R4R are currently my tax accountants for my limited company (regular contractor non property business). I'm not sure if they're just England based or also do Scottish tax advice.
Personally, they've been very helpful and respond quickly to any queries you might have. They helped calculate the use of home properly, meaning I could deduct more as an expense when I work from home which my previous accountant didn't pick up.
They also arranged the formation of a SPV for me to start my property investing and didn't charge extra (only costs £12-£20 but every bit helps!)
They are big contributors and sponsors of the other property forum, Property Tribes.
So positives from me. Best bet is to contact them, have a chat and see if they're suitable for your needs.
I've seen the first 2 episodes. Those two young chaps are behind the 'We Sell BMV' sourcing company.
I think it's the editing where the landlord turns up in a fancy car to the tenant's place, which needs repairs, new boiler, has mould etc. It doesn't place the landlord in a positive light and makes them seem all money hungry rather than placing the tenant first.
Agree that by the end of each episode the issues are resolved and it appears to be all happy. However, should it really take a landlord to appear on BBC to make them visit their properties and make those repairs?
I personally prefer the Nightmare Tenants and Slum Landlords on Ch4 as it shows the difficulties on both sides. As they're both made for TV, there needs to be some entertainment value to it.
I'm sure 98% of landlords and tenants out there are fine and responsible, which means you'll never hear from them as it's just part of daily life...
That's great insight and feedback on your experience.
I just noticed an email from YPN with an invite to a free webinar this Thursday evening hosted by Rick talking about HMOs so might tune in and see if it's similar to the course. Obviously the pretence of the webinar is to sell his course...
If you would like to listen to him again and don't have the email, let me know and I can ping it to you.
From the seasoned property investors to those just buying their first home, we all look for the best deal on a property. We look to see where we can add value but it’s not always easy to understand where to look or how to find out. This article will teach you that through the right research using the planning system you will be able to find that great investment.
I don’t just mean adding a rear extension or a dormer window for extra space. Although I will cover that. But taking a wider look into the planning context of a site so you can build a picture of what is happening in an area so you can be better informed about whether your property would be a worthwhile investment or a dud.
HINT: Some of the tips provided below are the exact steps that local authorities use to assess planning applications. So if your research seems to point toward a particular development being acceptable, then there is a good chance that your proposal could be as well.
Step 1 – Check the planning policy
The first tip I would give is to check out the planning policy for your area and site. You might think that planning policies wouldn’t differ drastically from area to area but unfortunately, which is one of the issues people have with planning, policies can vary quite drastically from authority to authority.
For instance, I had a friend ask me for advice on a site he was thinking of developing. The first thing I did was look at the planning policy for the area and I quickly realised that it was a non-starter. The site was what is known as ‘backland’ development which is effectively building on a site that is usually reserved for back gardens. This was clearly a development pressure throughout the borough as there was a policy dedicated to the issue. In some areas backland development was acceptable whereas in others, such as at my friend’s site, backland development wasn’t considered acceptable for a number of reasons. In this case, it was because of its impact on the conservation area.
So in just 10 minutes I learnt that a site, to the untrained eye, looked like a great investment was actually a non-starter. That saved my friend tens of thousands of pounds and hours upon hours of headache once he would realise down the line that a site is a non-starter.
So whether it is building backland development or even just extending your own home, check the planning policy. There will be a policy directly or indirectly related to what you want to do. If its extensions and alterations you are interested in, then the Council usually sets out guidance within their ‘design’ policies. I guarantee you’ll be glad you took the time to check.
Every site within your local authority’s area will have a designation. Some local authorities have different names for it but most call it a ‘Proposals Map’. This is a visual policy map which tells you which policies are relevant for your site. So search for your authority’s Proposals Map and see which policies affect you.
Is your site in a conservation area? Is it next to a listed building? Is it in a town centre? Is it in a growth opportunity area? An Archaeological Priority Area? A Viewing Corridor?
These are all key things that you need to check about your site as it will give you an idea as to how ambitious you can be with your project and what policies will apply. It will also give you an initial idea as to the development cost of a site. The more designations (like archaeology, for instance) the more specialist consultants you will need to advise you.
If your building is listed, unless you know what you are doing or you are fully committed to preserving that building (and the time it takes for doing so), then I would think twice about developing such a site. IF the Proposals Map does not show listed buildings then you can use Historic England’s map function here: (https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/map-search). Just put in the postcode and see if your site is, or is next to, a listed building.
It may be charming to look at but I know people that have bought because of its charm only to find out that it was the worst decision they have made because of the time and expense that it is required to develop listed buildings. So if you are thinking of developing a listed building, do your research or employ the help of a heritage consultant before buying to give you an idea of what you can achieve on such a site.
As well as looking at the designations for your own site, check those around you. Are there any large redevelopment or growth areas identified? This could be a sign that the local area is on the up. If there is a site near you, have a look around their website (there is usually a dedicated webpage) and find out how progress is going. Has development started? Or are they struggling to develop the area?
Minimum dwelling sizes
This is a little off topic but an important point to make nonetheless. I often see developers trying to squeeze those extra housing units on a site that just will not fit.
Save yourself and the Council time and check the minimum dwelling sizes table before approaching the council to make sure that your units are big enough for people to live in. It is a nationally set standard and you can find the standards here: (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/technical-housing-standards-nationally-described-space-standard).
Step 2 – Check the site and surroundings before seeing the site in person
The best way to truly assess a site is by visiting it in person. But before you spend the time arranging a viewing and travelling to see the site which might be across the country, have a drive around the site on Google Street.
I once considered purchasing a house that looked a great investment and the price they were asking was incredibly competitive. I checked the policy. Opportunities were there to develop. But after having a drive around on Google I noticed an industrial yard was immediately behind the back garden of the house. Having a residential unit immediately next to such a noisy neighbour is a recipe for disaster.
It depends on what you are looking to achieve on the site but I would think about a couple of things when looking at a site on Google Street:
· Have a look around the immediate neighbourhood. Any noisy neighbours (nightclubs, bars, industrial yards) that could disturb future residents?
· Is it near a town centre to offer the amenities for a resident?
· Can you park on site?
· What sort of developments have been built in the close vicinity? Is there scope to develop?
· Has the property or site been heavily altered already? This could suggest that the potential for the site has already been maximised.
Step 3 – Check the planning history of your site AND similar properties nearby
First off check the planning history of the property or site in question.
You may find that an application has been refused on site which would raise a red flag that needs further investigation. If an application was refused for something similar for what you had in mind then read the officers report which should be online as one of the publicised documents on the Council’s website. If it isn’t online then call or e-mail the Council for a copy. It could reveal exactly why the application was refused and might show that your site is a non-starter. Or it could give you an idea as to what would be acceptable.
The planning history may also reveal that a significant amount of development has come forward on the site already. Again, make sure you read the officer’s reports if they are available. They may reveal that there is no further scope to develop on your site.
Do not panic if there is no planning history for a site. It is quite common. Instead use the planning history of the immediate neighbours to get a flavour as to what is possible on the site.
As well as looking at the planning history for your own site, looking at the planning history for neighbouring properties or streets may reveal some very helpful information.
For instance, you may find that rear extensions have been refused all along your street.
Why is that?
It may be that you are in a conservation area or those buildings are listed so they are very sensitive on design grounds. Understanding the development pressures immediately surrounding your site is very helpful. It may reveal something that cannot be picked up through usual desktop research of a site.
Conversely, a number of extensions or developments may have been approved around your site which might reveal an opportunity. Again read the officer’s reports to look for any further information that might help you.
Step 4 – Do you have permitted development rights (or PD)?
Permitted development rights are rights you have to build certain forms of development without the need for planning permission. The various forms of permitted development are set out here: (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/596/contents/made).
In certain instances, though, a local authority will serve an ‘Article 4 Direction’ on an area or property which removes CERTAIN permitted development rights. Some Councils display the content of their Article 4 directions differently from one another. Some provide it within a Conservation Area statement or some may have a dedicated webpage explaining exactly which properties are affected and how.
Step 5 – Check on site
Once you have done all of the research above, have a good look around the site or property and look for anything of interest. For instance, if you want to build a terrace, a rear extension, or even a new house, will there be any impacts on your neighbours in terms of overlooking, daylight, noise from use of the terrace etc. Anything that could scupper your plans for the site.
The main concerns to neighbours are related to noise, overlooking and impact on daylight (generally speaking). If you can cover those things off early on then you will be in a good position.
Step 6 – Bid accordingly
Once you have assessed the site and determined that you can add value through your newfound planning genius then submit a bid in line with the level of work required. This is where it would help to have a discussion with a builder or contractor. Get a rough estimation and calculate how much you can spend to generate the value you identified through your planning research.
So now you should be able assess the planning potential of a site with more confidence! Let me know how you got on below.
It all sounds great in the advertising and depends on how you want your tenancy to proceed. If you are fairly hands on and the property is close to you this could be a useful vehicle for you to take a lot of the day-to-day pressure off you. However, at these fees, their business model can only work on bulk membership and minimal input from staff so there will be no relationship with your agent as they will have too many properties to manage. They too will have no sense check on tenant repair issues - the tenant could run you up a sizeable repair bill calling for assistance on all sorts of issues which are automated in calling out contractors.
In all these models they seem to forget that letting is a people industry and you are interacting with tenants who also have needs and no computer algorithm can account for this and the diversity I face every day at work continues to leave me bemused at how an online agency in Milton Keynes (or wherever) can empathise or really get the real issues of a property, landlord and tenant in a location 200+ miles away and probably have no idea of where it is or what the local conditions are like. I have properties in 4 separate locations in Lincolnshire and each location has its unique local variations.
Personally I think that it is worth the additional cost of using a quality local agent who does the job right on site at a fair cost. It is when things go wrong that the perceived cost savings go down the pan and the cheap agencies prove to be anything but! I have looked at the link to the No Agent and would take issue with their comparison of what an agent (generic) will charge for/do etc & No Agent do but include in the fee.
From a pure business model - from what I can see I struggle to see how they can make any meaningful margin within which to run the business on & would not be surprised to see them either increase prices or disappear
After spending the last 3 months listening to the back catalogue of the Podcasts, thought I would upload the spreadsheet I was using to keep track of all the shows and resources, building on Bakedbeans' list. It goes up to the most recent Podcast from Thursday (27/04).
Most of the resource links are to the Chrome/Android version as that's what I use, so apologies to the Apple folk.
Hope this helps the other new Hubbers!
There may potentially be other methods of securing finance from non-traditional banks if you're willing to research a bit more into them.
For example, there's peer-to-peer lending which was a suggestion from another forum (Tribes) - not sure if I can post the link here but happy to message it to you if you want to investigate / enquire further. However, be aware that the rates are generally higher than the standard BTL due to the perceived higher risk.
Lenders tend to prefer to see something on your credit file to show that you're able to handle the loan repayments - i.e. pay on time throughout the length of the loan term. Although you might be able to stump up a deposit, the lender won't know if you're able to cope with the ongoing payments.
I think that if your student loan was for studying between 1990-97, then it will impact your credit history, however if it was for post-1998 studies, then it doesn't count towards your credit history (based on a quick Google search).
If you're able to take out an introductory / credit builder credit card when you're back (Being an Aussie, when I arrived here I signed up for a Barclaycard one, but there are other Banks that offer them too), and use it for daily purchases then repay it in full each month, then this will help.
Once built up, you can then switch to a more beneficial card. I tend to use a credit card with benefits - e.g. Tesco Clubcard points, AMEX with BA points, then repay the balance each month, rather than use cash. Few advantages is that it builds your credit profile (especially if use about 30% of the credit limit and repay it in full each month), you get vouchers/cashbacks from the retailer it's associated with, and it allows you to track your expenditure each month. The Clubcard points alone have paid for a microwave and other household goods over the years, so as long as you're spending it on something you would've paid in cash, you may as well get something out of it.