The rush to invest in property is understandable. Take a recent headline from The Independent: ‘Buy-to-lets top investments, with returns of up to 1,400%’. It will have caught the eye of savers whose nest eggs may be languishing in cash accounts and ISAs, where the rate of interest is probably hovering around 1%.
Sandfords, a Central London letting agents, says that property performance has also stirred a new level of interest among older people, with over 55s now able to withdraw lump sums of cash from their pension pots. Evidence of this was found by financial firm Hargreaves Lansdown, who predicted 50,000 people approaching retirement age are planning to invest in property, bankrolled by the pension reforms.
Another report, this time by specialist lender Kensington, says around 53% of retirement savers say they would consider investing or are already investing in buy-to-let to increase their retirement income.
Many new property investors or established landlords looking to grow their portfolio are looking at the capital city in the wake of rental values. One Central London letting agent has estimated that annual growth for rental returns at March 2015 stood at 4% – the highest rate for more than three years. Property to rent in Central London is always in demand and, historically, the bricks and mortar value has appreciated well, creating a two-fold appeal.
Investment properties, however, do need managing and if neglected, the asset can underperform and depreciate. A good Property Manager is essential for those buying properties for sale in Central London for investment purposes. Andrew Ellinas, the Managing Director at Sandfords, says a professional Property Manager is essential in maintaining a property’s value and creating a healthy return: “Property Managers are many things – gatekeepers, investigators and, if you like, fund managers. They are there to oversee the whole process, from check in, mid-term inspections and property maintenance to legal obligations, rent collection and deposit recovery. Many landlords are sensible enough to employ a Property Manager at the start of every tenancy but we’re no stranger to helping investors who quickly find property management is more complex and time-consuming that they estimated.”
Ellinas points out that many new landlords will be surprised to learn how many processes, laws, legislations and rules there are surrounding lettings, and it’s this daunting prospect that can put people off property investment: “It’s there in black and white that property investment has made the highest returns of any major asset over the last 18 years (figures from Landbay) but new investors may be discouraged by the actual management of a let property. If it’s not done professionally, the consequences can be dire and the investment a costly waste.
Just recently figures show that tenant complaints to The Property Ombudsman – who mediates in deposit disputes between letting agents, landlords and tenants, were up 42%. We find at Sandfords professionally-managed rental properties have far fewer incidents relating to check out and deposit recovery due to good communication with tenants, regular property inspections, professional inventories and general overseeing presence of a lettings professional. In addition, agent-managed rentals are increasingly being requested by tenants as they know an industry professional is working full time to ensure the tenancy is safe and their concerns are listened to.”
— LandlordZONE® Press (@LandlordZONEPR) May 13, 2015