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Buy-to-let explained: How to become a landlord

liverpool estate agents

Those looking for ways to break into property investment have likely come across the term ‘buy-to-let’.

A buy-to-let mortgage offers a great opportunity for prospective landlords and a route for them to get a foot on the property ladder.

A mortgage is not an agreement that many take lightly, and naturally there will be a lot of questions before undertaking one.

Here we explain what a buy-to-let mortgage is and what you can get out of one when looking for buy-to-let properties in Liverpool.

What is a buy-to-let mortgage?

Like a standard homebuyer’s mortgage, a buy-to-let mortgage involves a lender helping you to purchase a property, subject to rather stringent checks and requirements, with a sum that you pay back.

However, there is some choice in how you repay your borrowing that you don’t normally get in a standard mortgage, and the means of securing a buy-to-let are slightly different.

The amount your lender will offer you depends on the projected rental income from the property in question, and you’ll need a higher deposit than for a standard mortgage.

Many buy-to-let mortgages need at least a 25 per cent deposit to get started, and some demand as high as 40 per cent.

Buy-to-let mortgages can be fixed rate or variable, like standard mortgages.

Fixed-rate mortgages keep interest out of the equation for the agreed term and your repayments will stay the same. Variable-rate mortgages can take advantage of low interest rates but similarly fall victim to higher ones, so repayment amounts can fluctuate over time.

What does interest-only mortgage mean?

Many buy-to-let mortgages are interest-only, meaning you don’t pay back the actual amount borrowed like in a normal mortgage. Instead, you pay back the interest accrued on the mortgage each month until the end of your term.

At the end of the mortgage term, you’ll owe the full amount originally borrowed. You’ll also still need to pay interest on this full amount until it’s repaid.

Interest-only mortgages can be an attractive idea as they’re more affordable than repaying your borrowed amount, and many investors plan to sell the property off at the end of the mortgage to pay off the borrowed sum.

However, there is an element of risk in that the value of your property could drop during the term of the mortgage. Selling the property at a loss after borrowing on a higher amount means an overall loss as you will still need to pay back the original amount lent to you.

What is a repayment buy-to-let mortgage?

A repayment structure is closer to what you’ll likely recognise on a mortgage, wherein you pay back the borrowed amount plus interest in instalments. This means higher repayments each month, especially considering the higher interest rates on buy-to-let mortgages in general, but it also means that you’ve repaid your borrowing at the end of your term.

This may be a better choice for investors who have more capital available and want to own their property long-term, though repayment buy-to-let mortgages are less common than the interest-only kind.

Where can I get a buy-to-let mortgage?

Many of the same lenders that offer standard mortgages for homebuyers will also offer buy-to-let mortgages. These will come with the lender’s own specific set of requirements and terms, as with any other mortgage.

Some lenders will want more detail about your financial circumstances than is normal for a standard mortgage. Due to the aforementioned risk of a property dropping in value during the interest-only payment term, lenders may want to know what your plan is if the sale value of the property becomes insufficient to cover the original sum borrowed.

When would you want a buy-to-let mortgage?

There are a number of reasons why someone might take out a buy-to-let mortgage for a property, including:

  • Wanting to move into property investment with a structured, organised way of borrowing
  • You don’t have a massive amount of upfront capital but you have reliable income streams to afford monthly repayments
  • You want a property that you aren’t specifically relying on a resell to afford
  • You want an investment that effectively pays for itself (at least in part)

Additionally, some of the costs of running your rental property can be offset against tax when the time comes to fill out your self-assessment tax returns.

When do you become a landlord?

As soon as you own a property to let, whether it’s an outright purchase or through a buy-to-let mortgage, you’re a landlord.

Unfortunately, you’re still the landlord of a property even if there’s nobody in it. As such, you need to repay your mortgage even if there’s no rental income to speak of. This means having a reliable fallback for harder times, whether that’s paying out of your own savings or using the income from another property to cover it until you can find new tenants.

Becoming a landlord means a host of other financial responsibilities such as paying a three per cent Stamp Duty surcharge, maintaining the property with services and safety checks, and paying for repairs when things go wrong. This might mean emergency callout fees if essential facilities should break at the worst time, so simply covering mortgage repayments won’t be enough to effectively manage your investment.

Circumstances can change quickly between tenants, the housing market, and the overall health of the financial sector, but sound planning with the right knowledge and advice can help navigate many of these issues before they should ever occur.

Property investment with Mistoria Estate Agents Liverpool

We know where landlords go wrong and we can help you avoid costly mistakes. Whether you’re looking for buy-to-let properties in Liverpool or simply to get some advice on buy-to-let mortgages, our team can give you all the answers you need to take your first steps towards becoming a landlord.

To ask us for advice or get more information on our services, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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Managing HMOs for landlords

Managing HMOs for landlords

HMOs – or houses in multiple occupation – can be fantastic investments when managed wisely.

They can demand many times the attention of a typical rented property, and for that reason it’s not uncommon for landlords to seek help managing them.

But what actually goes into the management of an HMO, and why might a landlord want to seek this help rather than simply doing it themselves?

What is HMO management?

HMO management is, quite simply, the management of an HMO property. In the context of HMO management as a service, this is done on behalf of a landlord to save the time and attention they would otherwise need to dedicate to the HMO and its tenants.

This can sound like an impersonal or dismissive stance on the surface, but HMO management is often a wise and well-placed decision for a landlord to take. Landlords who have many other properties to manage, or other demands such as a full-time job, often cannot dedicate the appropriate time to an HMO.

Since an HMO is partly defined by the presence of at least three occupants who aren’t from the same household, any HMO property is going to involve a minimum of three separate tenancy agreements. That is in addition to managing the tenants themselves – for example, their needs as residents and the necessary admin – and the all the usual business of letting a property responsibly such as organising gas safety checks and ensuring good maintenance.

HMOs can be seen as a greater fire risk than standard residential properties, meaning there will be more cost to sink into safety measures like smoke alarms, fire safety doors (for the increased number of rooms), and other equipment like fire extinguishers.

HMO management can also involve needing to manage disputes within the HMO itself if problems arise between tenants. This can be common for any group of people sharing a living space, so landlords may find their skills in diplomacy and mediation being tested in situations that don’t have clear answers or resolutions.

More tenants mean greater use of facilities, which can lead to more frequent and costly maintenance of appliances, communal areas, and gardens. While there is some responsibility on tenants to keep the property clean and in good condition, that ultimately extends only as far as their agreement states, and in situations where every tenant leaves at once – such as may be the case in student HMOs – this leaves you, the landlord, with the task of tidying up in their wake.

HMO management is undoubtedly much more complex than standard property management due to the number of involved parties. Dealing with multiple tenants within a single property means many more opportunities for challenges and complications to arise, which can quickly tax a landlord’s energy when they compete with other demands for time and attention.

Do estate agents manage HMOs?

Yes. Estate agents are a great option for landlords who need help managing their HMO properties. In fact, estate agents can lend their services from the very first day, sourcing tenants and dealing with the necessary referencing to get an HMO filled as smoothly as possible.

Once tenanted, estate agents can provide ongoing HMO management to ensure that resident queries are answered and dealt with promptly. This can be vital in the case of emergency situations like boiler failure or serious property damage that needs fast repair. In such cases, a quick conversation between landlord and agent can set up the resolution and lead to fast action.

Left solely in a landlord’s hands, this would leave one person to ascertain the issue, seek out tradesperson quotes, and book the work for as fast as possible. Estate agents have the advantage of working closely with local traders like plumbers and builders, forming strong and reliable working relationships that mean situations are resolved quickly.

Estate agents can also provide landlords with advice to build their experience and fill in knowledge gaps. This means that while property investors have their burdens lightened with active help in the management, they are also building a strong base of knowledge and experience to help them make future investments wisely.

For those unsure if property management for an HMO would be a good choice, it’s always best to open a dialogue with a local estate agent and talk to them about their services. Find out what they already manage and what their chosen approach to property management entails.

HMO Property Management in Liverpool

The property market in Liverpool is more competitive than it’s ever been. Mistoria Estate Agents’ Liverpool team can help manage the demand of sourcing the right tenants for your student property, carrying out the necessary referencing, and ensuring that every last detail is compliant and to the very best standards.

As a cultural hotspot and a Northern Powerhouse city for the UK, Liverpool faces high rental demands that make student HMOs a truly worthwhile investment – with the right management behind them. HMO properties need more attention than others, but their returns are far greater in exchange.

Our services provide peace of mind to landlords, freeing up your time and focus for other demands. As members of the National Landlords Association (NLA) and under regulation by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), you can rest assured that your HMO is left in safe hands.

To find out more about HMO management with Mistoria Estate Agents Liverpool, call us on 0151 317 5383 today or fill our online contact form.

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How do I find the best private off-campus student housing?

Student houses for rent

Sourcing student housing can be a stressful endeavour when it’s time to find off campus accommodation. Though the positives of living in private housing as a student can make it an attractive prospect over living on campus, the third party nature of the arrangement means there is a lot more responsibility on you and your housemates’ shoulders. What’s the best way to approach private student housing, and how do you get the ball rolling? 

How can a student find a house in Liverpool? 

There are a lot of ways to approach house hunting as a student. Same as many goods and services in the modern age, the internet is a good vehicle for finding what you need. When it comes to finding off campus accommodation, though, the more traditional methods cannot be discounted.

If you do opt to search online, property sites like Rightmove have special search provision to help you find student accommodation without needing to filter them out of general rental properties. This can be useful for fetching a wide range of properties to brows, but be mindful that if you’re new to the game of looking for rental properties, choice paralysis is a real risk when presented with too many options at once. 

Property aggregate sites do often allow for filtering and sorting of results so that you can focus on properties within a price range, of a certain type, or with a specific number of rooms. However, in highly populated student cities like Liverpool, this can still yield hundreds of results that are hard to pick apart, especially for beginners. 

Another possible route to finding student housing is through classified ads or social media posts from landlords who have a property to advertise, but these should always be approached with caution. Some deals really are too good to be true, and desperation from a late-planned house hunt could lead you to sign on to something subpar or overly expensive.

Looking for private listings can be tempting since renting directly from a landlord can often mean fewer admin fees and the landlord has more freedom to waive certain costs or bundle rent and bills together into one monthly payment amount. 

However, operating in this way is what enables rogue landlords to flout the laws and regulations that ensure hiring through estate agents is more secure, more transparent, and more accountable in the event of a miscommunication or dispute. There is also more protection of money exchanging hands, and the protection status of payments like holding deposits can get messy if the landlord decides to go back on their word or misinterpret an agreement between you and them.

Finding a house in Liverpool can be made much easier and much quicker when put in the hands of experienced estate agents. This can be true for a range of reasons, including:

Local knowledge

Many estate agents will hone their capabilities by cultivating a strong knowledge of the local area their office serves. This allows estate agents to tailor their searches and recommendations based on demographics, geography, amenities, public transport links, and many other factors that can make or break the perfect location.

For students hoping to rent a location for an entire year or longer, there are some factors that can’t be overlooked. Living two doors down from the local pub will seem like a really poor decision when your ability to sleep is all but non-existent.

Trustworthiness

Estate agents that uphold membership of a professional body such as Propertymark are signalling their adherence to ethical practices and transparent operating standards. Good estate agencies will have good reviews to browse, and will be under certain obligations when it comes to the security of deposits and their responses to maintenance issues.

Estate agents don’t just help landlords; they help tenants as well. They can be an essential bridge of communication between tenant and landlord, and respond quickly when emergencies arise. Knowing your living conditions lie in trusted hands is an importance that cannot be overstated.

Flexibility

Estate agents can do more with your query than a search engine or property website. You may view a property and find it’s not what you hoped, but that only gives a good agent the opportunity to make a recommendation based on what they’ve learned about your needs.

Sometimes an estate agent may be aware of an upcoming listing that’s not yet been put up for viewing, giving you the chance to see it early and potentially make a deal ahead of anybody else. Student lettings typically involve groups, too, which an estate agent can factor in to their recommendations better than a search form.

When should you look for student housing?

The true answer depends on your circumstances and if there’s anything you need to wait for, such as knowing how many people will be living in the accommodation or what your realistic collective budget is.

Generally, looking for student housing shouldn’t be put on the back burner for too long. Cities like Liverpool can be highly competitive for good accommodation, and leaving your search until the last minute can drastically complicate your time as a student.

Work out who your roommates might be as early as you can, work out the factors that you agree on, and look for suitable accommodation together to eliminate any misunderstandings or anybody getting a ‘raw deal’.

How do I find second year housing?

Second year housing can be a tricky gear shift as the end of first year accommodation looms. Many universities will recommend or require that students live on-campus for their first year (and for good reason).

Second year tends to be when many students consider the move to private accommodation, either to save money, meet new people, live closer to the university and with friends they’ve made in their first year, or any number of different reasons.

Finding second year housing is easiest when worked out as part of a group, and though there’s nothing inherently wrong with seeking off campus accommodation on your own, working as a group provides a certain extra level of security. It also means that important decisions can be tackled with multiple perspectives and made jointly.

For a strong start to your second year accommodation hunt, pop into you local estate agent’s office and make an enquiry.

How can a student get a flat?

Securing a flat as a student works much like any other time in your life. However, your status as a student will likely mean you will need a guarantor who can pick up your rental payments should you become unable to pay for any reason.

If your only source of income is student loan payments, this is especially necessary as admin errors with student loans are not unheard of.

That having been said, renting as a student is rarely complicated and an estate agent can guide you through the process with little to no hassle.

How do I find the best student housing?

No single way of finding student housing is best on its own, and it’s a good idea to combine two or more approaches to ensure you’re getting the best view of the market in your location.

It’s always ideal to include an estate agents in this process so that you have a human point of contact for questions and to register your interest in certain kinds of properties, so that you have a reliable resource to consult during your hunt.

Mistoria Estate Agents Liverpool can help you find student accommodation that ticks all the boxes and leaves you with peace of mind. Focus on your studies and live your best student life without any worries for the roof over your head.

To learn more about how we can make your hunt for student housing as pain-free as possible, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today or fill our online application.

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Dispelling the Myths

student housing north west

Many landlords often worry about letting out their properties to students, fearing that they will not receive rental payments, or that their houses will be destroyed during wild parties. However, issues like these are exceptionally rare. We thought we’d dispel some of the popular myths about renting to students in this blog post.

Damage to the Property

A landlord’s worst nightmare is undoubtedly that their property will be destroyed by a particularly wild student party. However, with the rising cost of living, students are increasingly opting to drink and party less, with some studies suggesting that 30% of the student population does not drink at all. With less spare money, students are also more conscious of the need to care for their house to protect their deposit. 

A recent survey by student utility supplier Glide also recently showed that 82% of students would rather stay in to binge watch TV and films than go out to party. Therefore, the chance of a landlord’s property being ruined is now much reduced. 

Payment Problems 

The typical image that society has of a student is of one surviving off pasta because they’ve spent all their money on alcohol. That, alongside the fact that this is the first time many will have had payment responsibilities before, leaves landlords worried that their student tenants will not have enough money to pay their rent. However, such issues are actually relatively rare in student properties, because tenants receive student loan payments termly. Furthermore, if students do miss their rent payments, they are almost always backed by strong guarantors – their parents. 

Noise Complaints

Students are typically known for playing loud music and screaming and shouting late into the night. But as they reduce their alcohol intake and opt to stay in for film nights with friends, landlords should actually see a reduction in the number of noise complaints they receive from neighbours. 

Finding the Perfect Tenants   

One of the best ways to look after your property is to engage with your tenants. If they feel like you are listening to their queries and worries, they are more likely to trust you and therefore respect both you and your property. Having a good relationship with their landlord is one of the key things students look for when renting a home. 

Still Have Concerns?

If you are worried about letting your property to students, come and speak to the experts in student housing North West based Mistoria Estate Agents. 

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Dealing With Damp

Liverpool letting agent

During the colder months damp and condensation can become a problem in your property. Here we take a look at ways you can avoid these issues…

Condensation

The most common cause of damp in a property is the build-up of condensation. It should be made clear to your tenants that it is their responsibility to prevent condensation in the property. Once you have installed extractor fans in bathrooms, stress that tenants should switch these on every time they shower or take a bath. It might be worth investing in an extractor fan that switches on automatically in time with the bathroom light. That way, you won’t have to rely on your tenants remembering to do so. Extractor fans should also be fitted in the kitchen above the hob. Boiling water causes lots of steam to be produced, which will settle on the walls and windows if not removed. 

Advise your tenants to open their windows regularly, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. During the colder months, they may be reluctant to do so, but windows need only be open for ten minutes a day for a noticeable difference in the levels of condensation build-up. Remind them that they need to close and lock all of their windows before leaving their house each day. 

Tell your tenants not to put wet clothing on radiators. The water vapour mixing with the hot air will rise and settle on walls and windows. You may wish to fit a clothes line to encourage your tenants to dry their clothes outside.

Rising Damp  

Rising damp occurs when groundwater seeps through the bricks and mortar of a building because its damp course has failed. It is your responsibility as a landlord to make the building watertight again by fitting a new damp course. The cost should not be passed on to your tenants. You should ask a professional for their advice; rising damp is often misdiagnosed and fitting a new damp course could end up being a needless expense. 

Penetrating Damp

Penetrating damp occurs when water enters a building via an external wall or the roof and settles inside. This will invariably be because of a fault within the building, such as holes in the roof, damaged gutters, or cracks in the external render. Again, it is your responsibility to ensure that these issues are remedied and that the house is fit for habitation. Fixing penetrating damp is usually a simple process. Make a note of anywhere that the damp appears and find that point on the exterior of your property. Around this area you should be able to quickly find the fault and fix it yourself with some simple DIY. For serious problems, consult an experienced surveyor. A check of the whole building may be required to ensure the damp has not become wet rot, which would be disastrous for the structural integrity of your property.     

Resolving Damp Issues  

Liverpool letting agents, Mistoria Estate Agents have a dedicated maintenance team on hand to resolve any property issues for our landlords and tenants. Contact us now to find out how we can help you. 

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State of the market: Is now the time to invest in Liverpool property?

invest in Liverpool property

With lockdowns now firmly behind us and no prospect of them returning in full force any time soon the property market has come roaring back – could now be time to invest in Liverpool property?

There is certainly plenty of evidence the housing market is booming –although figures have been inflated by the rush to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday which came to an end in October.

According to HM Revenue and Customs, in the UK in last month an estimated 160,950 homes changed hands, which was almost 70% higher than in August and 68% higher than the previous September.

Compared to the 50% drop in sales which occurred in April and May 2020 due to the pandemic, it is clear the market has put Covid behind it.

Zoopla has predicted 2021 will be the strongest year in the housing market since 2007, with around £500bn in sales.

Now that the stamp duty holiday has come to an end it is expected the residential sales market will slow and price growth is set to stall making now a perfect time to invest in Liverpool property.

Sensing opportunity of a market lull before further growth, investors are out in force cash buying property left right and centre after laying low throughout the pandemic.

Property is on the verge of flipping from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market.

What does this mean for rental?

Research from Zoopla found rents were rising at their fastest pace in over a decade in all places in the UK except London.

They found rent would be on average £500 more per year by the end of 2021 compared to 2020.

Demand for rental properties across the country is expected to rise in the coming months.

As people decided to stay put during lockdowns, and with evictions made temporarily very difficult, tenants very rarely moved.

But now the economy is looking increasingly strong and lockdowns fading into memory more and more tenants will start looking for a place to move.

With a rise in demand, it could be the perfect opportunity for House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) property investment.

With the ability of being able to house multiple separate tenants into a single property, HMOs can easily absorb any rise in demand.

Combined with a rise in rents and the reproductive growth HMOs offer, they could be a wise investment.

If you are thinking of investing in property for rental and would like help and advice on how to manage a successful tenancy, please contact our experienced team or visit our contact page to find your local branch.

We manage 1000 properties and 3000 tenancies in the private and student rental sector and can help you with all aspects of rental property management.

Call us on 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoria.co.uk

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How to avoid deposit disputes

What to do at the start and end of a tenancy to avoid a deposit dispute

Less than 1% of all tenancy deposits end in dispute, but when it does happen it can end up being an expensive nightmare for all parties involved.

Many potential disputes can be avoided and one of the quickest ways to make sure conflicts don’t happen is to ensure all the correct information is provided to everyone at the right times.

Keeping audit trails of any changes made to the property, both by the landlord and tenant, can drastically improve the chances of a dispute being sorted quickly and reduce the chance of any acrimonious feelings between those involved.

This needs to happen from day one until the last day of the tenancy. Make sure the new tenant knows what is expected straight away. By doing this it will help them as much as it will help you.

Here’s what needs to be done right at the start and right at the end of a tenancy:

When the new tenant checks in

Having a detailed as possible report about the condition of the property is important. This goes further than a full inventory and cleanliness. Make notes of the last time it was professionally cleaned as well as being up front about any marks or scuffs on the upholstery so any new ones can be noted.

Also point out brand new decorations down to the date it was done so it becomes clear what they are getting.

Making a note of different odours could also be a good idea, although smells can be subjective and caused by many things a distinct new one will be hard to avoid.

Always back all of this up with as much documentation and images as possible.

When the tenant checks out

This is where conducting a thorough inventory at the start will pay off. As the house is inspected, refer to it constantly, and if you had a hand in making it to start with you should know exactly what to look for.

As before, keep a note of every detail and compare your new document with the old one once you are finished.

Also, even if it looks clear make sure you touch it! Stickiness and pet hairs are often hard to detect but can be costly to remove.

What to do if you think a deposit deduction is needed

If you find yourself in a situation where the property has not been returned in a satisfactory state, you may need to deduct from the deposit.

This process can often cause disputes and conflict between landlord and tenant, so make sure you’re completely sure and have the documentary evidence to back it up.

Clear, concise reasoning as to why the landlord thinks a deduction is vital.

On top of this pointing out exactly where in the tenancy agreement the landlord believes the tenant has breached will be needed.

If the tenant decides to dispute the claim, then it will need to be taken to an adjudicator.

At Mistoria Estate Agents, part of our landlord service is to conduct inventories and property checks on behalf of our landlords. We carry out thorough check in and check out inspections to ensure there is official paperwork, documentation and photographs at the start and end of every tenancy. Whilst it can feel like an uncomfortable process, we understand how vital it is for both landlord and tenant to be clear and consistent when it comes to the condition of a property.

If you own a rental property and would like help and advice on how to manage a successful tenancy, ensuring you meet all the legal requirements and remain up to date on guidance and legislation, please contact our experienced team. We manage 1000 properties and 3000 tenancies in the private and student rental sector and can help you with all aspects of rental property management. Call us on 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoria.co.uk.

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Property market continues to boom despite end of SDLT holiday

liverpool property prices

It’s fair to say the housing market is experiencing a remarkable surge at the moment. And in the words of our own agents; people are making up their own prices… and buyers are paying it, and then some!

The unprecedented boom in the price of property has been put down to the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday, introduced by the Government at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, to keep the market moving during the numerous lockdowns. Nobody could have predicted the impact of this move.

The temporary nil rate for SDLT was introduced in April 2020 when the UK went into its first lockdown, allowing anyone to purchase a primary residential property up to the value of £500,000 without paying stamp duty. From 1st July, the nil rate band was reduced to £250,000 and will be reduced again on 1st October to return to the standard threshold of £125,000 (except for first-time buyers who have a threshold of £300,000).

Whilst potentially saving buyers thousands of pounds on the cost of purchasing a new property, it seems buyers are diverting the money “saved” in stamp duty and putting into the price they are willing to offer vendors. Add into the mix low interest rates, a stagnant stock market, savings made during lockdowns and no overseas travel, buyers suddenly have more disposable income that they are eager to put into a property purchase.

This action has driven up the cost of property to extraordinary levels, across the country. Mistoria’s own estate agents are seeing property selling for 30, 40, £50k more than it previously would have. Sarah Morris-Turner, branch manager at Mistoria Estate Agents Bolton said, “We can’t believe what we’re witnessing in the residential sales market at the moment. Every property that we bring to market we’re having to offer block viewings on due to the demand. From these viewings we’re receiving multiple offers, all of which are over the asking price!”

As original SDLT rates return on 1st October 2021, it was predicted that the end of the SDLT holiday would slow the market but, from Mistoria’s standpoint at least, this shows no sign of happening anytime soon.

Whilst rising prices has made for a seller’s market and boom time for the industry, there are concerns from an agent’s perspective. Morris-Turner continues, “It’s quite challenging valuing property in the current market. Some agents are valuing quite erratically giving false expectations to clients. As agents we have a responsibility to value property accurately, so as not to end up in negative equity. As and when the market dips, negative equity is a real concern for many buyers that suddenly find themselves with a property worth less than they paid for it.”

This call for caution is echoed by Dewi Caughter, branch manager at Mistoria Estate Agents in Cheadle. He says, “Whilst we are currently seeing property sell within seven days of coming to market, and for far more than the asking price, we predict next year may be more precarious for those currently paying overinflated prices for property. Should the market plateau, clients may face negative equity on their mortgages. It will be interesting to see how the market adjusts.”

There’s no doubting the SDLT holiday has done what it was intended to do in contributing towards keeping the housing market moving during the last 18 months of the Coronavirus pandemic but the long-term repercussions of such a rise in the cost of property is yet to be seen.

Liverpool property prices

If you’re considering buying or selling a property, the agents at Mistoria Estate Agents can help you navigate, make sense of and accurately value or make an offer on Liverpool property prices. Speak to our friendly and expert team on 0800 500 3015 or email liverpool@mistoria.co.uk. You can find a Mistoria Estate Agent in Bolton, Cheadle, Liverpool, Salford and Walkden.

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Right To Rent changes from 30th June 2021

right to rent changes

Changes to Right to Rent legislation in the UK come into effect from 1st July 2021, ending the grace period put into place following the country’s exit from the EU. The change means that letting agents will move from checking nationality to checking the UK immigration status of all adult tenancy applicants.

Right to Rent is the legislation that requires landlords and agents to check the immigration status of prospective tenants to ensure they have the right to rent in the UK. The temporary changes meant that citizens of European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland only needed to prove their citizenship while applying for settled status in the UK. When the interim measures lift, it will mean that these people need to provide evidence of their UK immigration status too.

New guidance has been issued by the Home Office for agents and landlords to follow from 1st July 2021. The Home Office has been working with ARLA Propertymark, who says that “From this point, if someone is an EEA, EU, or Swiss national, you will need to see evidence of their UK immigration status rather than their national identification”. Anyone who has applied for and been granted settled status will have digital evidence of their application, and this should be shared digitally using the online Right to Rent services from the Home Office on the Gov.uk website.

Digital checks have been an option since December 2020 and involve the prospective tenant sharing a time code and their date of birth, which landlords use to check their immigration status online. However, not all applicants will use the digital service and may have other evidence of their immigration status, including physical documents.

Another change to Right to Rent checks is related to Covid-19. The way that checks were carried out was temporarily readjusted to make them safer during the pandemic. From 1st September, landlords and letting agents will be returning to face-to-face and physical document checks. This is in accordance with the easing of lockdown rules and social distancing measures, aligning with the roadmap for England set out by the Government. This change has been postponed twice, first set for 16th May, then 20th June.

Currently, Right to Rent checks can be made over video calls and tenants can send scanned documents or photos of documents using email or a mobile app. The online Right to Rent service can also be used during a video call if the prospective tenant has a current Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card or has been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme or the points-based immigration system. When these temporary changes end on 1st September, landlords and their agents must either check the applicant’s original documents or check their right to rent online if given their share code for the service.

Both landlords and EEA/EU/Swiss citizens applying for tenancies should be aware of these changes related to Brexit and to Covid-19. The situation regarding Covid-19 could also be subject to change, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what’s happening.

Mistoria Estate Agents Liverpool are Liverpool property experts and can help guide both landlords and tenants through any property related matter. If you need help and advice on the new Right to Rent changes and what is means for you, please contact our team on 0161 707 6106 or use our contact form.

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End of Stamp Duty Holiday: first deadline fast approaching

stamp duty holiday

The Stamp Duty holiday in England will end on 30th June 2021, lowering the nil rate band from £500,000 to £250,000 for all but first-time buyers, who have a threshold of £300,000 before stamp duty is due. The rates will then change again in October to return to the standard amount pre-Covid-19.

The temporary nil rate for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) was introduced in 2020 when the UK went into lockdown amid the global Covid-19 pandemic, allowing anyone to purchase a primary residential property up to the value of £500,000 without paying Stamp Duty. From 1st July to 30th September 2021, the nil rate band will be reduced to £250,000 and then will be reduced again to return to the standard threshold of £125,000, again, except for first-time buyers who have a threshold of £300,000.

The rate of SDLT that applies to a purchase depends on the date that the purchase is completed and not the date that contracts are exchanged. This means that many people who are in the process of buying a house now could miss out on the extra relief but still have the opportunity to benefit from the £250,000 nil rate if they complete by October. The rate above £250,000 will be 5% on the next £675,000 (up to £925,000), 10% on the next £575,000 (up to £1.5 million), and 12% on the value above £1.5 million.

The adjustments to the Stamp Duty nil rate apply to main residences. Additional properties, for which there is no nil rate unless they are bought for less than £40,000, incur a 3% tax up to £500,000 until 30th June. This then changes to 3% up to £250,000 until October.

Anyone hoping to take advantage of the lower Stamp Duty rates, whether buying a main residence or an investment property, should think about moving quickly. Property purchases can take a number of months, and there are just over three months left until the SDLT rates revert to the standard amounts.

June 30th is the first Stamp Duty holiday deadline to pay attention to if you’re currently in the process of buying a property. Now is the time to try and speed things up and perhaps try to set a completion date before this deadline. If you miss this first deadline, you can still benefit from the Stamp Duty holiday, with a further three months to take advantage of the £250,000 nil rate. To check how much you’re going to pay, you can use the Stamp Duty Land Tax calculator.

If you have yet to find the perfect property, Mistoria Estate Agents can help you to speed up your search. Our estate agents will listen to your wants and needs and suggest properties for your shortlist. Please contact us on 0161 707 6106 or use our contact form. If you’re currently viewing properties, you can also speed things up by getting other necessities out of the way, such as lining up a solicitor and talking to a mortgage broker. This will put you in a good position to move quickly once you find the right property.