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Surviving homesickness at university

Moving to university is a nerve racking time for anyone, whether you are moving 30 minutes or 300 miles away. There are lots of worries throughout the process such as securing accommodation, what to take with you, and how best to get there.

One of the hardest parts of moving away from home is dealing with homesickness. The end of Freshers Week may have burst your bubble and made you realise how much you are missing loved ones.

It’s normal to feel homesick, however do not to dwell on those negative feelings. We understand, there’s no better feeling than having all of your cooking and washing done for you but university is perhaps one of the most exciting times of anyones life – so enjoy it!

Make sure you stay positive, there are lots of things to enjoy at university like making new friends and becoming independent. Remember feeling this way will not last forever and neither will university.

It’s important that if you’re missing home you don’t sit in your room alone – not only will that make you feel even worse but you will struggle to make friends with your flatmates. Whether you’re in university accommodation or private student accommodation making an effort to socialise in the communal rooms will make you feel better.

Establishing a routine will also help to take your mind off things. Allocating time to go and explore your new location and picking out your favourite spots, will make your university town feel a little more homely and will ease any sad feelings you have. Take new friends with you to explore too – don’t spend too much time alone.

Taking a few items such as pictures and trinkets that remind you home will help to make your new room more comfortable.

Don’t keep things bottled up! Talking about it will make you feel better and stories about things you and your friends at home have done will help new friends get to know you a little better.

Finally – keep in touch with friends and family, be careful not to over do it though! Ringing your parents should be something to look forward to, not 30 minutes of you sobbing down the phone because you miss your pet rabbit.

If you are thinking about moving into private student accommodation Mistoria provide high quality properties in prime university locations. With the added benefit of all inclusive bills, a home with us could even help with your budgeting.

For more information on our lettings drop us an email at info@mistorialettings.com or call us on 0161 707 6106.

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Stay safe in your new Salford student accommodation – tips from GMP

GMP-logoAs we begin a new term and move to university, it’s important to stay safe.

We know it’s easy to get caught up in the excitment of Freshers Week, whether you’re a new student or not, but there are some practical things you need to think about during your time at university whilst still enjoying yourself.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP), have set up a Student Survival Guide on their website and have been distributing advice through social media channels.  Everything from safety on campus to looking after your personal property and the safe use of public transport and cash machines is covered.  A lot of it is common sense but sometimes we all need a friendly reminder.  Moving to and living in a new city can be overwhelming but by equipping yourself with these safety tips will help keep you safe during your time at university.

GMP cover Salford, where we have lots of student accommodation.  So we’re urging our new and returning Salford University student tenants to familiarise themselves with these tips to ensure you stay safe in your new Salford student accommodation.  In fact, much of the advice can be applied to all cities and univerities, so even if you’re a student in Liverpool, Preston or Newcastle you should take a look too.

The website advice even details designated ‘Student Safe Zones’ which are littered throughout popular student areas of Manchester and Salford where you can go if you are being followed, feeling vulnerable or unwell.

A lot of the tips have been turned into short videos, like the one below, to make following the advice a little simpler.

If you have any questions relating to student safety, particularly in your Salford student accommodation, please get in touch with one of our lettings team.  We want you to enjoy your time in your student home and will be happy to help you where we can.  Call us on 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoriaestateagents.co.uk.

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PRESS ARTICLE: What do students want from private rental accommodation?

property_reporter_logoA new report has unveiled what students most desire from their private rental accommodation.

According to The Mistoria Group, leading investment specialists in student property, top of the ‘want’ list is a quality white goods (83%), superfast broadband (75%), security (55%), approval to keep a pet (25%) and a large plasma TV (16%).  Hitting rock bottom are luxuries like a hot tub (1%) and garden terrace (1%). The most common downfall of student digs was cited as poor quality build of the property and furniture, followed by poor internet connection.

The research also shows that the majority of students (91%) would most like to live in shared accommodation and just 9% opted for a private, self-contained flat.  When asked what household bills concern them most, gas and electric came top (94%), followed by food (83%), telephone and broadband (50%) and contents insurance (16%).

Mish Liyanage,  Managing Director of The Mistoria Group explains, this sends a clear message to landlords and investors:

“We know that the most important considerations for students when choosing rental accommodation is price, space and location.  This research gives us an insight into what students most desire from their property and it show us that the vast majority of want to live in high quality, shared accommodation, with good internet access and affordable bills.

If landlords and investors provide the right type of property, they will be able to attract lucrative students.  Recent research* shows that 69% of landlords and letting agents prefer to let to students and 84% agree that students make good tenants.  The popularity of students is  down to better rental yields (76.5%), an annual market for new students (53.7%), rent is guaranteed by a parent/guardian (45.6%) and rent is paid promptly (25%).

Student accommodation can offer a number of attractive features to investors: yields are high as students settle for less space than other tenants; occupancy is typically high; and it is neatly counter-cyclical, as more people go to university during economic downturns.

A Mistoria HMO offers between 8%-10% cash return on the rental income% PA return of investment from day one (this is not a projection).  PBSA yields are traditionally guaranteed by the developer for the first 5 years (although the actual annual return from day one is less) to ensure that by year six, the investment will potentially produce 9%.  This is subject to current market trends of an annual rent increase of 3% remaining.

Student housing is increasingly a global asset class. Over the last two years, there has been a huge surge in student housing investment activity Investment in student accommodation is certainly big business in the UK right now. There was £5 billion worth of standing stock and development sites sold in 2012 and 2013, and the early signs for 2014 suggest that we are likely to see high levels of investment activity this year. In the first four months of the year, there have been transactions worth £950 million and this equates to over 17,000 beds.”

Investors who are thinking of buying student property should conduct thorough research before making a purchase.

Mistoria has put together some tips on investing in student property:

•HMO versus student pods: Think carefully about the property you want to buy eg HMO or a student pod.  Most student pods are sold ‘off plan’ – which means before they are complete and in many cases before construction has even started – and come fully managed. This means you could expose yourself to risk on two fronts –  ‘development risk’ and ‘management risk’. For example, the development may not be finished, or the developer may not have the skill or experience to manage the development and if they do, how much will they charge for their services?

•Mortgages: If you need to secure a mortgage to purchase a student property, this will be a lot easier for a HMO, as you will be able to go through traditional buy-to-let providers and will have access to the leading buy-to-let rates. Also, if you are building a portfolio, you can lend on your equity in the HMO to fund further investments. With student pods, there is no established resale market, so it is much more difficult to secure a mortgage.

•Rent guarantees: Beware of ‘rental guarantees’ offered by developers. This can often be an overstatement.  The guaranteed rents are attractive to investors, but often they fail to materialise. Investors are actually subsidising the guaranteed rent by paying an inflated price for the unit they secure. There have been a number of student pod schemes that have stopped paying out the guaranteed rents soon after completion and investors have then discovered that the real market rate for the rents is much lower, reducing their yield.  They have been left with an underperforming asset, that is difficult if not impossible to sell at an acceptable asking price to the investor.

•The exit strategy: With a normal buy-to-let, you can sell the property at any time on the open market, through a reputable estate agent and expect a reasonable capital appreciation. However, selling a student pod will encounter problems.  For example, who decides the market value? As a piece of real estate per sqm it is very expensive (double the average market value), there is no established resale market. Who will sell it? Is it an investment, or is it a piece of real estate?

This article first appeared in Property Reporter on 16th September 2014

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Tips for Fresher’s Week and living in student accommodation

With Fresher’s Week on the horizon there isn’t much time left to prepare for university. If you’re feeling apprehensive about what to take with you and how you’re going to survive the first few days and weeks living in student accommodation, you may find these tips helpful:

1. Follow your university and student union on social media – they will post useful information and Fresher’s events to keep you in the loop.

2. Explore the area; it’s important that you get to know the place you’ll be calling home for the next 3 or 4 years. Having a good knowledge of the best bars and places to eat will also help you make friends.

3. Find a part time job. The extra cash will be helpful and it’s something for you to do outside your studies. If you can make this related to your field of study and gain some valuable experience along the way, even better.

4. Set a budget. For many students university is the first time they have control over their own finances. Do your research on how much money you think you’ll spend each week and try and stick to a realistic budget.

5. Make sure you socialise. When you move into your house speak to everyone, there’s no need to be shy or worried because everyone is in the same boat. Just be yourself and you’ll make friends easily.

6. Try not to go home for the first few weeks of university, it will help you bond with people – there’s always Skype or Facetime if you’re missing family and friends at home.

7. Don’t take the whole contents of your room – you don’t need that much stuff at university just take essentials and some homely items like cushions, throws and pictures to make your room feel more comfortable.

8. Ask your housemates if they want to cook together. It often turns out to be the cheaper option and it will bring you all closer.

9. Always do your washing up! Nothing annoys housemates more than people who don’t pull their weight. At the same time don’t offer to do other people’s all the time otherwise you’ll end up being resident dishwasher.

10. And finally, if you turn up with a bottle of wine and a packet of biscuits everyone will want to be friends with you!

Hopefully these tips will make the move to university a little easier. The main thing is to enjoy yourself and try to get the most out of the experience. University doesn’t last forever!

If you are still looking for student accommodation for the 2014/15 academic year use our search tool to find the perfect property for you. Call us on 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoriaestateagents.co.uk with any questions.

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PRESS ARTICLE: Not grim up north: it’s where best student property rental yields are for UK landlords

wise-moves-logoEngland’s northern regions offer the best returns for buy-to-let landlords, with central London the least profitable place in the UK to rent out a property, claims new research.

The Buy to Let brand of Lloyds Banking Group, BM Solutions, has brought out a quarterly index suggesting investors looking for optimum rental yields should consider the north (both the north west and the north east) and the West Midlands, where typical yields are around 6.4%.

Next most profitable UK property hotspots for buy-to-let landlords are Wales, the East Midlands, Scotland the South West.

Calculations were made based on rent received against typical values of flats and houses to generate a yield figure for 12 regions across the UK. (These gross yields do not take into account mortgages and other expenses, and is based on surveys of genuine landlord portfolios.)

Inner London offered the lowest yield at 5.5%. This is down to price rises in and around the city, which have outstripped rent rises, and so led to lower returns.

The Mistoria Group, which specialises in student property investments, says some of the interest in northern areas is down to the BBC move to Salford. There, and in Liverpool, house prices have soared more quickly than anywhere else in the UK since the beginning of the year.

Managing Director at the organisation, Mish Liyanage, says: “The North West in particular presents a range of properties at affordable prices that offer net returns of up to 10%.

“For example, a furnished, fully refurbished HMO student property near a uni campus can cost less than £150,000 and give a net annual return of 9%. Investors wanting the top yields should forget London and the south east and head north.”

It’s about buying the right property through the right agent – and about your money working for you rather than the other way round.

The BM Solutions survey is backed up by findings from property group Knight Frank, which came to similar conclusions.

This article first appeared on wise-moves.co.uk on 12th September 2014

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PRESS ARTICLE: UK landlords will find best rental yields in northern regions, it is claimed

student let property

The North of England offers the best buy to let returns for landlords in the UK with central London at the bottom, according to new research.
Investors looking for top buy to let yields are better off buying property in the North West, North East and the West Midlands where average rental yields are 6.4%, says the quarterly index from BM Solutions.

Landlords can also expect 6% in Wales, followed by 6.3% in the East Midlands, 6.2% in Scotland and 6% in the South West. The index also shows that average yields are 5.9% in the South East and outer London. In the East of England and Yorkshire and Humber it is 5.7% and central London is bottom at 5.5%.

According to The Mistoria Group, leading investment specialists in student property, the BBC’s move to Salford has created a lot of interest in northern areas of the country. Property values in Salford and Liverpool have risen faster than in any other town in Britain since the start of 2014.

‘The North West offers buy to let landlords a multitude of affordable properties that will give net returns of up to 10%. For example, an investor can buy a HMO student let property close to a university that has been fully refurbished and furnished, and that is already tenanted for the coming year, for less than £150,000. This will give investors annual net returns of 9%,’ said Mish Liyanage, managing director of The Mistoria Group.

‘By choosing the right property and the right agent, investors can sit back and after years of working for their money, can finally see their money working for them. So if investors want top yields, they should avoid London and head north,’ Liyanage added.

Retiree, Joy Townley from Calne, Wiltshire, recently bought two investment properties in Salford through The Mistoria Group. ‘I decided that property was the right choice for me because of the current low interest rates and I wanted a better return on my capital,’ she said.

‘I live in the South West of England where property is extremely expensive. Buying investment property in this part of the country was out of the question and the North West is a growing market. The numbers just added up and I am enjoying s consistent income stream. I’ll be keeping hold of the properties for the long term,’ she explained.

This article first appeared on Overseas Real Estate on 5th September 2014

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Last minute student accommodation

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With 145,730 students eligible for clearing last year many young people are predicted to be in the same position this year. A reduced amount of time to organise accommodation often leads to students panicking over where they are going to live during term time.

Due to such high entry numbers some universities do not account for clearing students when allocating student accommodation. Students have to widen their search and look at different living options, and so private accommodation is becoming increasingly popular amongst young people.

Offering a shared living environment just like university halls, private accommodation offers high quality living space with an often lower price tag. At Mistoria Estate Agents we specialise in private student accommodation and often provide clearing students with last minute solutions.

A common worry of clearing students is that they don’t want to be ‘left out’ of the university action by living in private accommodation. All of our properties are located in close proximity to universities and our houses are made up of students creating a similar environment to university halls.

Most of our properties offer benefits such as all inclusive rent, double beds and large communal living spaces for housemates, allowing for a close knit group of friends to relax together.

With rooms still available for 2014/2015 booking Mistoria Estate Agents have properties in prime locations around the major universities in the North of England. If you are a student looking for last minute accommodation but do not want to scrimp on quality Mistoria will have something to meet your needs.

Just use the search tool on our website to find the perfect student accommodation for 2014/2015.