How about an instant reduction in your IHT bill – no seven year wait? This will particularly appeal to BTL landlords who have most of their cash tied up in a property portfolio. Some readers will have heard of Discounted Gift Trusts (DGT) wherein you invested your cash into an Investment Bond and this would... Read more
The post Don’t end up giving it away – Another IHT thought provoker appeared first on Property118.com.
Well my agent and I have been well and truly had. I’m a portfolio landlord and builder, and have just finished extensive renovation of a 2 bed terrace locally. Due to poor health I instructed a local agent friend to source me tenants and we chose very a plausible and presentable Polish working couple. They... Read more
I might have to sell my house because Newham council won’t let me let it to a group of professional sharers. It’s too expensive and large for most families (agents suggest 2k pcm) and Newham council have said they are not granting any more planning permission for change of use, which I have to have... Read more
The post Newham are not granting any further change of use permissions? appeared first on Property118.com.
The Property Redress Scheme, a firm currently acting as one of three approved redress bodies for the lettings sector, has been given the go-ahead to serve as an ombudsman-style scheme for sales agents as well.
“The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team in Powys has given us approval and will be making a formal announcement in the next day or so” explains Sean Hooker, who is the ombudsman working at the company. The NTSEAT declined to make any official comment when approached by Estate Agent Today.
Property Redress Scheme is operated by insurance company Hamilton Fraser, which also runs Mydeposits on behalf of the National Landlords Association.
Hooker says the PRS will operate the same two-tier fee structure for estate agents as it currently does for lettings agents starting with an ‘entry’ service at £95 per branch.
In the event of a complaint, the member agent will be given 10 working days to resolve the issue before Property Redress Scheme intervenes. But the PRS company will then charge the member agent a flat fee of £60 or £90 for the resulting investigation.
The second tier - called the ‘enhanced’ service - will be a £199 per branch flat fee, for which there would be no additional charges in the event of complaints.
The firm says it has the right “as a very last resort” to move a member agent from ‘enhanced’ back to ‘entry’ if there are too many complaints to handle for the flat fee.
The Property Ombudsman and Ombudsman Services are the two existing redress bodies for estate agents; now Property Redress Scheme is the third.
- Property Redress Scheme
- The Property Ombudsman
- National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team
The remains of Humberts, which de-merged from high-profile Chestertons earlier this year and sold its lettings operation to Hamptons International just two weeks ago, finally relaunches tomorrow.
Humberts now consists of only 24 branch offices in locations such as Honiton and Bridport.
Humberts’ 800-unit residential rental and management portfolio was sold to Hamptons for an undisclosed sum, while the solo Chestertons brand now operates 29 offices in the lucrative market within the M25 as well as 20 international offices around the world.
Humberts has 230 staff left in place and a new managing director, Ian Westerling. His predecessor - Stephen Kendall - held the position for a matter of weeks during the split from Chestertons, but still remains on the Humberts board.
Westerling says the new pastel-coloured branding, unveiled on the firm's website yesterday evening, “reflects our 172 year heritage.” A formal ceremony launching the rebrand takes place tomorrow at the CLA Game Fair.
Meanwhile Chestertons is itself on the market. The firm has hired advisers from Cavendish Corporate Finance to manage the disposal, with the firm believed to be valued at about £50m. Chestertons is majority-owned by the investment firm Mercantile Group.
- Hamptons International
Zoopla’s near-£1 billion float and the high-end agents who have created OnTheMarket may be just poor relations compared to the wealth tapped by a hard-to-access online private house sales service called Posh.
Operated by financial information service Bloomberg, Posh is a classified ads service for the super-rich. There are 12 sections, four of which are given to real estate - one section is dedicated solely to London property, with others dedicated to homes in Tokyo or New York.
It is hard to access because it requires users to have subscribed - at a reported $20,000 a year - to Bloomberg’s data services, which then gives consent to view the classified screens.
Presentation of the details of properties on sale is poor, with screen displays resembling the old Ceefax teletext pages instead of featuring hi-res images and floorplans.
But the contents are aimed at ultra high net worth users, almost exclusively working in the world’s major financial centres. And whisper it quietly, but any successful private sales will mean no commission will have been paid to agents.
Bloomberg will shortly be launched additional online classified services including Dine, Fly and Hotel.
- Online Marketing
Steve Smith, the entrepreneur who founded Poundland, says he now has 130 people ready to take local franchises of his EstatesDirect.com online agency.
Smith, who set up Poundland with a £50,000 loan before selling it over a decade later for £50m, is turning his existing local agency into a national company, using cash raised earlier this year via crowdfunding to finance the process.
Some £494,000 was raised in April, including one investment of over £200,000.
EstatesDirect first launched online in some parts of the UK in 2012 and has had mixed fortunes, letting and selling only 450 properties since that time, but now it aims to become a nationwide service with a fixed fee. It says it will “bridge the gap between online and high street agents.”
EstatesDirect operates with a website as its shop window but then has what it describes as “qualified regional agents” to value property, prepare details, and handle appointments, valuations and viewings.
“We know that homeowners and landlords still value the knowledge and service they receive from experts in the field” Smith says.
Smith says his service will be the UK’s largest single-branded estate agency network within five years.
- Online Agents
- Steve Smith
A lobby group claims London buyers could face a 36 per cent leap in stamp duty later this year if capital appreciation means the average price of a home in the capital tops the £500,001 mark.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance claims that, based on Office of National Statistics figures, the average house price in London will shortly enter the four per cent stamp duty category.
The capital’s prices have risen 20 per cent in the year to May according to the ONS, taking a typical home to £492,000. Even at that level, a buyer would have to fork out £14,760 in tax.
But the group claims that if prices rise just another 1.7 per cent to £500,364 the stamp duty bill, breaking the four per cent threshold, will rocket to £20,014, an increase of 36 per cent.
Property consultancy JLL claims that the Treasury will pocket an extra £85m in taxes over the next year if average-priced London properties rise to above the £500,001 level.
- housing market
- stamp duty
It just doesn’t stop. Each Friday we give a brief round-up of agents' charity work, and summer sunshine has only encouraged more of you, it seems.
We at EAT and LAT hugely admire the often-unsung work by agents who donate energy, time and money to charity. We want to shine a spotlight on this side of agency.
If you want to be mentioned, please let us know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Macmillan Cancer Support: For the past six months staff at Country Properties in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire have been busy raising over £13,000 for the charity. It will fund 481 hours of care by a Macmillan Nurse – allowing cancer patients to be pain free for this amount of time.
The main form of fundraising has been to donate £10 per sale/let board erected which has raised over £10,000 so far. Each board that goes up has a Macmillan sign attached so not only are Country Properties raising money but also raising vital awareness for the charity.
The Baldock and Royston offices recently took part in local events to raise money, the Stevenage office raised £1,100 by organising a quiz night, staff from Welwyn Garden City are driving an old banger to Monte Carlo. The Stotfold office is organising a fun day, the Ampthill office is staging a tug of war, and most other offices are hosting music events, curry nights and go karting events. Fantastic work!
Agents Giving: Reeds Rains has just completed a series of corporate roadshows across the UK for staff, each featuring a raffle competition which collectively raised £2,500 for Agents Giving.
Tickets were sold at each regional event, in Bexley, Ashton-Under-Lyne, Warrington and Harrogate, up and down the high-street, to local people, clients as well as the Reeds Rains agents. The raffle prizes were donated by local retailers and included champagne and luxury hampers as well as meals at local restaurants.
Peter Knight, chairman of Agents Giving, says “it’s such a simple idea, but effective – coupling your roadshow events with other activities, right at the heart of the community.”
The Friends of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment: Nick Goble of Winkworth in Battersea has asked us to publicise this fine charity, set up to raise funds and provide support for the soldiers of The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, one of the most decorated Infantry Regiments in the British Army.
Between the tidal window of July 19 and 27 a team of six swimmers and one on standby from the regiment - including both regular soldiers and reservists - will be swimming the English Channel to raise funds for the Friends and other local charities.
It’s not for the feint hearted, with intense cold and sometimes hourly tidal changes as well as over 600 commercial ship movements and 80 to 100 ferry crossings between Dover and Calais every day. This makes it one of the world’s hardest swims.
The goal is to raise £10,000 or more. If you wish to contribute, visit www.justgiving.com/teams/PWRR-Tiger-Sharks
- estate agents
- Estate Agent Today