What To Consider When Choosing Your Letting Agent

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The rental market is continuing to enjoy great success in the UK. As home ownership has become a more tenuous prospect for millennials and urban workers, landlords are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding tenants. However, this boom in the marketplace has been reflected by a surge in letting agents, all vying for your cash and claiming they know how to manage your portfolio best.

So, what should you look for when sniffing out the right lettings partner? Some factors should take priority in the search, which is why we’re clarifying a few key considerations:

Chartered surveyor status 

Many landlords are unaware of what a chartered surveyor does, never mind how they can be endemic to your peace of mind. Letting agents with RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) approval are part of a select group of qualified chartered surveyors, trained to protect your property and audited to ensure your funds are safe.

This is a blessing, because such experts can guide your pricing and help you get the best out of your investment. As one of the few letting agencies in Greater Manchester with RICS status, Summermere offers support with the state of your portfolio, seeing what deficiencies must be addressed and how much, honestly, your residency is worth.

Good local knowledge

Letting agencies come in multiple shapes and sizes. On one hand you have the large, nationwide branches that spread themselves thinly over a huge range of territories. Most can’t seriously claim to understand a particular area well, as their catch-all model is rolled out to disparate locations, prizing uniformity over a tailored property service.

Local agencies, meanwhile, operate within a single area – either a town or region. They’ve likely been working from the ground up in these areas since their inception, which means they have an intimate grasp of how the market fluctuates. In real terms, this means they can advise you on what demographics you should be targeting, what amenities are expected, and the rental price you’re likely to secure in the area.

An extensive service

Some letting agents do no more than display your ad on their website, with a pinch of physical marketing to complement it. The next stage up is a tenant handling provision, whereby the agency will show people around the property, review contracts, and perform background checks before pen is put to paper.

The third level, however, encompasses both of these roles, as well as property management, which will save you massive amounts of hassle should anything need repairing or resolving. Everything is catered for, from finding local contractors in the event of a plumbing issue to inspecting your property on a regular basis. Essentially, these services bear the brunt of your responsibilities for as long as you want them to.

Looking for a letting specialist that ticks all the boxes? Contact Summermere to see what makes us a trusted choice for properties in Prestwich; really, there’s no merit in settling for second best, when the market is this lucrative…

How To Prevent Burst Pipes In Cold Weather

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Landlords have to keep their eye roaming over the smallest facets of their property, lest an issue swells into something that’ll eat up time and cash. Since we’re still huddling against the bite of winter, you must be mindful of what havoc the cold can wreak on your pipework and drainage facilities.

Burst pipes are costly to repair, and can inflict serious water damage on carpets, walls and basic housing foundations. Here are some tips for ensuring there’s never a crack in your piping system as the freezing temperatures continue…

Employ pipe insulators

As cold air moves over your pipes, it’ll make them brittle, prone to cracks from the water exerting pressure inside. Special insulators can fit around them like a protective glove, slowing the freezing process down to a crawl. Although such a measure won’t completely prevent any damage, it’s a necessary investment that’ll cut the rate of mishaps down by a large margin.

Disconnect water hoses

Hoses allow stored water to build up and freeze, which’ll cross back through the spigot into your main piping network. Ask tenants to unscrew the hose from the wall before a cold spell hits. It’s best to leave it detached for the entirety of January, February and March until spring finally gets in gear.

Install a temperature recirculation valve

With a thermal convection, non-electric recirculation valve, your property can pass hot water through a piping network when it falls below a set temperature. This can prove invaluable if tenants go away for the weekend, giving you peace of mind that every pipe in the house will have continuous, circulated heat to prevent bursts and leaks.

Drain down the heating system

For empty periods, such as vacancies between lettings, it’s just as important to protect your property from the cold weather. Failing to do so could invalidate your insurance in the event of an emergency, which is why we recommend landlords drain their heating systems for prolonged stretches where their property remains vacant.

Seal air leaks around the pipes

In basements, crawl spaces and attic rooms, icy air can seep through without you quite realising it. If this kind of environment is housing your piping, then make sure to plug up any leaks or gaps in the surrounding structure. Not doing so allows that carefully-heated interior to lose its protective qualities. Caulk sealant will do just fine as a countermeasure.

These are just a few suggestions to help you maintain a robust set of pipes during winter. Yet you are never entirely safe from something going wrong, particularly if you have a large property portfolio. Partnering with Summermere gives you access to expert advice and support, all year round. Together, we’ll secure properties that are at risk from the colder climate, ensuring you and your tenants are protected.

Interested? Call us today, and we’ll be more than happy to discuss how we can help.




New Year’s Resolutions Every Landlord Should Set


We’ve awoken to the dawn of 2017, and what a sight it is! A new year brings new possibilities for your property portfolio and financial freedom. It also tends to put everything in perspective – what you’re good at, what needs improving, and how your landlord skills can be refined to their ultimate potential.

On all of those counts, the Summermere team has some top tips for your success this year. Try these resolutions on for size if you’re scrambling for a plan:

Tighten up your terms

Being a landlord, like any other business venture, rewards close financial oversight. You should expect due rent to come in on time – that’s the best way to meet your own payment obligations, and to keep your books in order as the year motors on.

Without antagonising future residents, let them know, no ifs or buts, that you require the entire rent on a certain date every month, and that they have to agree to this on paper. Our contracts are carefully drawn up with an arrears system that ensures you are never left out of pocket.

Value your investments

With your financial security wrapped up, you can accurately plan your investments for the year ahead. Money and time are finite resources, so it’s vital to consider the value of each investment.

This doesn’t mean scrimping on the basics; in fact, a quick fix now can cost you in the long run. Instead, channel your resources into the purchases and services that will benefit your property and tenants. Quality furnishings, for example, could justify higher rental prices, or attract good tenants to stick around for longer.

Maximise your marketing

The rental business is booming, but every landlord has stiff competition. Tenants want a great location, generous amenities, agreeable pricing and a friendly welcome into their new abode. Translating all of this into a property ad can take some doing, as well as the subsequent push for getting dozens of prospects to see it.

This is an area (of many, we might add) that Summermere can lift the pressure from. Our vibrant, warm marketing approach is ideal for giving your property the edge it deserves, with a large database of eager tenants to garner interest from.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Maintaining rental properties can be a headache. We’re no strangers to the constraints a landlord is faced with: purchasing furniture, repairing appliances and dealing with tenants are just some of the challenges you face.

This is the reason why we recommend a complete, outsourced property management service. Your team will be worth its weight in gold when it comes to taking the load off your shoulders, delivering fast, cost-effective and lasting solutions.

Stay in the loop

Bringing on a property management company does offer peace of mind, but only if you’re able to stay in close communication. A good lettings agent should take the initiative, walking you through every decision and giving you regular updates. Refrain from falling out of the loop, and your collaborative force will be strong and secure.

These are just some of the resolutions every landlord should consider, but there are several more, which you may not have thought of as the day-to-day demands of your role persist. However, we’re here to provide relief for you. Contact Summermere for a comprehensive, personalised service to kickstart 2017…