out where your nearest takeaway, corner shop, supermarket, park, gym, schools etc are and start to familiarise yourself with the local area. You could also consider joining some local social media groups for your new area, if you aren’t a member already. 

Stay up to date

It’s definitely important to keep in touch with your estate agent and solicitors at the moment, who can keep you in the loop about what’s happening with others in the chain, and can let you know of any changes or movement at this time. 

Keep calm and carry on! 

Easier said than done, but try to keep a cool head, and stay patient. Just remember that whilst it may be a no to moving for the moment, it’s not a no to moving forever

Think outside the box!

If your plan to move was time pressured due to changes in lifestyle or circumstance such as a new job, school places or a change in family circumstance, then please do come and speak to us, as we’d love to help you think outside of the box about different options which may be available to you, which could mean that you can still reach the goals you are looking to achieve through your house move, it might just be that you need to take a slightly different to more difficult or alternative journey to get there. 

We LOVE to help our clients, and even more so in the current climate, so why not give us a call on 01727 221290 and let’s help you plan for the next few months so that you can get going on your move again as soon as you are possibly able. In the meantime, please do stay safe!

 

01Mar

St Albans is regularly cited as one of the most desirable places to live within Hertfordshire. With a population of around 147,000 people, property is often in high demand, and in a buoyant climate, the right property in a sought-after area doesn’t often stay on the market for long!

Speak to most residents locally and you will hear a familiar story of people moving to the area when they were newly married or expecting their first child to escape the shoe box London City lifestyle, in search of the promised land of more property for your money, that first home together, green open spaces and neighbours who actually smile at one another!

Often week after week we see potential buyers, fresh off the train from the big smoke popping into the office to ask us about the local area and what they might get for their money locally.

So, here are a few reasons why St Albans may be a good choice for your next move

1)   Easy Commute to Central London

Easily cited as one of the most common reasons that people who commute will tell you they chose St Albans as their weekend haven from “that London”, the great transport links mean that those who want to enjoy the benefits of living in the leafy suburbs can rest safe in the knowledge that their office and that city lifestyle is often only a 20-30 minute train journey away. With on average 15 trains per hour into the capital, all being well and if you’re happy with standing room only, it’s usually a doable journey into the office from the local train station, with the option of parking at the station, or on local drives rented out by capitalising property owners.

2)   Great Travel Links for easy access around the UK

St Albans has the fortune (or misfortune, depending how you look at it) or being situated around the junction where the M1 motorway which runs from London and up to the North of the UK and Scotland meets the M25, the ring road which navigates around Greater London but also offers easy junctions down to the South and West Country, and Wales. So, from the perspective of being able to get to different parts of the country easily, it’s a regular traveller dream location! Of course, the reality of regular heavy traffic, and variable speed limit cameras everywhere may suggest otherwise, but in terms of location, St Albans is a great option if you need to be able to travel to other UK locations easily.

Add in the ease of Luton Airport only around a 15 minute drive, and Heathrow and Stanstead Airports within easy driving distance and St Albans does mean that you can be easily well connected to a whole host of destinations very easily, yet another great big tick in the box for reasons to live I St Albans.

3)    Great Schooling Options

St Albans and the surrounding areas boast some of the best primary and secondary schools in Herts, with ample options for private school education also. Some schools are so popular that catchment areas barely stretch more than a few hundred metres from the school! Rumours fly around of parents renting next to the school just to get their children into the school, before moving to a property further away just a few months later. The reality is that whilst some schools are more popular than others in the town, pupils have access to very good educational options in comparison to other areas of the count.

Multitude of Pubs & Restaurants to choose from

A historic market city, St Albans was back in yester-year, on average around a day’s coach travel and the first stop from London. With its colourful history of coaching inns, St Albans claims to boast the most pubs per square mile. Whilst nowadays, some of the city’s pubs have fallen victim to rising rent hikes and falling trade, there is still a huge selection of pubs to suit all tastes, with many retaining original architectural features to admire as you enjoy your chosen tipple of a summer’s afternoon or escape the cold on a winters evening!

Additionally, St Albans offers access to pretty much every kind of food choice you could wish for. Whether it’s Italian, Greek Turkish, British, Indian, Japanese or even just a whole restaurant dedicated to Desserts, there’s an eatery in St Albans for you and in a multitude of price brackets too!

Sense of Community

Whereas in London or other cities you may go for days without seeing a neighbour or friendly face, and trying to make friends may have been tricky, in St Albans, although it’s a fairly small city, there are a multitude of smaller communities within the city too which all have their own vibe and community feel, with lots of opportunities to meet new people and activities to suit all ages and tastes.

Whether you move to Holywell, Marshalswick, The Camp Estate, St Peters, St Michaels, Cotton Mill, Verulam Estate, Highfield, Jersey Farm, or neighbouring villages on the outskirts of the city including London Colney,  Colney Heath, Sandridge and Chiswell Green, we can guarantee that you’ll soon feel at home in any part of the city you decide to move to!

If you would like further advice or info on the local area, or you are looking to sell, buy or rent in the local area then we’d love to chat! Give us a call on 01727 221290 or pop into the office to see us!