Property Hawk the landlord's homepage since 2006
Free Tenancy Agreement FREE tenancy agreement
Free Landlord Software FREE landlord software
Home | Property Manager | Free ASTs | Landlord Forms | Mortgages | Insurance | Inventory | Magazine | Landlords Bible | Directory | Forum | Training | News / Blog |

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Remember when apartments were flats

Remember the chatter about 'Property Hotspots'. Times have changed. Now the talk should be more about 'Property Dropspots'. Avoiding the places that are going to do the worst over the next twenty years. It could be a very long list.

However, the Telegraph are more upbeat, and have shared various estate agent tips on finding the next property hotspot in this article. Mainly fluff about doing your homework, and asking Waitrose and Starbucks where they were looking to open next.

I'd question the judgement of one their experts, saying "Bristol’s city centre has become desirable since its tired shopping centre was replaced by the glitzy Cabot Circus". 


Now I don't want to sound like a 'Property Tosspot',  but - Have they been? I have. To me it was just like any other generic city centre shopping mall. Drossy and dirty. With the usual crowd of open mouthed zombies swaying past the generic chains, killing time before they could nip to Pizza Hut for the 'as much as you can eat buffet'. It wouldn't be the reason you'd move to Bristol, unless you were suffering an addiction to Zara. In which case it would be handy. 

Next we'll be re- packaging IKEA as 'artisan', or Poundland as 'boutique', or the Job Centre as a 'social hub'. That reminds me, remember when apartments were flats. Obviously that didn't sound 'glitzy' enough.

Landlord insurance - professional rates on portfolios 

Bookmark and Share

Mobile version of the free property management software

The new mobile pages of our free property management software Property Manager 3 are allowing users the access and input data from their account using the mobile screen friendly icons.

Currently it covers the the areas of PM3 which we thought would be most  useful to  landlords whilst away from their computer,  and the one we thought would work on the smaller screen:

The current pages available are -
  • Contact details for tenants and others
  • Ticking off rents as they are received
  • Entering meter readings
  • Notes and tasks
  • Tax return figures
Let us know if there are any other specific pages that you would find useful to be added to the mobile pages, either here or via the feedback button on the mobile version.

Login in to your Property Manager 3 mobile version here via your phone's internet browser.

Bookmark and Share

Most Popular BTL Mortgages

Max LTVInitial RateTermCompletion feeBooking feeIncentivesOverall Cost for Comparison
85%4.99% Fixed2 Years2.5%£130.00No6.8% APR
85%5.99% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00No7% APR
80%4.59% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00No6.7% APR
80%4.99% FixedFeb 28 2015 £1800£199.00Free valuation up to £335 for purchases and remortgages and free legals on remortgages only.6.1% APR
75%2.99% Discount2 Years£2495£250.00No5.2% APR
75%3.49% Fixed2 Years£995£250.00No5.3% APR
75%4.09% FixedMay 31 2016 £995£0.00Free valuation and free legals for remortgages (properties valued up to £500,000).5.6% APR
70%4.25% Discount2 Years0%£199.00Free valuation up to £335 for purchases and remortgages and free legals on remortgages only.6% APR
65%3.79% FixedMay 31 2016 £995£0.00Free valuation and free legals for remortgages (properties valued up to £500,000).5.6% APR
60%2.85% Discount2 Years£2495£250.00No5.2% APR

Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

Tel: 029 2069 5446
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Landlords are not an ethical investment

The Guardian readership continue to detest Buy to let landlords.

One 'ethical investor' is looking to find a Building Society that doesn't lend to landlords.

Does that mean we will soon be offered ethical investment products that exclude investing in businesses involved in alcohol, tobacco, pornography, nuclear energy, animal testing and rental property?

Read the Guardian post here 

Discounted Landlord insurance - trusted brokers

Bookmark and Share

Green deal - landlords need to get cosy

The Green Deal targets are something that landlords can't continue to ignore. A rental properties that  scores poorly in energy efficiency ratings will not be able to be let out from 2018, and any tenants will be able to start 'demanding' improvements in insulation that are deemed "reasonable,"  from 2016.

With one in ten rental properties not meeting the current target this could impact of hundreds of thousands of properties. With the legislation stopping landlords from letting a  property that only achieves either of the two lowest energy efficiency ratings, F and G, after April 2018. This, according to a recent English Housing Survey, equates to 11.4pc of the rental stock.

The targets will only become more stringent as time goes on, so investors might need to start to budget for any improvements.

Read more in the Telegraph

Landlord insurance - portfolio rates available
Bookmark and Share

Monday, February 25, 2013

Green Deal Warning To Landlords

The Telegraph warns that one in ten buy-to-let properties will be unlettable in 5 years time unless landlords improve the energy efficiency of their investment properties.

The legislation is part of the 'green deal' recently introduced by the government as a way to encourage landlords to make energy improvements within their properties.  As I have recently discussed many landlords remain unconvinced by the so called attractions of the 'green deal'.  The sting in the tail remains.  Those properties which have the two lowest energy ratings will not be able to let out their properties by 2018.

Again, this brings to the fore the unfairness being exercised by government against private landlords.  Will home owners be prevented from living in drafty old mansions?  I think not.  Will housing associations or councils come under the same controls?

To read the full article follow the link.

Landlord insurance - trusted brokers
Bookmark and Share

Friday, February 22, 2013

Buy-to-let Is Morally Wrong!

Our old friends at the Guardian are at it again.  This time claiming that buy-to-let is morally wrong!

They say:

1. It is morally wrong because landlords are hoarding and ramping up the price of a scarce commodity i.e. residential property.
2. We are scared because our pension pots are inadequate.
3. Landlords are after a quick killing and constantly hike up rents
4. Landlord are barred from renting to social security tenants by their mortgage companies
5. We ignore notices of inspections

I say:

I am a fervent believer in the right of free speech so I absolutely respect your right to print this misinformed diatribe.  Perhaps next time you might rather than employing a jobbing reporter get somebody who understand just a tiny bit about property and the private rental market?

1. Landlords don't hoard anything.  We have merely responded to demand from more people who want to rent rather than buy property.  If the commodity was so scarce why hasn't there been a boom in property prices.  In many ways landlords ability to fund new purchases has prevented a house price crash that could have been so devastating for home owners and the wider economy.  If our banks were in trouble without a sustained housing crash, imagine what it would been like with a Spanish style property slump!

2. Yes we are all scared that our pensions are going to be insufficient.  That's because returns from most forms of investment have been haphazard if not precarious under successive governments and so called safe investments such as government bonds' yield diddly squat.  So for many of us without a gold plated public sector pension a property pension is the next best thing.

3. Quick killing.  I wish!  The average length of time a landlord holds a rental property for is something like 22 years.  Hardly an over night killing.  As for massive rental hikes.  Outside London most regional landlords are lucky if they see increases above inflation in the last 10 years.

4. Landlord being banned from taking social security tenants by mortgage companies.  Not my experience but if this is true you have to ask yourself why.  Perhaps it because of crazy ideas like the Local Housing Allowance which made direct payments to landlords so much more difficult and increased the risk borne by the landlord and their mortgage company by unacceptable levels.

5. What is a notice of inspection?  Does anybody know?

I don't know about buy-to-let being morally wrong.  I think what is more wrong is letting journalists who know nothing about the subject but have a left leaning London centred liberal axe to grind go off on one.  But being a true liberal...I totally respect the Guardians right to spout RUBBISH!

Landlord insurance - professional rates

Free property management software, Free tenancy agreements
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Landlords targeted by HMRC

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has been accused of indiscriminately targeting residential landlords.

HMRC are using information obtained from local councils to try to identify landlords who might have  failed to declare rental income.
Mike Down, head of tax risk and investigation management at accountants Baker Tilly, said that shockingly, ‘ HMRC are openly admitting that the probing letters are being issued without the department having first checked whether the landlord is in-fact fully declaring the rents on their annual tax returns.’

So don't be surprised if a letter lands on your doormat.

Read more here -

Bookmark and Share

Young Tenants Gamble

I've just had notice from one young tenant.  Chris I guess is about 26 and he's moving in with his girlfriend.  This is one of the issues of letting to 20 something tenants.  They often rent for a short period of time before moving on.  In the past this was probably to buy a property with their partner.  Now it's more likely to be to rent a larger property with their partner if they started by renting a one bed property.

Property re-let very quickly

The good news for me is that my letting agent Express Lettings was good to their name and was straight on the case and has re-let (subject to references) to two new tenants.  If I was worried about letting to Chris being a little on the young side.  The two new tenants are much younger.  One is 20 the other 18.  So is this a good idea?

Now I've let to young couples before.  It's a high risk strategy in that young relationships don't always last.  This isn't good for the longevity of your tenancy.  The plus side is that if things work out then at this young age they probably won't be moving on for a number of years.

Guarantor is a must

I would never have even considered letting to a couple so young without the comfort of a tenant guarantor.  A good sign was that one of the accompanying parents volunteered to act as a guarantor without being asked.  Subject to both parties passing the referencing test I hope to have this property let by the middle of March.  This new tenancy will make three of my tenancies that have been subject to a tenant guarantor.  In the current uncertain economic environment with young tenants being particularly vulnerable.  Having a tenant guarantor is a valuable weapon in a landlords arsenal.  I urge landlords to use it.

Landlord insurance - portfolio & professional rates
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New Refurbishment BTL Mortgage

Property Hawk Mortgages, has a new  buy-to-let mortgage specifically for light refurbishment works with Saffron Building Society. It is aimed at landlords wishing to purchase or remortgage a property that requires a level of light refurbishment before renting the property. The initial rate is 5.89% variable (SVR + 0.5%) for 2 years with a 2.5% arrangement fee. The initial advance is up to 75% of the current value, with up to 75% of the after-works value available on completion of the works.

Andy Young, at Property Hawk Mortgages, says: “There is a high level of interest from landlords in refurbishing buy-to-let properties, but there are very few products that cater specifically for this segment of the market. This product from Saffron Building Society is unique in the marketplace as it offers up to 75% of the end value, which enables landlords to recoup the money they have spent on refurbishment as soon as the work is finished.

“Carrying out minor refurbishments, such as installing a new kitchen, can make a huge difference to the attractiveness of a property and can really impact potential rental charges. This is a very useful product which landlords can use to expand their portfolios or improve their existing buy-to-let properties.”

This new light refurbishment product available via Property Hawk Mortgage offers:

For existing landlords that wish to purchase or remortgage a property that requires a level of light refurbishment before renting the property
  • Initial advance up to 75% of current value 
  • Up to 75% of after-works value with no cap on the final drawdown, which can be released on completion of works 
  • 125% rental cover based on after-works valuation 
  • Evidence of 3 months mortgage payments whilst refurbishment works undertaken 
  • Work must be completed within 3 months of completion and prior to letting out
Up to 75% of the end value 
5.89% variable rate (SVR + 0.5%) 2 years 5.60% 
APR Lender's Standard Variable Rate of 5.39% for the remainder of the term 
125% at payrate 2% for 2 years 2.5%
An application fee will normally apply

Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

Tel: 029 2069 5446 

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. The Financial Services Authority does not regulate some forms of mortgage.

Bookmark and Share

Auction Yield Results

The latest auction results from Allsop recorded an 84% success rate.

A property that I recently highlighted consisting of 15 * 1 bedroom flats sold for £475,000.

The average yield for the lots sold was as follows:

Regulated tenancy: 4.6%
Assured Shorthold Tenancy: 9.27%

Find out more about buying a property at auction and the importance of the rental yield.

Landlord Insurance - professional rates
Bookmark and Share

Monday, February 18, 2013

CML data shows upturn in BTL mortgages

Lastest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show that BTL remained strong in 2012. With 140,000 BTL mortgage advances in the year, the highest for four years.

Gross lending rose to £16.4 billion up 19 percent from the £13.8 billion advanced in 2011.

“Buy-to-let is benefiting from strong tenant demand, which is likely to continue,” said Paul Smee, director general of CML.

For more on this story

Landlord insurance - portfolio rates available

Bookmark and Share

Most popular BTL mortgages

Max LTV Initial Rate Term Completion fee Booking fee Incentives Overall Cost for Comparison
85% 5.49% Discount 2 Years 2.5% £130.00 No 6.9% APR
85% 5.99% Discount 2 Years 2.5% £130.00 No 7% APR
80% 4.99% Fixed Feb 28 2015 £1800 £199.00 Free valuation up to £335 for purchases and remortgages and free legals on remortgages only. 6.1% APR
75% 2.99% Discount 2 Years £2495 £250.00 No 5.2% APR
75% 3.49% Fixed 2 Years £995 £250.00 No 5.3% APR
75% 4.19% Fixed Mar 31 2016 £995 £0.00 Free valuation and free legals for remortgages (properties valued up to £500,000). 5.7% APR
70% 4.25% Discount 2 Years 0% £199.00 Free valuation up to £335 for purchases and remortgages and free legals on remortgages only. 6% APR
65% 3.79% Fixed Mar 31 2016 £995 £0.00 Free valuation and free legals for remortgages (properties valued up to £500,000). 5.6% APR
60% 2.85% Discount 2 Years £2495 £250.00 No 5.2% APR

Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

Tel: 029 2069 5446 

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, February 16, 2013

5 Reasons To Love Landlords

OK Valentines day is over.  But that doesn't mean we should stop loving our landlords.  I know the liberal press aka the Guardian have it in for us landlords.  We are all money grabbing, scheming, uncaring, ruthless, Rachmanesque characters who love nothing more to see their tenants suffer in squalor.

I would like to put forward 5 reasons why the nation should LOVE us landlords:

1. We don't cost anything.  Private landlords unlike the swaves of social housing and council housing doesn't cost the state a bean despite the fact that we are now providing over 15% of the countries accommodation.

2. Looking at my next tax return we actually contribute a significant amount to the tax coffers through the tax I pay on my rental profits.

3. Tenants of private landlords will deal with the owner director.  How many large organisations will you ever be able to speak to the CEO or Chief Executive directly and have them make a decision there and then.

4. We care.  I know that many commentators find it hard to believe but many landlords care very much about their property, their rental business and yes unbelievably about the welfare of our tenants.  Guardian writers - please note this!

5. We are investing.  Unlike many sectors of the economy landlords are putting their hand in their pocket and investing vast sums in UKplc to provide accommodation where it is needed for people who otherwise would struggle to find a place to live.

So Britain I urge you to not only value but to LOVE your landlords.  

Landlord insurance - professional rates
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Average LTV Continues to Rise

Andy Young at Property Hawk Mortgages comments on the Q4 2012 Investor Profile’s findings thats sees a continued increase in the average Loan To Value.

“With improving conditions in the buy-to-let mortgage market during 2012, there have been more lenders and products available at higher LTVs, which have enabled landlords to borrow more and employ higher gearing in their property investments. Following the trend for the previous three quarters, Q4 2012 saw an increase in the average LTV for mortgage offers processed by Property Hawk Mortgages to 73.11%, compared with 72.63% in Q3 2012."

Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

Tel: 029 2069 5446 
Bookmark and Share

10% Yield Auction Opportunities

Landlords looking for an apartment block investment with a potential yield of over 10% should have a look at the particulars for this months Allsop's forthcoming residential auction.

St Lukes Place in Heywood near Rochdale offers the opportunity to purchase a block of 15 * 1 bed apartments half let on ASTs and potentially yielding well over a 10% yield at the auction guide price of £400 - 450,000.  The fact that half the apartments are empty may raise some questions from potential investors.

Total reserved rent from the 7 occupied apartment is £32,370. To view the details of these apartments just click on the link.

Landlord insurance - portfolio rates available

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Trend Shows Lower Fixed Rates

Andy Young at Property Hawk Mortgages comments on the Q4 2012 Investor Profile’s findings:

“What is notable about the last quarter is the trend for lower fixed rates, with the average buy-to-let fixed rate mortgage offer processed by Property Hawk Mortgages at 4.67%, down from 4.88% in the previous quarter. This suggests that the Government’s fiscal measures, including the Funding for Lending Scheme, are enabling lenders to offer lower interest rates to borrowers, and may also reflect falling swap rates during Q4 2012."

“Interestingly, Property Hawk Mortgages saw a rise in the average variable rate for mortgage offers during the last half of 2012, with fixed rates and variable rates now converging to become closer than they have been for at least two years.

“This could imply that lender’s are increasing their margins on variable rate products, but it is also possible that the higher LTV (and therefore higher priced) products now available in the buy-to-let mortgage market are impacting on rates charged. With fixed rates becoming more competitive, they are likely to be a popular option for landlords, and during Q4 2012, 47% of Property Hawk Mortgages’ mortgage offers were for fixed rates compared with 53% for variable rates. This is a noticeable shift from the previous quarter when just 41% were for fixed rate mortgages and 59% were for variable rates.”

Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

Tel: 029 2069 5446 

Bookmark and Share

First time buyers back in the market

The endless talk of landlords stopping first time buyers from getting on the housing market has been some what quietened by recent data, that shows that the number of FTBs entering the housing market, was the highest it had been since the 2007 peak.

216,000 FTB's purchased in 2012 according to figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). 

A 12% increase year-on-year. 

Landlord insurance - professional rates and portfolio discounts

Bookmark and Share

RICS property market survey

The latest RICS survey shows that sales are up, but not necessarily prices.

Property transactions have now increased for four consecutive months, and chartered surveyors are optimistic that the price stability will persist over the coming three months and, anticipate prices beginning to move a little higher as the year wears on.

Download the full RICS survey here
Bookmark and Share

Scottish property prices continue to dip

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) reports that Scotland is continuing to experience falling house prices.

On average property in Scotland is going for 6% below the asking price.

Read more on the BBC
Bookmark and Share

Monday, February 11, 2013

PM3 on your Phone

You can now access your PM3 data on a mobile website, designed to fit on your phone's screen. To try it, type into your phone's internet browser.

We're releasing this February 2013, covering the areas of PM3 which we think are most useful to you while you're away from your computer and work on the smaller screen:

  • Contact details for tenants and others
  • Ticking off rents as they are received
  • Entering meter readings
  • Notes and tasks

You are looking at your live data. Any editing you do will show up next time you log in to PM3.

Irish Property Auction Catalogue

For those property investors who are looking to pick up an Ireland bargain, the Allsop catalogue for the property auction on March 1st is viewable here
Bookmark and Share

CEBR predict average London home to cost £500k

The Centre for Economics and Business Research have predicted that the average London home will cost £383,000 by the end of this year. The CEBR expects house price growth in the capital to  be slower than last year.

The think tank is also predicting that the average London home will rise to £500,000 by the end of the decade.

Bookmark and Share

Boris calls for stamp duty to be kept in London

Boris Johnson is calling for the government to allow him to keep  hold of all the stamp duty taken from the London's property sales. The figure is roughly £1.3billion a year. The Mayor of London is pledging to use the money to build a million homes in the city  by the mid 2030s.

Boris outlined his idea in a speech made to the Chartered Institute of Housing, saying that London needs to be allowed to take control of it's housing crisis.

The London Mayor argues that as the majority of Londoners are paying at least 3% stamp duty the new  levy on property costing over £2million focused largely on central London, it is becoming a London focused tax that should be retained for the benefit of Londoners.

Scotland is set to retain its Stamp Duty receipts from 2015 and Wales is likely to follow suit. 

Landlords unoccupied property insurance for houses pending sale or let

Bookmark and Share

Types of Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement is a written or oral contract between a tenant and a landlord, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties. The agreement will include information such as the cost of rent and the length of the tenancy.  A tenancy agreement must be signed by both the tenant and the landlord and is usually put in place before letting out the property. There are different types of tenancy agreements which affect the rights of the landlord and tenant.

Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST)

Assured short hold tenancies (AST) are the most common forms of agreement for renting property. The tenant is protected under various acts, chiefly the 1998 Housing Act. However this type of tenancy agreement still allows the landlord to regain possession after serving two months’ notice.
In order for an agreement to be an AST it must fulfil certain criteria as there must be a private tenant renting off a private landlord, the tenancy must have begun after the 15th of January 1989, the house or flat is separate to the accommodation of the landlord, and the property is the tenant’s main residence. A tenancy will not be an AST if the tenancy began before the 15th of January 1989, the rent is very high (over £100,000 a year) or very cheap (less that £250 a year or £1000 a year in London), it is a business or holiday let, it is a company let i.e. if a company is a tenant, or the landlord is a “resident landlord”. 

For more information in assured shorthold tenancies, visit Stirling Ackroyd.

Excluded Tenancies or Licences

Another form of tenancy agreement is what is known as excluded tenancies or licences. This is relevant for tenants that share accommodation with their landlords. A tenancy of this type can have a fixed-term tenancy. Alternatively a periodic tenancy is also possible which is done on a week by week or month by month basis. 

Excluded occupiers have less tenancy rights than other types of tenancy agreements. Landlords can evict excluded occupiers at any time, only having to give ‘reasonable notice’ and this doesn’t have to be in writing.  

In terms of rent, this is agreed between the tenant and the landlord. This cannot be increased during the fixed term, unless this has been previously agreed. As soon as the fixed term has ended, the landlord can increase the rent. 

This type of tenancy can be ended by a variety of ways. Both the tenant and the landlord can agree to end the tenancy in what is known as a “surrender”. A tenant can end a tenancy on their own by providing their landlord with valid notice and the landlord is able to evict their tenant at any time. 

Assured Tenancies

The assured tenancy was introduced into the private sector in The Housing Act of 1988. Again, to qualify as an assured tenancy, there are certain criteria that the tenancy has to meet, this includes the property being let as a separate dwelling then that of the landlord, the tenant is an individual and the tenant occupies the property as their primary address. 

By having an assured tenancy, you have the legal right to live in your accommodation for a period of time. Again with this type of tenancy you can have a fixed term tenancy or a periodic tenancy. 

Assured tenants have control over their own home so that the landlord and other people cannot come in whenever they want to. 

Regulated Tenancies

If you are a Regulated Tenant then you have stronger rights against eviction than most other private tenants. A landlord cannot evict a regulated tenant unless they receive a possession order from the courts, and the courts can only grant the order in certain circumstances. In terms of rent, once this has been registered, it is the maximum the landlord can charge until it is reviewed or cancelled. 

To qualify as a regulated tenancy the property must have been let to the tenant before the 15th of January 1989. There can also be a regulated tenancy if a new tenancy is granted on or after the 15th January 1989 to an existing regulated tenant by the same landlord. Alternatively, a regulated tenancy can come about if it is granted as a tenancy of appropriate alternative accommodation as the result of a court order and the court directed that it should be a regulated tenancy. 

Bookmark and Share

Most Popular BTL Mortgages

Max LTVInitial RateTermCompletion feeBooking feeIncentivesOverall Cost for Comparison
85%5.49% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00No6.9% APR
85%5.99% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00No7% APR
80%4.99% FixedFeb 28 2015 £1800£199.00Free valuation up to £335 for purchases and remortgages and free legals on remortgages only.6.1% APR
75%2.99% Tracker2 Years2.5%£150.00Free valuation5.3% APR
75%4.54% FixedMay 31 2015 £995£0.00£500 cashback on completion5% APR
75%4.85% Tracker5 Years1.75%£150.00No5.5% APR
70%3.79% FixedJan 31 2015 £1749£250.00Free valuation up to £700 for purchases and remortgages and free legals on remortgages only.4.9% APR
65%3.79% FixedMar 31 2016 £995£0.00Free valuation and free legals for remortgages (properties valued up to £500,000).5.6% APR
65%3.99% FixedApr 30 2016 £995£0.00No4.9% APR
60%2.99% TrackerMay 31 2015 £2495£0.00No4.8% APR

Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

Tel: 029 2069 5446 

Bookmark and Share

Dangers Of Investing Abroad

I have contemplated investing in property abroad many times.  Back in 2004 I was attracted to investing in both the Chinese market and Emerging Eastern European markets like Poland.  Part of me regrets not taking the plunge with the former because property prices in China have continued to boom and with the loan I would have taken on been denominated in US$ I would have also gained on the relative strength of the Chinese Renmimbi.  OH WELL!

The dangers of investing in property overseas

However investing overseas is a risky game think; of all those property investors that have brought holiday property in southern Europe such as Spain & Greece.  The other country I seriously considered was Poland.  To me the justification was clear.  A young and aspirational population with a growing economy at the heart of Europe.  Low prices and strong demand from workers returning from stints working abroad in places such as the UK.  However, it looks like the European crisis has even impacted on the Polish property market with house prices in Lodz plummeting by over 35% since 2008.

Investment lottery

The above example just highlights the risks and rewards of investing in property abroad.  Just as I could have made massive profits by investing in property in China equally I would have probably lost big time by buying Polish property.

Whilst the UK buy-to-let property market may not offer massive short term gains the downside risk is also relatively small at the present time.  I'm happy to be fully invested in the UK property market even if part of me wishes I'd taken a punt on the 'rise of the Dragon.'

Landlord insurance - professional rates
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, February 09, 2013

House Prices Surge

House prices are up again in January which is good news for landlords.  The latest rise of just under 2% according to the Halifax was the second successive increase and the biggest monthly rise since January 2010.  Could this mean the end of the property blues? Possibly.  I guess it depends how the crisis pans out in Europe and whether 'austerity' works.

For those landlords that are prepared to take the very long view. the latest Shelter report indicates that the typical value of a house has risen 43 times since 1971.  If the same rate of inflation was applied to a 4 pint carton of milk it would now cost £10.45 according to the Shelter figures.  Food for thought!
Landlord Insurance - trusted brokers
Bookmark and Share

Friday, February 08, 2013

Auction property falls off cliff

This news article caught my eye, and it pretty much sums up why it's worth having a good poke around a property before you buy at auction. You never know it might be about to fall into the sea.

However, to contradict myself, I do remember knowing one landlord that used to regularly purchase property at auction without viewing. Anything that sounded cheap he bought. He ended up with a portfolio of several hundred properties and a multi million pound fortune.

Landlord insurance - 5 star provider

Bookmark and Share

Will conventional home insurance suffice for a rental home?

Conventional home insurance will not cover your home if you rent it out. What you will need is landlord insurance; with companies such as this is easily acquired. Essentially landlord Insurance will protect your property as an investment rather than as the home in which you live, and so although it is similar in some ways to ordinary home insurance, in other important ways it is very different. Here we will look at some of the important elements of landlords insurance, and how they differ from home insurance.
The first of these is Buildings Insurance which covers you against losses resulting from damage to the building. As well as covering you for repair to the property, it can also cover you for loss of rental income that results from this damage.
Public liability is also part of the landlord insurance. This covers you should any third party decide to sue you for damage or injury they have sustained as a result of a defect or other problem with the building; for instance should they trip over a damaged flagstone.
Contents insurance can be added to the policy, and if you are letting the property furnished then you will almost certainly need it - and you should include accidental cover which will cover you against damage caused by your tenants. It is important to note that this does not cover contents owned by your tenants.
If you employ anybody in the course of your letting business you will need employer’s liability; in fact this is a legal requirement. It will cover you for any claims made against you by employees who sustain injuries whilst in your employ. You should note that this is not covered by public liability.
There are a number of extras that you are able to add to your policy. One of these is rent guarantee, which will compensate you for loss of rental income as well as providing legal cover should you need to evict your tenants.  This is particularly important if you are dependent on the rental income.

Bookmark and Share

Become A Guest Writer

Do you have a view and want to share it with our growing community of over 70,000 UK landlords that view Property Hawks website every month.  Well don't keep it to yourself;  why not share your views and opinions by becoming a guest writer on our famous or should it be infamous Buy-to-let Blog.

Whether you are a letting agent, lawyer, property professional or just a 'common or garden' landlord we want to hear from you.

If you are interested in writing the odd blog post just drop me a line at: with details of your experience of buy-to-let and what particular aspect you wish to blog about.

Landlord insurance - professional rates

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Securing Your Wheelie Bins

Do you have problems with your wheelie bins?

Landlords with HMOs or blocks of apartments I'm sure have had issues with wheelie bin theft.

Well this new locking device could be the answer to all your wheelie bin nightmares.

Don't tell us that we don't bring you the glamorous side of buy-to-let investment.  That assertion is  frankly garbage!

Landlord insurance - protect my investment
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

PRS Revue - MP's listen on

As MP's continue the revue into the Private Rented Sector continues to hear from the industry. Yesterday they were given data from the Valuation Office Agency that dismissed claims that rents were out of control from the lobby calling for the return of 'rent controls'.

The VOA data was the most extensive analysis of national rents ever undertaken and came up with a rental growth figure of just 2.8% nationally over the last year. Less than RPI inflation, and throwing a big bucket of water over the hot heads citing small pockets of areas where rents have shot up rapidly because of excessive demand.

Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation, also addressed the MPs saying:

“Policies that hurt investment in the private rented sector will not help people needing a home and just exacerbate the nation’s housing crisis. We hope the select committee will remember that rents reflect local housing markets and come out strongly in rejecting rent controls." adding "there is no scandal on rents in England.”

As regards the landlord mandatory licence debate he commented

“There has been a national register of landlords and agents in Scotland for some time, and compliance with it is poor, with the worst landlords continuing to be let off scot-free. We remain very willing to work with any party seeking to tackle bad practice, but only on suggestions that will be properly promoted and effectively enforced."
Landlord insurance - trusted providers

Bookmark and Share

Most popular BTL mortgages

Max LTVInitial RateTermCompletion feeBooking feeIncentivesOverall Cost for Comparison
85%5.49% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00No6.9% APR
85%5.99% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00No7% APR
80%4.99% FixedFeb 28 2015 £1800£199.00Free valuation up to £335 for purchases and remortgages and free legals on remortgages only.6.1% APR
75%2.99% Discount2 Years£2495£250.00No5.2% APR
75%3.49% Fixed2 Years£995£250.00No5.3% APR
75%4.19% FixedMar 31 2016 £995£0.00Free valuation and free legals for remortgages (properties valued up to £500,000).5.7% APR
70%4.25% Discount2 Years0%£199.00Free valuation up to £335 for purchases and remortgages and free legals on remortgages only.6% APR
65%3.79% FixedMar 31 2016 £995£0.00Free valuation and free legals for remortgages (properties valued up to £500,000).5.6% APR
60%2.85% Discount2 Years£2495£250.00No5.2% APR
Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

Tel: 029 2069 5446 
Bookmark and Share