How To Beat Property To The Punch With Rightmove Alerts

rightmoveWhen searching for a place to live, keeping on top of the local property market can be a strain – especially when you’ve got work and family commitments to juggle. The best properties soon get snapped up if you aren’t quick off the mark.

Yet there’s an easy way to stay a step ahead of the game… Rightmove, one of the UK’s top property directories, can give you special alerts that tell you what’s available in your area, as soon as it’s posted.

In case you aren’t familiar with the alert system, here’s an introduction to what it is, and how to use it:

Why set up Rightmove alerts?

It’s difficult to argue with the speed and breadth of Rightmove’s information. While independent agents, like Summermere, will update our own sites with the latest listings on a regular basis, we know that Rightmove is the best place to find and be found when it comes to lettings.

As a tenant, it also doesn’t make sense to waste time scouring a dozen websites or waiting for agents to elbow their busy schedule aside to get in touch. By setting up Rightmove alerts, you’ll never miss a new listing that meets your criteria.

Save your search criteria

The Rightmove search bar sits on their homepage; it’ll ask you, initially, for the postcode or general area you’re looking within and whether the property is to buy or to rent. From there, you’ll be taken to a second list of options, including min/max price, number of bedrooms, whether it’s been listed now or anytime in the last 14 days, and preferred type (bungalow, apartment, etc.).

Fill them out with your preferences. After you click the ‘Find Properties’ button, you’ll be taken to every relevant offer that matches your selection. ‘Create Alert’ will be another button at the top of the sequence. When you hit it, you’re telling Rightmove that this is your perfect search template for renting a property in the chosen area. It’ll save your criteria and base notifications around them.

Set up a Rightmove account

At this stage, you’ll be asked how often alerts should be delivered. For ultimate speed and transparency, you’ll have to create a Rightmove account. It’s fairly straightforward: head to the Register page, enter your details, and choose a password. That’s your gateway into all the latest rental news, and ‘Instant Alerts’ will be available.

From now on, pre-qualified rental opportunities will jump to attention on your PC, tablet or laptop. You can follow the alert to the property that catches your eye. If anything changes – your money situation, say, or the desired locality – it’s a simple matter of fiddling with the search labels in your account settings.

You’ll find the latest Summermere properties on Rightmove; we’re advocates of the alert system, because it helps our future tenants find the place they’ve been eager to see, refusing to be anywhere else than the head of the queue.

By all means, see which rental homes in the North West are available on our website – but don’t count Rightmove out either. It’s a great resource to bring the best prospects to your attention.

Image: Rightmove

The Ins & Outs Of Guarantors

articleSecuring a brilliant tenant requires more than goodwill and a strong background check. On occasion, there’s likely to be need for a guarantor i.e. someone who can cover any damage, misuse and/or missed rent payments, should the tenant themselves incur costs they can’t afford.

This isn’t a cut-and-dry affair, however. It’s okay to be uncertain as to when a guarantor is required, and when they aren’t. So today, we’re going to break down the criteria for these agreements from a landlord’s perspective. It’s our crash course in guarantor etiquette: when it’s desirable, how to go about it, and where those lines overlap…

Who’s suitable for guarantor arrangements?

As a rule, you’ll want extra protection if one or more of the following is true of your tenant:

  • They are a student, or under 21
  • The rent is more than a third of their income
  • Credit checks have flagged up a low rating
  • They have only spent 6 months in their current property or position of employment

Anything outside of such guidelines is likely to be viewed with consternation by the tenant. Not asking for a guarantor puts faith in their independence and earning ability. Unless there’s a good reason to doubt someone, we suggest avoiding a guarantor scheme.

What the guarantor has to know

Certain yardsticks apply to the contact they put forward too. A guarantor is, ideally, a property owner. They must be able to cover the cost of structural issues, bills and cleaning charges that are the direct result of what the tenant has done, falling outside of their contracted stipulations of care for the home. Often, the guarantor is a relative – usually a parent – of the resident. But if they aren’t, greater scrutiny should be applied, gathering evidence to prove their eligibility.

Before they sign, the guarantor must read and agree to the tenancy contract. If they are covering a student, they may not be aware that they’re typically held responsible for all tenants – not just their own. Student housing stipulates that every guarantor in the house-share contributes to payment, if it’s needed. Make sure they know exactly what they’re getting into before signing.

Make it part of the contract

Details such as these are laid into the fabric of your tenancy agreement. Don’t bury it in the small-print; have a clear, separate sheet for the guarantor conditions, as well as a place for the parent/guardian to note their signature.

It might be best to draw up two forms of tenancy contracts – one that asks for a guarantor, and another that doesn’t. That way, you can apply them to various occupants throughout your portfolio. Detail the name of the property, the rent per month, space for their credit search acquiescence, and a box for the guarantor’s personal address and income stream.

It’s also wise to protect yourself against a dispute. Guarantors may think that, in the event of a payment request, you are being unreasonable. Laying out the specifics in the agreement will prevent legal battles. Photographic evidence of a ‘before’ and ‘after’ status of your furnishing, utilities or structure will support your request.

Summermere are always happy to advise on the guarantor debate. We let properties across the North West, and we’re used to helping landlord/tenant relationships get off to a great start. To find out more, contact us today; we’re serious about making these tricky elements of managing a portfolio much easier.


How To Make An Old Property Feel New Again


With so much attention falling on the UK rental market, there’s never been a better time to freshen up a property investment. Despite the focus on new developments, plenty of buyers seek older homes that tend to have more charm than their modern counterparts.

Yet neglected features aren’t going to cut it with today’s demographics. There’s too much competition to assume that things ‘as they are’ are going to welcome prospective tenants. When buying a house that has seen better days, it’s crucial to bring it up to good standards – otherwise you’ll have a wasted opportunity on your hands.

We’ve come up with several ideas for this refurb to glide smoothly into life:

Perform a paint job

Cracked, flaking paint is a sign of disuse. There’s little worse than stepping through a hallway and seeing a drab aesthetic greet us, tinged with crumbling inconsistencies. It’s well worth hiring a team of decorators – or doing the job yourself – for a new coat of paint. Use it as a chance to diversify colours tastefully; nice contrasts and complements can do a lot for the property’s visual appeal.

Replace guttering, shingles and windows

Every move made for stronger structural elements is going to boost the value of the home. With this in mind, you might turn to drainage systems such as the gutters on the roof, or the stability of current shingle materials. If any damage is present, strip the old features off and fix another set in their place. The same might be also be true of windows, but they can still be replaced for double or triple glazing if there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with the originals.

Fine-tune electrical/gas units

Conveniences aren’t built to last long without good maintenance. The boiler could be defunct. The electrics may be fickle or inoperable. Furthermore, pipelines can easily splinter with too much cold weather over the time the property has been empty. Check all of these factors when testing the home for occupation. If any fall short, redress them as soon as you can – and remember to cater for low-energy-waste guidelines.

Buy quality, modern furniture

Some of your tenants won’t want a furnished space, of course. Yet the majority do, and the power of your offer is enhanced with stylish, affordable pieces that nurture a personality throughout every room. Look for a furnishing partner who can offer value for money, as well as creative guidance. And it’s vital to clean the carpets (or re-carpet entirely) before anything is installed, just so the whole property feels and smells better.

With our tips at the forefront of your mind, that new rental investment can shrug off its old problems and become a fantastic portfolio addition. Summermere is then able to market it to the right people, with the right quality of care, to the North West market. Call us to see how we work with landlords across Prestwich, Bury and Manchester city centre.




An Outlook For Manchester’s Property Market In 2018

men manchester

The skyline of Manchester has changed considerably in the past 12 months. Buildings have been shooting up here, there and everywhere throughout 2017. A mere glance at the countless cranes parked around the city right now shows that the property market in the North West capital is booming.

But whilst we’ve seen a series of new developments take shape, we’ve reach the point in the calendar when it’s time to look forwards rather than reflect. 2018 promises to be another intriguing year for landlords and property owners in and around Greater Manchester, and here we take a closer look at what to expect.

The tech boom has led to rising property prices in Manchester

Manchester has been subject to a digital tech boom that may continue to resonate for some time, with the likes of MediaCityUK in Salford Quays attracting big businesses and creating more jobs. Many startups are thriving throughout the region too, with hundreds of people moving to Manchester to pursue new careers.

The city has established itself as a true “Northern Powerhouse” during the past 12 months, with more properties created to appease the growing population and increased demand for residence. This, in turn, has led to a sharp rise in property prices.

From 2018 to 2022, house prices in the UK are tipped to grow by as much as 14.2% overall. The predicted figures for the North West alone however, are 18.1%. Manchester is booming to the point where demands for property are spilling out into surrounding regions including Wilmslow, Alderley Edge, Knutsford, Prestwich and Hale.

International investment in “safe” UK property

Despite the sense of economic uncertainty spurred by Brexit talks and two Budget announcements in 2017, the UK property market will continue to attract plenty of attention from foreign investors throughout next year.

As the Northern Powerhouse, Manchester remains one of the main cities of focus for international investment. Overseas financiers recognise this market as safe, dependable and profitable – seizing the chance to purchase property before prices skyrocket through 2018 and beyond.

Ultimately, this is a terrific time to invest in property in Manchester and the North West overall – both from a rental and sales perspective.

Summermere: Supporting the Manchester property market in 2018

Greater Manchester is perhaps the hottest property market in the UK at the moment, and looks set to stay this way moving into 2018. Striking now gives you every chance to take advantage of some potentially lucrative opportunities.

Summermere provide management and lettings services for anyone looking to make investments in buildings in the area. Our team can assist you with anything you might need, offering support and advice along the way.

Get in touch today on 0161 798 6633 to learn more about how we can help you enjoy a fantastic 2018 as the Manchester property market moves into exciting new territory.



We’re with Key103 for Mission Christmas Cash For Kids

We’re pleased to announce that we are a drop off point for Key 103’s Mission Christmas Cash For Kids appeal again this year.

1 in 4 local children are living in poverty and the appeal aims to make their Christmas Day special for as many as possible this year. You could help by buying an extra present when you go shopping. Mission Christmas are asking for new and unwrapped gifts suitable for children and young people aged 0-18 years. You can drop your gift off at our offices as part of our role of designated drop off point before 13th December.

Our address is: 29 Bury New Rd, Prestwich, Manchester M25 9JY

You can find out more about the appeal here

Why Rental Property Is Still A Safe Bet For Investors

flats new

This was supposed to be the year where Britain could finally catch its breath following a decidedly turbulent 2016. But now, as we turn over the final pages of our calendars, we find ourselves in yet another frenetic climate.

Between the snap election, hung parliament and striking a Brexit deal, it’s been another dizzying 12 months in the UK – casting an ambiguous cloud over the property market. Naturally, you need a sense of security about your surroundings before you plug in the money pump. But contrary to what some might tell you, investing in property remains very much a sound investment. Here, we explain why:

Demand for property is far greater than supply

Economic experts are attempting to dissect current property trends to make accurate market predictions for the upcoming year, but there remains one statistic that trumps all others: There are more people than properties in the UK right now.

A whirlwind couple of years hasn’t changed the fact that people need homes. The demand for rental properties has actually never been higher, so making an investment today is less of a gamble than it is a calculated choice.

Foreign investment in UK property remains high

We’re still not quite sure what sort of deal we’ll get out of Brexit yet, but international organisations are still investing in UK property nonetheless. A weakened pound (as a result of the EU referendum) has only encouraged foreign companies to shack up over here, rather than deter them.

Foreign investment has boosted city economies with additional capital, creating new attractions and tempting people to the area. Manchester is a perfect example. More businesses mean more employees – and more tenants looking for a place to live.

Opportunity for great deals

There’s a good chance we could see more properties popping up on the market as the next few months tick by. Once Britain officially leaves the European Union, a sizable number of people will sell their properties and move elsewhere – leaving investors in a terrific position to secure excellent deals.

Buying property soon also gives you a chance to take advantage of low mortgage interest rates – which the Bank of England are likely to increase in the future. Investing in a property now, rather than waiting years for everything to “blow over”, could potentially save and gain you thousands of pounds’ worth of extra money.

Despite all the big changes over the past year, there are two things we remain absolutely sure of here at Summermere. Firstly, the property market is still a terrific place in which to invest. And secondly, we are still the best team to turn to for property management and letting agent services.

Thinking of investing in Manchester rental properties? Get in touch on 0161 798 6633 to partner with a team who will help you make the most of your new (or expanded) portfolio.


The Perils Of Bad Tenant Referencing

to let

We don’t swipe a product off the supermarket shelf unless we know what it is. Similarly, tenants are made up of many ingredients, and there’s no harm in checking someone’s background when they’re hunting for a home. It ensures you make the right pick before the contract is signed.

Some lettings agents, however, have less regard for this process than we do. Bad tenants can cause headaches and reduce your property’s appeal for future residents, so it’s important to be bold, thorough and questioning when it comes to referencing.  

Stay clear of the following perils, because a thorough reference covers them all, and ensures they aren’t a concern…

Rent dodging

How can we be reasonably certain that a tenant is going to pay up on time? Plenty of people try to skirt rent deadlines, or claim to have a better track record than they actually do.

Luckily, it’s easy to run a credit check, and see whether they’ve been late, consistently, for any bills. Red flags are quite instantaneous; we ask for the tenant’s permission to do this, so they’re staking truth on the claim to meet rent payments, deposits, or potential repair fees.

Aggressive, noisy or lazy behaviour

While we like to see the best in others, some people are just plain inconsiderate. Every landlord wants tenants who are courteous of their environment. By touching base with previous landlords or letting agents, we get a glimpse as to how they live once the ink has dried on any agreement.

Failing to do so can leave you exposed to a host of personality types. A lazy tenant who can’t ever be bothered to take the recycling out is one thing, but a bullish or rowdy occupant could be a real problem.

Insecure or deceptive employment

In the same vein as our first point, it’s crucial to be certain that someone will pay you at all – they could be fabricating employment history, just to get a literal foot in the door.

This can be dealt with by asking kindly for employer details stretching back two or three years. Summermere starts at the most recent, to get an up-to-date sense of their finances, before crossing over old jobs and paid work records. Then we’ll see if there’s a pattern. It also helps us decide whether they need a separate guarantor.

A mistaken identity…

Despite all of the above, there’s a single distinction left, and it’s the most valuable: is the person you’re assessing who they say they are? A reference should ask for a form of ID (passport, driving licence etc.), and proof of UK residency, such as a birth certificate or long-term visa.

If none of this is provided, your tenant may be breaking the law. In the interests of security, ID checks are a must, so you’re comfortable with every tenancy agreement.

Knowing what to look for is central to a full, no-stone-unturned series of ticks for any prospective resident. Summermere is here to help with the fact-checking you’ll be liable for. Get in touch now for a lettings agency that doesn’t pull its punches when seeking the tenants you deserve.

How To Properly Secure Your Property’s Exterior


As we know, tenants like to feel provided for, and to feel that you’ve done a stand-up job with the space on offer. But this isn’t just relevant to inside the home. You and your lettings agent should consider outdoor features too, which can make a tenant’s life easier, safer and more convenient.

There are many options to consider when approaching this challenge, from transport options, to social space, to recycling facilities. Yet there is one certainty – the fact that, without proper security, such investments could be stolen or damaged by harsh weather.

Here’s how to ensure that never happens…

Give tenants somewhere for bicycle storage

Cities and suburbs have a growing number of cyclists to cater for. As an alternative to tram, bus or car, it’s a breath of fresh air – but how will your tenants look after their bike if indoor storage is out of the question?

Bicycle hooks are a great idea, simply because they’re quick to attach and cheap to source. Alternatively, look into chrome racks that’ll resist rust and scratches over the years. Give each tenant a lock of their own, for starters, to ensure they keep their equipment safe. There’s bonus appeal in crafting a low-ceilinged hut over the storage area, to keep the bikes dry when it rains.

Create a haven for wheelie bins

Wheelie bins are subject to many hazards such as theft, arson and abuse from neighbouring households. They’re also prone to blowing over in high winds; enough reason, then, to safeguard your bin collection for current or future tenants.

Install or build a wheelie bin storage shed – there are many one, two or three-door units available from outdoor retailers. These are generally fitted with locks and bolted access, covering the bins on all sides when they’re packed away. In addition to being a locked deterrent, these sheds obscure your wheelie bins from view, so thieves don’t know where to look and the bins don’t become an eyesore.

Concrete your parasols in place

Parasols are a thoughtful addition to your outdoor space, adding to the appeal of your property and creating a focal point for socialising. Yet, while homeowners may want to take their parasol around as a freestanding item, we suggest grounding it on a floor space.

This isn’t as hard as it sounds. All you have to do is extract a few patio slabs (as many as the base diameter will take up), stick the cross-stand in the open area, and fill it with cement. When it dries, your premises will have a staunch, immoveable parasol that can’t be carried off or toppled on a whim.

Creating an attractive rental property means covering every base – even those outdoors – for a stunning, secure place to live. As a lettings agent and property management team, Summermere is perfectly placed to advise on what your portfolio may be lacking, and how you can boost its appeal.

Call us now to gain valuable insights on renting your property on the North West.

What The Millennial Market Wants From A Tenancy

group of friends meeting in the city center
Photo: Huffington Post

Whichever news website you happen to stumble upon, you’re almost guaranteed to discover some sort of discussion about millennials. A seemingly unpredictable generation, this demographic group have prompted great interest from sociologists and economists with regards to their behavioural and buying traits. Millennials are the first group of true digital natives, so it is perhaps unsurprising they receive so much attention. They’re leading the way and shaping the future, after all.

You can’t move for studies about millennial preferences on culture, fashion, and communication, but what about when it comes to property? This group accounts for more than a quarter of the total UK population (16 million +), so landlords can benefit enormously from taking the time to cater for their tastes. But what exactly are millennials looking for in a tenancy? Let’s take a look…

Contract flexibility

A job isn’t for life anymore: a trend that millennials have made abundantly clear. Young workers hop from one place to the next with intriguing regularity (at least, compared to the generation who came before them), so contract flexibility is important to many of these potential tenants. Their career path may veer off into an entirely new direction without warning, so a bit of wiggle-room in a tenancy agreement is preferred.

Strong transport links

The high and complex costs associated with car ownership mean that a large proportion of millennials opt to use public transport to get around, both when it comes to the work commute and visiting places in their spare time. Even those young adults who don’t take the bus, train, or tram regularly still like to have the option nearby if the weather is too wet to walk. Resultantly, any property that’s positioned close to excellent transport links holds massive appeal for a Generation Y tenant.

Affordable fun

Millennials love to go out and enjoy themselves, although a lot of them don’t necessarily have the funds to do so on a regular basis. That’s why a lot of Generation Y’ers are factoring their environment into their decision before they settle on a property. If the local area serves up affordable evening fun (cheap bars, quirky and inexpensive restaurants, a gym with reasonable rates) then the neighbouring properties are likely to appeal to this particular crowd.

Digital and appliance-friendly environment

Millennials don’t just like the internet – they are utterly dependent on it. That’s why signal strength is always a major factor for them when they pick a property. Many members of this group are also tech-savvy, possessing a number of digital machines and appliances that require electricity to charge and/or operate. Subsequently, a plentiful supply of sockets are also important to Gen Y tenants.

Natural light

People all over Britain cringe when they open up their energy bills at the breakfast table. Gen Y in particular. Given their adoration for technology, millennials are looking for every possible way to cut back electricity consumption. A house with lots of natural light, for instance, will tickle their fancy as they won’t need to switch on the lamps.

Get in touch with Summermere today for further guidance on how to make your property millennial-friendly. According to many, this demographic group are a maligned generation and consider themselves as much. By offering residences designed perfectly for Generation Y, you can start to attract a whole new cluster of appreciative tenants and gain a fresh foothold in the market.

5 Signs It’s High-Time To Switch Property Manager


Care and attention: qualities we all need, in some way or another. Landlords may require them to a finer degree, seeing as they have a portfolio to protect and nurture. A property management service, there to help with maintenance, repair work and tenant relations, must be counted on for however long you need it.


Yet, as you may know, it’s a genuine roll of the dice, since property managers can so often fall short. If any of these five signals appear, take it as a sign that it’s time to explore alternative suppliers:


  1. Never flagging up compliancy issues


Whether it’s the gas, circuit board or boiler system, no appliances work at their peak continuously. Industry compliance is designed to show, at face value, what’s meeting the bare standard for efficiency and safety measures. Property managers should be checking everything, and fixing or upgrading it when the time’s right. A slip-up on their part could be catastrophic for your business.


  1. Being lax with repair work


Say there’s a big problem: a shower leaking onto the ground floor, or broken stairs that have to be replaced. The solution needs to come as fast as it can, right? Of course – a property management service must know what to do in a matter of relative emergency. But if they drag their feet on repair work, or deliver a poor solution, the tenants will be confused, angry and on your back for an answer that isn’t forthcoming.


  1. Not keeping you informed


The buildings under your wing form some of the most precious, personal investments in the world. Property ‘experts’ have to recognise this, just to be worthy of the label. The stream of communication must be clear between the two of you. A call now and then (not just email!) will do wonders for your peace of mind.


  1. Inspections aren’t a priority


As a rule, we’d suggest that a management service performs a full-property look-over once a year, or every six months if possible. It’s there to satisfy any concerns you have about the property, furnishings, or tenants. For this reason, you’re well within your rights to expect regular inspections as part and parcel of the property management remit.


  1. Costs are eclipsing the benefits


Reputable companies may price themselves at a higher rate, assured of their status in the market. But this is nothing without true, lasting demonstration of the value they deliver. Can your property manager break down your monthly fee into tangible services and benefits? Do you feel you’re getting value for money? If not, it might be time to shop around…


So as the klaxons of bad property management appear, you have to be honest: are they really delivering the service you need? For a strong, capable and consistent alternative, get in touch with Summermere today. We’d love to discuss what makes us different.