Why invest in Nuneaton?

After a really interesting morning of Networking with the Nuneaton and Bedworth Business Support Expo, I really wanted to share with you several reason why I personally think Nuneaton is a lot more appealing in terms of property investment than people realise.

Speaking at the Expo were Terry Spall, Commercial Director for MIRA Technology park Ltd on the A5, As well as Lisa Garley Evans, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Holland Barrett (Head Office in Nuneaton) amongst other very informative speakers on the regeneration and improvement of Nuneaton as a whole.

Both Mira and Holland Barratt are International companies, and are literally on our doorstep! Both companies have had Billion pound investments in order to expand further, meaning, more and more jobs are being generated for the area! Currently Holland and Barrett have 60 jobs available at their head office, and in the past few weeks held a job expo where over 200 people turned up interested in working for them. MIRA and H&B alike will have jobs suitable for local people and also people looking to relocate, even those who are currently commuting from places like London will soon see the sense in Moving to Nuneaton simply for the cost of living being substantially less!

This aside, Nuneaton will always be a hot spot for renting, especially your typically 2/3 bedroom terrace property- they will never have large void periods, ( experience tells us this) but people with slightly more desirable properties or those looking to invest in similar properties shouldn’t be deterred. There are re-location agents who contact us regularly asking us to keep them informed of these types of properties for tenants who will be moving from all over Europe just to come and work in a specialised field at companies such as MIRA. Again, experience has shown us that said properties have never been an issue to rent out – families/working professionals and relocators alike seeking 3/4 bedroom semi detached family homes in the more affluent areas of Nuneaton.

If you are looking to invest, or similarly have rental properties in Nuneaton, please feel free to give us a call or pop in and see us on Bond Street. We are always happy to meet like minded people. Property is a great game to be in, but…you have to be in it to win it!!

We, at QT Homes, have now gone into sales! We will sell your home for £695.

Melissa and I are delighted to let you all know that we have now also gone into sales as well as lettings!

It was a natural progression for us and our business- QT Homes- and since we started a few weeks ago we have already successfully marketed and sold 2 properties, and are currently marketing our third property in Bedworth.

We cover Nuneaton, Bedworth, Hinckley and this side or Coventry, as well as Atherstone and surrounding areas.

If you, or anyone you know, are interested in Selling their property, we do offer a £50 recommendation (upon completion) to anyone you pass our way.

It couldn’t be easier. Just give us a call and we can talk you through what we offer. Our sales package is £695(no VAT) which is paid upon completion.

We look forward to hearing from you and offering you our friendly, professional service.

Nuneaton Buy-to-let is still lucrative investment despite Government Measures


Oh my, oh my, if I had a fiver for every landlord we’ve had on the phone or in the office, drowning their sorrows (in a lovely cup of tea that I made) over the recent tax changes as well as tenant fee ban and anything else the government has thrown at them in the last year or so, I would be sunning myself in Barbados right about now instead of writing for you lovely people.

Those of you who are familiar with the blog will know what super fans we are of investing in property and how, we believe, there’s no better place to invest your well-earned pennies.

For a long time now the buy-to-let market has yielded fantastic returns for all those brave enough to take the leap into the world of property investment and it has beaten all major asset classes in the last five years, hands down!

Yes, I know the Government have gone all psycho loco on Landlords and think that we’re the Devil but, despite the tax changes, investors will still be able to gather pretty good returns. Yes, the days of 7+% yields may be out the window but, according to research carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (who did research into the BTL market on behalf of UK retail and Commercial bank), you’re still looking to get a pretty healthy return so, do not despair.

Word on the grapevine is that the biggest gains for investors will be from profitable growth and it predicts that the UK home average price will have increased by 59% by 2027 against 2016’s level. You may think 2027 is far away but, it’s only 10 years! You may have a few extra grey hairs and wrinkles but you’ll be able to spend the profit from your investment on rectifying those physical signs of aging and have plenty left over.

Not only do you get a good profitable growth, you also have an increased demand in tenants to look forward to. It’s estimated that private rented residences will rise from 21% (2016) to 28% by the end of 2027 (The Office for National Statistics predicts the UK’s Population to rise by 4.4 million over the next 10 years reaching 70 million in 2027).

Investors ask me is it safe to invest in property. The analogy I use is that if you were to go to your bank for a loan, they would go through the formality of asking you what it was for. If you then proceed to tell them it was to buy stocks, in the stock market there probably going to smile politely, tell you they can’t help and then boot you out the door. BUT, When you go and say you’re investing in property, they will gladly continue with you, as they know property is a safe investment for them, which is not the case with stocks and shares.

If you’re prepared to ride the storm and feel strong in your position as a landlord, I say, keep going because it will be worth it.

If you have any concerns or questions relating to your Nuneaton property investment(s) please feel free to give us a call. There’s no question too big or too small.

If you’re finding your Nuneaton property investment stessful but you’re not ready to sell, why not give us a call and ask how we can help you manage the property for you. If you’re not ready to give us a call, feel free to visit our website www.qthomes.co.uk for more information.

Our first question to you, if you come and see us, is “What would you like to drink”. You’re always welcome to pop in and have a chat so, make the most of it. Look forward to seeing you soon.

Election Special Market Comment…

The unexpected hung parliament might appear to have once again cast a shadow over the housing market. Or maybe not!

We know that the stability and strength proposed by Theresa May might not be delivered after all. But is that really so bad for a market already in danger of overheating? Certainly the lack of available properties for sale in Nuneaton and in general has helped to escalate prices to unsustainable levels in some areas.

It is well known that job security, employment levels and interest rates play arguably the greatest roles in determining the shape of the property market. Yet these were seldom presented burning issues by any party during the election. An increasingly uncertain Brexit does of course suggest an increasingly uncertain future. However, in the twelve months since the Brexit referendum the market has actually risen by a respectable 4.1% (source HMLR) so perhaps its ill-effects were overestimated.

Indeed, even a hung parliament is not necessarily bad news; during the coalition years of 2010-2015 house prices rose by an average of over 3% per annum.

There is a tendency for the media to exaggerate and “spin” all kinds of political turmoil for a cheap headline, especially with something as close to our hearts as property. Yet possibly the most accurate indicator of the British response to such things can best be summed up in the wartime catchphrase and 21st century tea-towel slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On”.

A house move is usually prompted by a genuine change in lifestyle, such as a growing family, a job move, death, divorce, downsizing etc. Most of these will happen whichever political party is in power, and will continue to dominate our motivations long after even Brexit has been forgotten.
With no pressure on the housing market other than a lack of new homes being built to satisfy the continued demand (and both the major parties have similar new-build policies) our advice to buyer and seller alike would be; if a move would suit you, there is no compelling reason why you shouldn’t do it. And if you are thinking of selling, it might be an idea to act straight away and take advantage of the pent up demand caused by the flippin’ election!

Are Nuneaton landlords stifling the Nuneaton property market…?

Following the publication of a recent blog article about ‘Generation Rent’ a local homeowner of Nuneaton contacted me. He said that he felt that the plight of our Nuneaton youngsters (first time buyers), was that like of a novice football player trying to bend it like Beckham! You’re in a minus game playing Beckham at his own game right? Play him a 100 times and you’re bound to lose 100 times!! There is no doubt that buy to let landlords have played a major role in driving up property values in Nuneaton (and the UK) and from that made housing a lot less affordable for the 20-30 somethings of Nuneaton.

Let us look at how affordable Nuneaton is. The best way to measure affordability is to measure Nuneaton property prices against Nuneaton average salary (the higher the ratio, the less affordable properties are). For example in 2014, the average value of a Nuneaton property was 5.94 times higher than the average annual wage in Nuneaton, and in 2016 the average value of property was 5.77 times higher compared to 2002 when it was just 3.98 times higher.

As affordability of property decreases the younger generation find it less appealing to purchase or own their own homes instead…choosing to rent.
But, it’s not the only reason…

The Tories have certainly done much to level the playing field in favour of first time buyers. For nearly a year now, landlords have had to pay an additional 3% in stamp duty on any buy to let purchases and, over the coming four years, tax rules on landlords claiming mortgage interest relief will affect their pocket. It also does not help owner-occupiers that local authorities sold off council houses in the Thatcher years. So, for many on low incomes or with little capital, owning a home has simply never been an option (today or in the past).

It’s easy to look at the headlines and blame landlords. First time buyers have been able to access 95% LTV mortgages since 2010, meaning even today, a first-time buyer could purchase a 1 bed apartment in Nuneaton for around £80,000 and only need to find £4,000 deposit. Yes, a lot of money, but first time buyers need to decide what is important to them. Either, save up for a couple of years for the deposit or go and have two annual foreign holidays, get the full satellite or cable TV package with sports and movies costing three figures a month, upgrade to the latest mobile phone and go out socialising.

However, as a nation did we always have majority owner-occupier tenure? The graph below shows the history of our tenure in the UK since 1918 to present day 2017.

I think we as a country have changed. Renting seems to be returning to be the norm.
So, my opinion is, landlords have it tough. Let’s not blame them for the perceived woes of the nation. To be frank, we haven’t always been a country of homeowners. Roll the clock back to 1964, and nationally, 30% of people rented their home from a private landlord.
That figure today?
It’s only 15.3% nationally.

Are you a landlord concerned about the future? A first time buyer wondering if now is a good time to buy? Feel free to email me for free and impartial advice. I promise not to charge you for an opinion. Alternatively, see how we can help you with the management or sale of you Nuneaton property- http://www.qthomes.co.uk/

The 2017 General Election and the Nuneaton Property Market.

The past does not equal the future however, it’s as good a barometer as any when it comes to making attempts to predict it, and the Nuneaton hosuing market…

Looking and analysing the past 5 general elections I have made some interesting discoveries on the before and after a general election and how this affects the property market…if at all.

Out of the five general elections (1997, 2001, 2005, 2010, 2015) two were not certain (2010 with the coalition government of Lib-Dems and Conservatives and 2015 with the surprising Tory majority). So I wanted to compare what happened to the number of houses sold and prices achieved between the three certain elections (1997, 2001 and 2005) against the unexpected ones of 2010 and 2015.
Look at the first graph below comparing the number of properties sold and the dates of the general elections….

Looking at the number of monthly transactions (the blue line), there is a certain pattern to the housing market. That pattern has never changed since 1995 (meaning the periodic fluctuations that occur regularly based on a pattern – i.e. you can see how the number of properties sold dips around Christmas, rises in Spring and Summer and drops again at the end of the year).
The red line is a 12 month ‘moving average’ trend line which enables us to look at the ‘de-seasonalised’ housing transaction numbers, whilst the yellow arrows indicate the times of the general elections. It is clear to see that after the 1997, 2001 and 2005 elections, there was significant uplift in the number of households sold, whilst in 2010 and 2015, there was a slight drop in house transactions.

The next thing I did was to consider what happened to property prices. In the graph below, I have used that same 12-month average, housing transactions numbers (in red) and yellow arrows for the dates of the general elections but this time compared that to what happened to property values (pink line).

It is quite clear none of the general elections had any effect on the property values. Also, the timescales between the calling of the election and the date itself also means that any property buyer’s indecisiveness and indecision before the election will have less of an impact on the market.

So finally, what does this mean for the landlords of the 18% of privately rented households in Nuneaton? Well, as I have discussed in previous articles (and just as relevant for homeowners as well) property value growth in Nuneaton will be more restrained in the coming few years for reasons other than the general election. The growth of rents has taken a slight hit in the last few months as there has been a slight over supply of rental property in Nuneaton, making it imperative that Nuneaton landlords are realistic with their market rents (I’ve seen properties on the market with asking prices inflated by 20%!!). But, in the long term, as the younger generation still choose to rent rather than buy … the prospects, even with the changes in taxation, mean investing in buy-to-let still looks a good bet.

If you see a Nuneaton property you think will make a good buy-to-let and need a second opinion, send me the Rightmove or Zoopla link. As my readers will attest, I don’t charge for an opinion.

Is your buy to let in Nuneaton being Sub-let??


Investing in a buy to let property is not an easy process – it’s expensive, and it can feel like a real labour of love being a landlord in today’s market. So, what do you do when you find out your tenant has decided to turn landlord and sublets your property? Should you accept it, or are you within your rights to be unhappy about this? With subletting on the rise in our towns and cities, this isn’t something that can be ignored.
What is it?
As the cost of living is creeping up, people are getting more resourceful with how to save, and make, money.
One of the most popular ways to increase an income and minimise outgoings – especially in the UK’s pricey towns and cities – is for a tenant to sublet a property. The subtenant would be given a tenancy for part of the property, which is let to them by the named tenant, who is acting as the landlord of the property.

Why is it a problem?

Subletting can pose a problem with regards to you as a primary landlord’s mortgage of insurance conditions.
Additionally, research by the National Landlords Association (NLA) has revealed that almost 50% of tenants who sublet their property do so without their landlord’s consent. If you are not aware of who is living in your property, you can face numerous issues further down the line, for example you have no control over the sub-letters or their actions, but can be pursued should any anti-social behaviour, noise or nuisance notices arise.

What are the legal implications?

It is important to remember that your tenant needs your written permission before they are legally allowed to start subletting your property. In some cases, if you refuse the request and the sublet goes ahead you are permitted to start possession proceedings against your tenant for breaking the terms of their tenancy agreement and in some cases, social housing tenants can be prosecuted for unlawful subletting, which carries an unlimited fine and a potential prison sentence of up to two years.
It’s only legal to sublet part of the property, such as a spare room. If they let the entire property, their status as a secure tenant could be invalidated.
If they choose to sublet, your primary tenant would take on the role as landlord. This would mean that they would be responsible for vital legal checks, such as Right to Rent checks on all incoming tenants. If your tenant fails to undertake these checks, and the incoming tenant is not legally allowed to rent in the UK, the primary tenant could face an unlimited fine, or even a prison sentence.

How can I stop it happening?

One of the first things you should do is make sure that the tenancy agreement that you provide your tenants with includes a clause stating that subletting is only allowed with the landlord’s permission, which will not be unreasonably withheld.
It was made illegal in 2015 for tenancy agreements to completely ban subletting within a property, however by including a clause which enables you to consider every request, you can work with your tenant, whilst still protecting yourself, your investment, and your primary tenant from potential difficulties!

What do I do if my tenant goes ahead and does it anyway?

If your tenant is illegally subletting, chances are they will be being fairly clever about the process- as no one does it with the intention of getting caught!. Before you do anything, it’s important to establish whether they are subletting or not! And this does require a little detective work…
If there are multiple occupants in a property which has been marketed for sole occupancy, you would expect to see higher levels of wear, tear and damage – after all, there’ll be a higher level of footfall! You will know what you will expect to see in your property, and if you need too- refer back to the inventory you did at the start of the tenancy- so schedule a maintenance check and keep an eye open for tell-tale signs of another person in the property.
Without getting too Sherlock Holmes, pay attention to small details such as the number of toothbrushes in the bathroom, shoes by the door, and lived-in bedrooms in operation.
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of the curtain twitcher- and lets face it, most streets have them! A casual chat over the garden fence to neighbours to ask if they have noticed lots of different people coming and going from the property could shed some light on whether your single-person tenant has actually turned into small HMO!
Although time consuming, it may pay to sit and watch the property- particularly in the morning when people are leaving for work- just to see if you can catch the same ‘un- authorised’ person leaving the property consistently. This would also give you opportunity to approach them about your concerns.
If from your findings you find that there is evidence of someone else definitely living there, the time has come for an awkward conversation with your tenant. From a legal point of view, your tenant can have a friend or relative stay with them, and as long as they are not charging them rent this would not be considered subletting.
However, if your tenant admits to taking in a tenant of their own (or if you manage to speak to the subtenant who clarifies the situation) you are able to start possession proceedings against your tenant to evict them using a Section 21.
If your tenant has sublet the entire property, they have forfeited their tenancy status. This means that the tenancy ceases to be secure, flexible or introductory, and they have lost the protection of the law. In this instance, you are able to start the eviction processes by serving a ‘Notice to Quit.’

How do I evict the subtenant?

Once the tenant that you have a legal agreement with is no longer in residence at the property, the tenant who was subletting is considered a trespasser. You have no legal agreement with this tenant, and do not require a possession order to evict this tenant, although you can arrange one if you choose.
It is worth considering though that in many instances this person acted in good faith, and rented a property through your tenant in the belief that everything was ‘above board’. Taking time to speak with them where possible, and if you can, come to an agreement that makes the change as easy as possible for all parties will help ease the pressure on this innocent party!

If you are a victim of subletting, why not give us a call to see what we can do to help. If you want to keep your property but feel like the management of the property is getting you down, why not visit our website for more information on how we can help http://www.qthomes.co.uk/

ASK MEL- “Should I risk renting my Nuneaton property to people in receipt of housing benefits?”

Dear Mel,
I have a 3 bed terraced house near Nuneaton town centre and I am advertising it privately but I keep getting a lot of people in receipt of Housing Benefit showing interest. What are the risks when renting to people on benefits? Are there any positives? What information could you offer that might help me decide?
I look forward to your reply.
-Jenny

Hi Jenny,
This is a really great question and it’s certainly a question that, I’m sure, many landlords ask themselves when it comes to renting their Nuneaton properties. To follow are the answers to your questions…

“What are the risks to renting to people on benefits?”

Who controls the money?

If the tenant receives their housing benefit, they are responsible to pay you that money each month. This means they will need to be organised with money because they get paid every 4 weeks but, normally, their rent will fall on the same day each month so, they need to be able to budget / save their money for when the rent is due.

If you receive the Housing Benefit (HB) direct from the Council, this is better for your cash flow but can carry more risks e.g. if HB discover that your tenant has misrepresented a claim, they can stop the housing benefit and even ask you, as the landlord to pay back what you have received in rent because of the tenants’ deceit. However, if you find out that the tenant has misrepresented a claim and report them to HB then you are not liable to re-pay the rent but you are likely to stop receiving the HB for some time while the situation is resolved. So, you’d better hope there is no misrepresentations because you could be stung either way.

The tenants word is gospel

We’ve recently had a landlord ask us to manage his Nuneaton property after he had a bad experience with a tenant receiving HB. He had served her notice because she was not paying the full amount of rent each month (she was supposed to pay money as well as the HB to cover the rent) and, a few days later she informed the council that she had moved out of the property so, all payments to the landlord stopped. The tenant was in fact still living in the property and had no intention of moving out “until the bailiffs kick [her] out”. The landlord rang the council and informed them that the tenant was still living in the property but he was advised that, unless the tenant rings the council to tell them otherwise, there wasn’t anything they could do. The landlord eventually managed to get the tenant to admit (via text) that she was still living in the property, as well as getting written confirmation from the neighbours and the council said that they would carry out a visit to the property to establish who lived there. It’s a long story but, you get the jist of it!

Does the HB cover the rent?

If the housing benefit does not cover the full amount of rent, the tenant is liable to pay the rest. Can the tenant afford to do this? How can you be sure that they will top the rent up each month?

Are they paying a cash bond?

Some people in receipt of benefits who apply for private housing offer a ‘paper bond’ from the Council but, you should look into this more as there are a lot of the things the paper bond will not cover…
https://www.nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk/downloads/file/616/bond_assistance_scheme_guidance_for_landlords

Do you have a back-up?

If you do decide to let your Nuneaton property to someone in receipt of HB, I would strongly recommend ensuring that they have a guarantor in place. It’s important to ensure the guarantor can afford the rent as well as getting all the relevant ID and proof of income from them.

Are you doing reference and credit checks?

Again, something I would strongly recommend. If credit checks reveal several debts (paid or unpaid), it gives some idea of how the applicant manages their money. On the other hand, credit checks could reveal good money management and be a re-assurance to you. It’s recommended that you get proof of current address as well as people often say that they live [d] with parents to avoid having a bad reference from a previous or existing landlord.
If you’re unsure about this process or want some more advice, please feel free to contact us on 02477 674 545

Will it affect your insurance?

It’s a good idea to check your Insurance Policy still covers you if your tenant is in receipt of benefits as some do not. Similarly, you should also check that you are not in breach of your buy-to-let mortgage.

Are there any positives?

The green deals that come and go with funding are often available for free or at a substantially reduced rate if you have tenants in receipt of benefits (but this can also apply to people who receive tax credits who work full or part time too).

If the HB covers the rent in full, and the tenant pays you on the same rent day each month, and the benefits don’t change, and they look after the property, and they have a cash bond, and a guarantor and it won’t affect your insurance or mortgage policy then, renting to people in receipt of benefits would be a positive (although very rare).
As a private landlord, I have had both good and bad experiences with tenants in receipt of benefits so I am very much in the middle. I do believe that more should be done to encourage landlords to rent to people in receipt of HB and support landlords in the event of rent arrears, misrepresented claims etc because, at the moment, regardless of the problem, the landlord usually bears the brunt and it’s usually very costly!

As you can see, the risks outweigh the positives quite heavily. However, if you’re organised, committed to ensuring you have back up in place and you have an applicant that is willing to tick all the relevant boxes (as listed above) then, there is no reason why you shouldn’t rent your property to a person/people in receipt of benefits.

If after reading this you’ve decided that having a tenant in receipt of HB isn’t the route you want to take, or you would like more advice, please feel free to drop me an email m.maycock@qthomes.co.uk or give me a call on 02477 674 545. I’m happy to offer some more advice and can even help find the right tenant for you.

Alternatively, why not check out how we can help you to manage your property or simply just find you the right tenant http://www.qthomes.co.uk/

Where will Nuneaton house prices be in the not so distant future?

rising house prices

I was having lunch the other day with a solicitor friend of mine who’s properties I manage, when the subject of property came up. She asked me my thoughts on the Nuneaton property market for the next five years. Property prices are both a British national obsession and a key driver of the British consumer economy.  So what will happen next in the property market? So here is what I told her, and now wish, my blog reading friends, to share with you.

 

Before I can predict what will happen over the next five years to Nuneaton house prices, firstly I need to look at what has happen over the last five years.  One of the key drivers of the housing market and property values is unemployment (or lack of it), as that drives confidence and wage growth – key factors to whether people buy their first house, existing homeowners move up the property ladder and even buy to let landlords have an appetite to continue purchasing buy to let property.

 

Nuneaton’s MP, Marcus Jones, has welcomed new figures showing that unemployment in Nuneaton has fallen by 54% over the last five years and wage growth continuing to out-pace inflation. There are now nearly 1,600 fewer people in Nuneaton claiming out of work benefits compared to 2010. The figures also showed that average pay growth is at 2.9 per cent – the fastest rise since 2002 – while inflation was only 0.1 per cent, meaning hardworking people in Nuneaton have more money in their pockets.

 

 

Many home occupiers have held back moving house over the past seven to eight years following the Credit Crunch but with the outlook more optimistic, I expect at least some to seize the opportunity to move home, releasing pent up demand as well as putting more stock onto the market. With a more stable economy in the Town, this will, I believe, drive a slow but clearly defined five year wave of activity in home sales and continued house price growth in Nuneaton.

 

The price of the average UK home will rise by 50% in the next 10 years, say the National Association of Estate Agents and the Association of Residential Letting Agents. The average cost of renting a home in the UK is forecast to rise too, though by only 27%, taking the average rent from £134 a week to £171.

 

 

50% might sound optimistic to some, but according to zoopla, values have risen by 13.5% over the past 5 years. However, it wouldn’t be correct not to mention those potential negative issues as I do have some slight concerns about the future of Nuneaton housing market.  The number of properties for sale in Nuneaton is lower than it was five years ago, restricting choice for buyers (yet the other side of the coin is that that keeps prices higher). Interest rates were being predicted to rise around Easter 2016, but now I think it will be nearer Christmas 2016 and finally the new buy to let taxation rules which are being introduced between 2017 and 2021 (although choosing the right sort of property / portfolio mix in Nuneaton will, I believe, lessen those issues with the next taxation rules).

 

I am telling the landlords I speak to, that with interest rates at their current level 0.5%, the cash in your Building Society Passbook is going to grow so slowly that it might as well be kept under their bed. Property prices, by contrast, have rocketed over the years, even after the property crashes, far outstripping bank accounts and inflation.

 

So my final thought …  property is a long term investment, it has its’ up and downs, but it has always outperformed, in the long term, most investments. Those in their 40’s and 50’s in Nuneaton would be mad not to include property in their long term financial calculations. Just make sure you buy the right property, at the price in the right location. One source of information on such matters would be the Nuneaton Property Blog … www.Nuneatonpropertyblog.com

If you’re looking to invest in Nuneaton and want to ensure you have the best tenant possible, or you are thinking of passing on the management of your Nuneaton investment, feel free to visit our website and see how we can help http://www.qthomes.co.uk/