This month we caught up with Ian Taylor, Lettings Manager at Reeds Rains City Living, to talk landlord tactics and the future of buy-to-let.
Tell us a little bit about Reeds Rains City Living and your approach as a sales and letting agency?
We opened our city centre office four years ago to give a different, city-centric service to our clients, making us stand out from other agents in the city. We built a team who were experienced in city centre property and dealing with the demands and needs of the clients. Liverpool is such a fast paced city, where people are coming, going and moving around all the time, that we needed a team who would give service to reflect that. We have grown in four years to 11 staff.
How does Reeds Rains City Living help new landlords get to grips with the buy-to-let property market?
We look after our new landlords from start to finish. The journey can start from long before the landlord even owns a property to let! We can source a suitable rental property, offer financial advice and arrange a mortgage and insurance. We can then market the property, conduct viewings, find and vet suitable tenants, move the tenant in, collect the rent and manage the property for the whole length of the tenancy if so required. We strive for our clients to be with us for the life of their ownership of their property and if they can, build up a portfolio.
What key piece of advice would you give landlords with a growing property portfolio?
Never follow the trends or your heart, get specialist advice from the people on the ground who are going to source your tenants. It is pointless buying a beautiful house or flat if your agent doesn’t have a market for it. If you are looking to build a portfolio, diversify your purchases, make sure there is a mix of property in there that targets several markets, just in case of any downturn. Another tip would be to seriously consider rent protection insurance. Unfortunately bad luck or hard times can unpredictably strike even the best of tenants, but if you are suitably protected, their misfortune doesn’t need to be yours too.
Liverpool council agreed last week to look at ways to tax student landlords for households which don’t contribute council tax, what impact might this have on the city’s student property market?
I think it will inevitably see operators of the bigger student halls have to put their rents up to cover the extra costs. I have seen people say rents won’t rise, but sadly letting property is a business and like any business, if costs go up, then they have to be covered and I can see this being passed onto the tenants.
Liverpool is renowned for its eclectic mix of modern and historical properties, how do you think this impacts on investor interest?
People are naturally attracted to Liverpool because of the history and the culture, also historically the prices in the area have been relatively low compared to the rest of the country, so the city has been popular in terms of people buying.
Have you spotted any up and coming buy-to-let hot spots across Merseyside?
The city centre provides really good hands off investments in the apartment market, there are no outside spaces that can cause extra headaches if you own a house in the winter, such as fences being damaged in winter. We are very fortunate that most of the city is a hot spot! As long as you price your property right and prepare it in the right way, you will let.
It’s been a tumultuous year for landlords with stamp duty hikes and the loss of mortgage interest relief on buy-to-let properties, what do you think the next year has in store for the residential lettings market?
Rents are still rising in most areas, as long as the property is in good condition. Mortgage rates are still at an all time low, so although there are challenges in the market place right now, there is still money to made.
Reeds Rains City Living will be exhibiting at the Merseyside Landlord and Property. For more information and your free ticket download visit www.merseysidelandlordsexpo.com/download-tickets/.