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Ewa Hall

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  1. Hello everyone, I'm in the process of buying my first BTL house and I encountered a few problems. The house has a rear extension built over a sewer pipe. The extension was built in the 80s and has a planning permission. But there is no build over agreement with water company. I've read that building over a sewer pipe can be a problem, as the extension can cause damage to the pipes if not done properly and in case the pipes need repairing this could be very costly. On the other hand the extension has been there for 30 years and from the building survey there are no visible problems. Also several similar houses on the same street have rear extensions and I imagine they were all built over the pipes that run to the rear of the houses. I am not sure if this is something serious and I should pull out before the exchange and look for a different property. Would that cause problems when I would like to sell the property later on or extend any further? There is one more problem in the house. There is one internal load bearing wall removed in the living room, that does not have planning permission. The vendors said that they bought it without the wall and they didn't even know that a wall was removed there. The surveyor said that he couldn't see if the removal of the wall was done properly, but he also couldn't see any faults in the house that would indicate that it was not done properly (without steel beam). The wall was removed around 10 years ago, so there would be some visual clues if it was not done properly. Could that together with the extension built over sewer pipe be a sign to pull out and not to buy this house? Thank you for any help. This is my first investment property and it is very stressful seeing all those problems and not knowing what to do anymore.
  2. Hello Marcus, Thank you for your reply. I asked my mortgage broker for advice on insurance and he passed my details to insurance broker. However their quote is higher than I expected, therefore I'm looking for other options. It's hard to understand if their policy is better than cheaper alternatives and if it will pay out when needed. Thank you!
  3. Hi Patrick and Kevin, Thank you for your replies and advice. I will get a quote from Simply Business and also get more familiar with NLA. I think that after exchange of contracts - when I'm closer to become a landlord, I will join NLA. Did anyone use their phone help line and would recommend it? Thank you!
  4. Hello Everyone, all the best in New Year! I’m in the process of buying my first BTL property. This is very exciting :-) My offer was accepted and I’m finalising the mortgage! I'm buying my property through an estate agent, so not the deal of the century, but still happy about it. I need to find a good Landlords Insurance and have no clue which one is the best. I read different articles, reviews, listened to the podcast and have not been able to make a decision. From what I’ve read I will need buildings insurance and public liability insurance. I was wondering about the NLA (Allianz Insurance) or RLA insurance (Brit Syndicate) I also read some mixed reviews about Alan Boswell Insurance, but as they were mixed reviews I couldn’t make up my mind. I do not want to pay for the insurance to later find out that even though I’m covered on paper in reality I’m not. Does anyone have a reliable landlords insurance they could recommend? Any help/advice would be much appreciated. Thank you, Ewa
  5. Hi Donald, Thank you for sharing the link to Mr Foggs website and the contacts for the tradesmen! I will have to think about all the feedback and make some decisions soon, as my own deadline for buying first property is approaching :-)
  6. Hi Rob, Thank you for your advice. I don't have experience / skills with refurbishing houses. I would have to rely on someone else. Perhaps starting from a smaller refurb project would be best for me and with experience try bigger ones. Another option could be enrolling in a DIY program like Donald suggested. Of course that would not make me an expert but would give me a better understanding. I supposed everything that requires more specialist knowledge like replacing heating systems, electric rewiring should be avoided. Hopefully this kind of issues would come out in the survey and I would not progress with exchanging contracts. Thank you!
  7. Hi Kevin, Thank you for your reply and all your help! Will definitely get the surveyor before I buy a property.
  8. Hi Donald, Good to hear from you. I'm happy that this topic was helpful for you too :-) I'm really thankful to all the contributors, I've learned so much on this forum! How are your new build BTLs doing, are you able to make any profit on them? I was ignoring new builds so far (especially in London) as I could never make my numbers work. That's a shame as one would hope they don't require maintenance for a long time. The mentorship program sounds interesting. What to expect from such a program? I will try to find out more about that. Would you be able to recommend any good tradesmen? I will contact Grimsby as well as it sounds like just a company I was looking for, though if there are any smaller jobs in my future BTLs would be good to know a smaller company/individual :-) Thank you so much for sharing your ideas and plans for next year!
  9. Hi Richard, Wow, I didn't even think about investing outside of the UK, only holiday lets locally eg Bournemouth. Perhaps holiday lets don't exist here due to the weather :-) Your project in Algarve does sound stressful! Glad you were able to sort it out. I'll take your advice and ignore holiday lets for now. I will try to educate myself regarding buy-to-sell in the near future. I doubt I will be able to get my hands on a total wreck for complete refurb as I imagine you cannot buy those kind of houses through estate agents and this is what I will do for now, buying at auction seems too much at the moment. Thanks for the link, I will try to calculate my 'Number' and think about how to get there :-)
  10. Hi Richard, Thank you for the link to your blog! So many strategies, I think I have the most knowledge (theory only so far) in the forced appreciation strategy. Playing with numbers is what I do at the moment to make sure I find a good deal :-) Thanks to all the help in this forum I can find out more about refurbishing houses and gain some confidence how to approach this. In terms of why I want to get involved in property investment, well I have a goal to achieve financial freedom in 5-7 years time. I would like to retire early and have income in the years before retirement. That would probably be a passive income, I would say I'm more interested in investing but not so much in becoming a hands-on landlord. I have some flexibility/time, but it is limited. The money is also limited, I have saved for the first deposit. Unless I buy a cheaper property and can split the money in 2, which I hope to do, moving away from London prices now. I'm not completely risk averse as all the best decisions in my life were risky (and stressful) but I believed that the outcome would be positive and somehow it always was. Hard work and determination was also involved, not just hoping for the best ;-) I want to find out more about buy to sell in the near future as well. I know people who made lots of money on this strategy, but they have done it in the time when properties were going up in value between 2012-2014. Interesting one is the holiday/short term rental which I am very curios about, but have not found any information yet. I don't understand how can you make money on holiday rentals, I assume people would rent it only in the summer months, what about the rest of the year? Thank you!
  11. Hello Kevin, Thank you for your help. Lots of great, valuable information! I will definitely join LNPG and contact the building company you recommended. The construction companies I know don't want to work outside of London which was making everything complicated. My worry with properties for refurb is that when I will go for a viewing I will not realize that perhaps the property has some serious faults. For example I may discover later that it needs massive structural repairs, new heating system, new plumbing, electric wiring etc. This is why I'm nervous about it, even though I know that done properly, this kind of project will allow me to recycle my deposit and build my portfolio faster. Is it advisable to hire a surveyor before committing to buying a property, to be sure about its true condition? Would that be enough to guarantee no surprises? Thank you again!
  12. Hello Richard, Thank you for your advice. I will probably start slowly and invest faster with more experience. Don't want to go too slow, but also don't want to get discouraged if the process will be too stressful. I will definitely need to recycle my deposit, but maybe I will have to wait a bit longer. I decided that I feel too nervous about going into a big refurb project for my first investment. Maybe the second one :- ) I will have to find out more about JV as I was not considering it at this stage, therefore I skipped this topic altogether in my learning process! At the moment I'm leaning towards a simple project and once I succeed and see that it is all possible for me in real life (not just on paper so far) then I will try the more complicated refurb projects, maybe partnership to make my money work harder :-) If you want to share your experiences with partnerships, JVs in more detail, it would be great to hear and learn more. Thanks!
  13. Hello acereferee, Thank you for sharing your experiences of buying properties. I agree that there is so much more that I will learn in practice. Finding one area for investment is definitely a good thing, I cannot understand (luck of experience!) how else it can be done, as it must take so much time and effort to source and renovate properties spread across the whole country. I think I will try to buy a property that requires a small refurb, and leave the bigger more complex projects for later. I'm impressed with the speed you're building your portfolio: 14 properties in 4 years! :-) How did you find the tradespeople in your area, was it also online or did you know some people before you started investing? I will try the websites you wrote about. I definitely have more and more confidence and cannot wait to buy my first BTL! I need to take a few field trips now to make sure the area is right and the demand is high. Theoretically it is, just have to see with my own eyes and talk to estate agents, hopefully they will be helpful. Thanks!
  14. Hello everyone, I'm getting closer to buying my first BTL property. I have done lots of research and read thepropertyhub blog, listened to podcasts. There is a lot of advice to buy a property with potential to add value (renovating, adding extensions), so that you can remortgage and get your deposit back. My question is, if I'm buying away from where I live and I don't have a lot of experience with refurbishing properties, is this still a good strategy? I would have to find a construction company, trust that they do the right job, won't charge me a fortune, the refurb will not take too long so I can let the property. Or should I buy a property that perhaps requires only cosmetic changes (new paint, new carpet etc) But then I would not be able to get my deposit back with remortgaging. Thank you for any advice! Ewa
  15. Hello Donald, Thank you again for all the advice. If you're enjoying talking about property that is great news, I’m all ears :-) If you could PM me about your experience of buying your first property in London, I would be really interested in learning all about it. Regarding buying up north, I’m getting more and more convinced. My worry is how to go about viewing properties which are far away from where I live. Not sure how other investors are doing that. As you said, never buy a property unseen. If I find a property on Right Move or Zoopla and think that it is an ok deal, I suppose I should book a viewing. But then I will have to travel there and perhaps find out that it is not the right property or even if it is ok and I make and offer then my offer might not be accepted. I will have to start the process all over again. It seems very time/money consuming. Also I might not be able to view the property quickly enough and not able to get the good deals. Perhaps there is another way of doing that, which I'm not aware of? Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone in the areas that seem to have reasonable yields. Thank you! E
  16. Hi Robert, Thank you for your advice and the link. All valuable insight! I do agree that lots of people invest away from home. I am considering this as well, though for my first property I feel more uncertain about investing in an unknown area. It’s not only getting to know the area but also finding a network of trustworthy people to work with for example a construction company if I wanted to refurbish the house I buy away from home, finding a trustworthy estate agent to manage the property, as I won’t be coming there often enough etc. It is all possible but seems so much more difficult, surely because I’m still inexperienced in this subject. I’m sure that after I got my first property and it would be successfully let I will overcome my fears and venture further out! Thank you, Ewa
  17. Hi Donald, Thank you for your advice. All this information helps a lot to clarify and evolve the way I think about investing. I’m sure I will need to embrace the strategy of adding value to force capital appreciation, so I can remortgage and get my deposit back to invest again. I don’t want to be in the position many beginner investors end up in, investing all the money in one BTL and not having any money for the next project. I think I will try to invest in London near where I live first as I know this area best and then try to go further north for the next project. I know I will have to get a relatively inexpensive property here so I can afford another property outside of London. I will start making offers soon, and see if it will be possible to get a good deal at all :-) You said that you're considering flipping. In terms of selling the property is it a good time now despite the slowdown in the market? Or perhaps with a good buying price and refurb you can get a reasonable return and sell quickly anyway? Thank you again!
  18. Hello Stuart, Great to hear from you :-) I have also read Rob’s books and started to listen to the podcasts. Thank you for the advice on the books, I will take a look as I have not read all of them yet :-) I recently bought Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T Kiyosaki as lots of people talked about it on property hub forum. Just started reading. Another good one I thought was The Complete Guide to Property Investing Success by Angela Bryant I’ve heard about Guildford and that lots of people started investing there, therefore it might be too late to get a good deal if you’re competing with so many investors? Similarly I’m also hesitating regarding the area, though I’m biased towards London. I’m planning to buy at the beginning of next year, so hopefully it will be more clear to me after I’ve done another few months of research. Perhaps the property prices will be more stable too. Please keep in touch, would be great to talk more! Good luck! Ewa
  19. Hi Donald, thanks so much for your message! I just read the discussion you recommended. I also think that the property prices in London are unlikely to go down. I remember that people were speculating about property crash 2 years ago and the market behaved the opposite way. If it slows down a bit then as you said this is a long term investment. The worry I have is that the yields are not great. Everyone is talking about gross yields around 6-7%. I have made calculations on several locations and at best I’ve seen 5% gross yields. Even if you go further out to Surrey it was 6% tops. I suppose the question is, if you buy a property with 4% yield with prospects of capital growth would that be a bad start for building a property portfolio? How is it going with your BTL investment in London so far? All the best, Ewa
  20. Hello everyone! My name is Ewa and I live in SW London. I always wanted to work for myself and achieve financial independence. I was considering various business opportunities when I finally set my mind on property. Just saved up for the deposit and planning to buy my first BTL beginning of next year. I’m a freelance web designer, but planning a full time career in property in 5 years time (that’s my goal :-)) I’ve read a few books about property, joined thepropertyhub and started listening to the podcasts, which are great source of information! I have not decided where to invest yet. I’m considering South West London. I realise that the yields are not very high here and everyone is saying that you cannot just count on capital growth. Therefore I’m hesitating with my choice of location for property investment. I’m looking forward to talking to other people who share the passion for property investment. Thank you! Ewa
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