30 June 2020

Thinking of Becoming a Buy-to-Let Property Owner? Find out how this tool could save you money

Thinking about going into the property business? Looking at potential buy-to-let properties?

Damp is a serious issue with properties. If not identified and fixed on time it can lead to devastating consequences. It is a health hazard, and you would not want anyone living in the property affected by damp.

There are quite a few indicators which give you a clue of the presence of damp like a musty smell, mould infestation, leaky roofs and porous walls etc.

Rising damp can even be found in newly refurbished property as well. Rising damp may not be checked and a damp proof course not completed correctly during the refurbishment of a property. It is always a good idea to check for rising damp to avoid a bill for thousands of pounds later.

I would highly recommend carrying a damp meter, costs around £20, to save you so much hassle later on and also thousands of pounds to get the damp proof course installed correctly. If you know, beforehand you could include that into your refurbishment costs. Most of the damp meters have indicators between green to red to indicate the presence of damp and most with a bleeping sound indicator when damp is detected.

How to identify damp in a property

Firstly, beware of those properties which appear as distressed but are newly painted or wallpapered to give an impression that minimal work is required to refurbish the property. You MUST check for damp on your very first inspection of the property. One thing for certain is that when you pull out the damp detector it will certainly increase the heart rate on any estate agent or vendor.

However identifying dampness is not that difficult. If you come across any of the following then you know you are in for some serious refurbishment work.

·        Musty Smell

·        Brownish stains appearing on walls

·        Nails or Screws that appear rusty

·        Powder deposits on walls as patches

·        Mushroom growth on walls

·        Discoloured areas or tide marks on walls

·        Deteriorating paint and Loosened wallpaper

·        Visible moisture deposits on surface

·        Mould infestation

·        Leaky roofs and Porous walls

·        High humidity levels

It is important to identify the root of damp and fix it correctly. You cannot get away with a short term fix.

It’s not about realizing that there is a damp in the property but understand that fixing it also involves going back to the brick to fix and replaster and repaint. All of that will cost money. If the source or root of damp is not fixed you will need to complete the process all over again until it’s fixed.

I’m always happy to help anyone interested in looking at buy-to-let properties.

01777 237310 Messages to 07981 744003 
geraldbowers@thegoodea.co.uk


27 June 2020

TOP TIPS to Prepare Your Property for a Photo Shoot

If you’re putting your property on the market for sale or rent, there is one thing you can do to make an immediate impact.

To maximise your chances of securing the best possible deal, spend time preparing your property before it is photographed for promotional purposes.

You wouldn’t turn up to an important job interview wearing an old tracksuit and a stained vest (I hope).

The same rule applies when you show off your property. You want to show your home in its most flattering light and reveal its full potential.

This is because first impressions matter. Think about when you are looking for a holiday and you find the resort or hotel you like and then you want to see how the rooms look. If they look nice and clean you’ll want to stay there.

In our digital age first impressions are more influential than ever.

Before arranging viewings, most people pore over property websites and rank their favourites.

They expect to see images of every room and are suspicious if you omit photos of some spaces.

Before they’ve even stepped inside a property, viewers have formed definite opinions about it.

A prospective property must be clean, well presented and clutter-free. If it looks untidy and unkempt in photos, people will assume that: It will be even grottier in real life and need some serious bleaching and scrubbing. The owner is lax on maintenance, and all sorts of unforeseen faults and repair work could be needed.

Here are some top tips to prepare your property for a photo shoot.

Clear the clutter

People want to see the property, not your personal items. That means no washing left out to dry (in the house or on the line outside), no shoes in the hall or phone chargers in sockets.

Every excess item left lying around, including magazines, flyers, and remote controls build up to create an unattractive look. 

Let there be light

Open all curtains or blinds to let as much light in as possible. If rooms have connecting doors, open them to really show off the space.


Kitchen clear up

Clear all work surfaces and tables of the reminders of domestic life.

Tea towels, cleaning products, dishes, fridge magnets and pet food bowl all need to go.

One bowl that can stay though is the fruit bowl – just make sure you fill it with fresh fruit.

Bathroom blitz 

Declare war on mould and any other unsightly stains. Move all shampoos, conditioners, soap items, towels, and mats out of sight. Remove items off the back of doors.

People don’t need to see the dressing gown your mother gave you for Christmas. Also, put your toilet lids down, please.

In the bedrooms

Opt for neutral bed linen, and avoid deep reds, purple or browns. If you still have a teddy, that’s okay but put it away for now.

Slippers, personal photographs, and exercise equipment should go too.

Children’s bedrooms 

Pack clothes and toys away and remove any items that feature your children’s names, along with photographs.

Living areas

Remove TV remotes, games consoles and paperwork. Make sure the TV is switched off. In this room, you can also add something fresh – a vase of colourful flowers looks great.

Front of house

Cut the grass and any hedges/bushes. Remove weeds and bins and invest in a few pot plants to add colour.

If you have a driveway, don’t park your car on it for the photo shoot.

And if you’re on good terms with your neighbours ask them (nicely) to move their vehicle too, as often photographers have a wide-angle lens. 

Gardens or courtyards

As with the front, get rid of weeds, leaves and any junk that is lying around. 

If you would like more advice on how to prepare your property for sale or rent give me a call or drop me a message.

I’m happy to help and promise to keep you firmly in the picture

01777 237310 Messages to 07981 744003 
geraldbowers@thegoodea.co.uk
The Good Estate Agent – North Nottinghamshire


26 June 2020

HOUSE PRICES – The Most Expensive Villages – North Nottinghamshire

                         5, Blyth Hall, Blyth, North Nottinghamshire, sold for £690,000 last year

The London based estate agents Savills recently produced some research showing the most expensive villages, as per house prices, for each county in England. This was also reported in The Daily Mail and for Nottinghamshire they claimed Normanton-on-the-wolds, (Average house price £634,896) situated in South Nottinghamshire, Caythorpe near Newark (£570,560) and Halam near Newark (£531,219) as the most expensive villages. Their figures not mine.

So, naturally I thought I would take a look at our villages here in North Nottinghamshire and see how they compare.

One area that stands out for the whole of Nottinghamshire is Rufford. OK I know it’s not a village, but it is beyond doubt the highest concentration of expensive houses in our area. They must have missed it. So what about the rest of our area?

See the list below and if your village has been omitted, I apologise in advance as I could not cover every village in a short blog.

Please note the average house prices are based on exactly that ‘an average of sold prices in the past year’. The recent 3 months lockdown will have skewed figures slightly, but the prices do give a good indication about the prices of properties in each village.

The average prices for the towns are Retford £194,688, Worksop £173,658 and Harworth £147,560

Barnby Moor and Oldcotes show up at £375,500 and £370,667 and no surprise really that many of the small beautiful villages in North Nottinghamshire come out on top.

Village or Area Av Price
Rufford 782500
Barnby Moor 375500
Oldcotes 370667
Rampton 365250
North Wheatley 359286
East Markham 353500
Gringley-on-the-Hill 347929
Everton 343038
Sturton-Le-Steeple 330714
Sutton-Cum-Lound 319450
Blyth 310500
Lound 268000
Mattersey 255286
Ranskill 242250
Bawtry 226893
Clarborough 218875
Tuxford 157747
Carlton-in-Lindrick 154396
Harworth 147560
Langold 122357

Here are some examples

                       September Cottage, Blyth Rd, Oldcotes, 4 beds, sold for £362,000 in 2019

                              The Brewhouse, Rufford, 4 beds, sold for £755,000 in Feb 2020

I’m happy to help anyone who is looking to sell or buy, let or rent properties in North Nottinghamshire.

01777 237310 Messages to 07981 744003 
geraldbowers@thegoodea.co.uk
The Good Estate Agent – North Nottinghamshire




BUILDING MORE HOUSES – Planning Reform Coming

The government knows that in order to win the next general election in 2024, there has to be a new offer to people under the age of 35. 

The shortage of affordable housing and basic access onto the property ladder is the single biggest barrier to breaking through to the next generation, and without doing something serious about it the Conservatives will be in trouble. 

Rumours are circulating that Dominic Cummings has been tasked with finding a solution to reform our restrictive planning system, which many developers describe as outdated and still making it far too difficult to build.

Owning your own home is a fundamental aspiration in a well functioning property-owning democracy. It is also good politics, without any capital few will support a party that defends capitalism. 

But even if you don’t support more private house ownership, the development of social housing is also restricted by slow out of date planning regulations and time delaying local authorities.

We NEED more housing here in North Nottinghamshire and we need it now. Sadly, far too many people involved in the planning process have adopted the mindset ‘’It takes a long time!’’.

It does NOT have to take a long time. Local authority planning procedures can be speeded up if the will was there to make it happen.

There is also an old assumption that a longer time equals a better quality of decision making. This is not true.

For too long the old saying in the property development business has been ‘’Building the houses is actually the easy bit.’’ Is still applicable today. The planning process still takes years.

We must change this.

I’m always happy to discuss the problems associated with planning permission.

01777 237310 Messages to 07981 744003 
geraldbowers@thegoodea.co.uk
The Good Estate Agent – North Nottinghamshire


Challenger portal signs up 10,000 branches as it prepares to go live

Good news for the Retford property market.
Homesearch the new challenger portal has already signed up over 10,000 estate agents.

That's about 55% of all UK agents.
Launching on 1 July 2020 and then to the general public mid-July.


Challenger portal signs up 10,000 branches as it prepares to go live

24 June 2020

RETFORD - Support Local Businesses as they reopen 4th July 2020

Please support local businesses in Retford and surrounding villages. As more businesses reopen it will take some time for them to adjust to the new way of operating, so give them chance to get used to it. None of us have done this before.

From 4 July, many businesses and venues will be permitted to reopen and will be expected to follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines. These include:

·         hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartments or homes, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks or boarding houses

·         places of worship

·         libraries

·         community centres

·         restaurants, cafes, workplace canteens, bars, pubs that are self-contained and can be accessed from the outside

·         hair salons and barbers, including mobile businesses

·         cinemas

·         theatres and concert halls

·         funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities

·         outdoor gyms and playgrounds

·         museums and galleries

·         bingo halls

·         outdoor skating rinks

·         amusement arcades and other entertainment centres

·         model villages

·         social clubs

·         indoor attractions at aquariums, zoos, safari parks, farms, wildlife centres and any place where animals are exhibited to the public as an attraction

·         indoor and outdoor areas of visitor attractions including, gardens, heritage sites, film studios and landmarks

WHAT WILL NEED TO REMAIN CLOSED BY LAW?

The following businesses will need to remain closed, as we have assessed that they cannot yet be made sufficiently COVID-19 Secure:

·         nightclubs

·         casinos

·         bowling alleys and indoor skating rinks

·         indoor play areas including soft-play

·         spas

·         nail bars, beauty salons and tanning salons

·         massage, tattoo and piercing parlours

·         indoor fitness and dance studios, and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities

·         swimming pools and water parks

·         exhibition or conference centres - where they are to be used for exhibitions or conferences, other than for those who work for that venue.

Support your local business community. We all know our town centre needs more life putting back into it. Note: To any local councillors: FREE car parking would help.

01777 237310  Messages to 07981 744003 
geraldbowers@thegoodea.co.uk
The Good Estate Agent – North Nottinghamshire


23 June 2020

Buy-to-Let Opportunity of the Week

Ollerton Road, Retford,          Guide Price £82,000

Landlord buy-to-let opportunity of the week in Retford.
I recommend this 3 bedroom end of terrace house.
Guide price is £82,000. I think it still needs a bit more work inside but I’m sure you could achieve a gross yield of 6.5%

**FOR SALE BY CONDITIONAL ONLINE AUCTION. On behalf of SDL Auctions.** This end-terrace house set over two floors is newly refurbished throughout, and comprises of fitted kitchen and dining area, living room with feature fireplace, downstairs family bathroom with electric shower and three bedrooms. The property features gas central heating and double glazing, with enclosed rear garden and on street parking. Please call the office on 01777 566400 to arrange a viewing.

The property is for sale by Retford based agent Alexander Jacob. Here is a link to the property for further information:

Call or drop me an email if you need any help or advice.
01777 237310  Messages to 07981 744003 

geraldbowers@thegoodea.co.uk

22 June 2020

RETFORD and WORKSOP How Do Property Rents Compare?

RETFORD and WORKSOP Properties for Rent

How do rental prices compare today?

Let’s look at the situation today using the current properties on offer in the lettings market.

There are currently 67 properties available for rent in Worksop. 
The average rental price for one bed and studio properties is £387 per calendar month. 2 beds £500, 3 beds £588, 4 beds £615 and 5+ bedroom properties are £850.

Over here in Retford where properties get snapped up very quickly the rental prices are as follows, with just 24 properties on the market. For 2 beds £500, 3 beds £670, 4 beds £867 and 5+ bedroom properties are £945.

As you can see rents are always slightly higher in Retford compared to Worksop.




If you need any help in finding a property or if you want a second/third opinion on a potential rental, call me or send an email to:

geraldbowers@thegoodea.co.uk

01777 237310 Messages to 07981 744003 






21 June 2020

Time for Property Landlords in RETFORD to call for support

Whether you’re a veteran property landlord with years of experience, or a newcomer still finding your feet, now is not the time to be going it alone.

After all, Starsky had Hutch, Cagney had Lacey and Mulder had Scully (yep, I’ve watched lots of the old ones during lockdown).

Retford area landlords currently find themselves in a unique situation, one that won’t be back to “normal” soon. This was made clear by the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick last week when he made two announcements.

Minister’s announcements

You’ve probably heard the first one already: the ban on evictions has been extended in England and Wales by another two months. It will now end on August 23, effectively creating a five-month moratorium on evictions. This will create an almighty backlog for the court system and prove particularly nightmarish for landlords with anti-social tenants, or tenants who are perpetrators of domestic violence.

The second part of Mr Jenrick’s announcement got a lot less attention in the mainstream media but is still enormously relevant to landlords. The government is preparing “guidance” for the courts concerning evictions. This is to ensure that when things get back up and running “rules are in place to assist the court in giving appropriate protections for those who have been particularly affected by coronavirus – including those tenants who have been shielding”.

While I don’t yet know the finer details of this, the government has said it expects landlords to exhaust all other options, including flexible payment plans, before instigating eviction proceedings.

What are the implications of all this?

Now more than ever, you want to avoid the eviction process.

Who in their right mind wants to see people homeless?

Before Covid-19, the eviction process was stressful and took at least six months. Add in a five-month backlog and an increase in cases due to Covid-19, and it is clear things will become even more drawn out. If you’re having difficulty with a tenant, you need to pursue all other avenues first.

A letting agent can help you with this. They can take the burden off your shoulders and contribute different ideas and strategies to deal with tricky situations. In these unusual times, flexible and agile thinking is the order of the day.

This is no time to wing it

If you’re relatively new to the lettings market, firstly hello and welcome! Secondly, a word of advice now is not the time to wing it.

Even in “normal times” (don’t they seem like a long time ago?) there were plenty of potential pitfalls for landlords around deposits, maintenance, regulations, and tenant checks. But right now, things are more complicated than ever. You must ensure you meet all your legal obligations (the fines are enormous if you don’t) and stay on top of any new announcements. Having an expert to help you do this will save you time and money in the long run.

Old pros are in new territory

If there’s a word that sums up 2020, it’s “unprecedented”. A few others that we won’t forget in a hurry include “lockdown”, “furlough” and “shielding”. Even the most experienced landlords are dealing with a host of issues for the first time. Good letting agents are keeping abreast of the changing situation and talking to industry bodies and colleagues in other parts of the country and sharing best practice. Make your life a little easier and utilise this expertise.

A quick note: As I mentioned above, there is concern about the eviction ban, particularly concerning dealing with anti-social or violent tenants. The National Residential Landlords Association is pushing for these cases to be fast-tracked through the courts. In domestic violence cases, for example, landlords often end a tenancy agreement and start a new one with the victim but without the abuser. Many worry the lengthy delay in dealing with these cases is trapping victims of domestic violence in unsuitable tenancies. This is something I am watching very closely.

Letting agents are here to support our community through these difficult times.

Contact me if you think I might be able to help you.

Thanks for reading.

 01777 237310  Messages to 07981 744003 

RETFORD Property Market News - June 2020

21 June 2020

A brief look at what is happening in the UK property market and what it means for the Retford and North Nottinghamshire market.

What has been happening in the property market in the past few weeks?

As we begin to come out of the lockdown the outlook for the housing market is still taking shape, but here I take a look at three market indicators to watch.  From buyer sentiment to Bank of England forecasts, higher loan-to-value mortgages and first-time buyers, here is how I think these key factors will influence the market:

Mover Decisions

Some 60% of prospective home movers say they intend to continue with their plans despite the impact of Covid-19, according to a recent Zoopla survey. Some 22% said they were not affected by the pandemic, while the remainder said they had felt the impact, but wanted to continue with their next move regardless.

The extent to which buyers and sellers continue with their plans will also determine how many of the 373,000 sales stalled due to lockdown will go on to complete, and this will affect the level of total transactions this year.

After weeks of the market being in suspension, buyer demand in England after the housing market opened on 13 May rose by 88% in a week, suggesting that there will be a flurry of activity for some time. This is according to the property industry reports.

It is possible that post-lockdown demand is also spurring more activity among those who had no previous plans to move as people have spent so much time in their homes over the last two months - prompting a change in view in how and where they want to live. In effect, it could have created a one-off Covid-19 bounce. I’m sure many people will be saying ‘’We need a bigger house.’’

The Economic Outlook

The current projections from the Bank of England signal that UK unemployment will rise sharply and that the economic output for the UK will fall significantly. But still remains unknown if this gloomy outlook will become reality. Remember what the Bank of England told us about Brexit. 

The housing market is certainly better placed to weather an economic downturn than after the financial crisis however, given the stricter mortgage lending criteria and stress-tests that have been in place for the last ten years. These have helped build an equity cushion in the housing market right across the country.

Availability of Mortgage Finance

Interest rates are still at record lows, (Just have a think about that). Which means borrowing money is cheap now, so it may be a good time to buy, as you will pay a reduced cost for the pleasure of borrowing money to buy that investment. It can be very hard to accurately predict what interest rates or property values will do, so these shouldn’t be deciding factors – but they are worth considering.

Alongside stricter lending criteria, a wider range of higher LTV loans started coming back to the market in recent years, allowing a greater number of first-time buyers (who can pass affordability tests but who do not have access to large deposits) to climb onto the property market.

However, as lockdown started, and the mortgage lenders turned their attention to dealing with the welcome move to mortgage holidays, new lending levels started to decline, and the range of mortgages on offer contracted.

As the market enters the next phase, first-time buyers who are keen to progress will still need access to higher LTV loans or they will have to step back from the market while save more money for a deposit. Alternatively, they may look to take advantage of the Help to Buy scheme on new homes.

These factors together will help determine the future path of the housing market in the months to come

The average time between a house sale agreed and exchange/completion of contracts on a sale (i.e. the keys and monies get sorted) is 8 to 12 weeks, which means buying today would mean you wouldn’t be getting your hands on the property until late August or September at the earliest. I know there are many inside the property industry that are already working on a campaign to significantly reduce the waiting time from sale to completion. I’m sure people are tired of the old process of waiting for the various agencies to do their bit and adding to the time delay. I faster system will be coming soon I’m sure.

The property portal Rightmove stated that people going to their website initially dropped by 40% at the start of lockdown, but now has recovered with a near doubling of people searching for properties with gardens (for both sales and renting).

I know there are a few doom mongers in the National Press spouting about a massive crash in the UK property market. There is a natural tendency for newspapers to latch onto the worst-case scenario in any economic forecast. Who can forget the country received similar projections in the lead-up to the 2016 Brexit vote with HMRC itself stating that UK house values would drop by at least 10% in the first 12 months should the UK vote for Brexit and 20% in two years!

With the rollercoaster of the stock market in recent months, investing your money into good old-fashioned bricks and mortar has started to seem a good place again.

Buying a property for investment means you have a tangible asset, something you can touch and feel (and understand). The returns from investing in property come from both capital appreciation and income from the rent, and yes whilst property values can go up as well as down, successful buy to let landlords are inclined to take a long-term view on their property investments.

Isn’t it funny the newspapers aren’t latching on to some reports to say the property market might go in the other direction? Remember – bad news sells newspapers!

So, what will happen to the Retford and North Nottinghamshire (and UK) property market?

To be honest – nobody knows. What I do know is the Swine Flu in 2009 caused some volatility in the UK property market, but the market stabilised within months. Even in disaster scenarios such as the current one, property remains comparatively stable and will continue to be one of the best places to invest in.

Yes, we could see unemployment rise in the next 6 months (yet the Furlough Scheme has been extended until the autumn) and historically, it has been proved house price falls are not caused by high unemployment; yes GDP will drop drastically because of lockdown yet it could bounce back like it has in China; yes, the number of property transactions might drop, yet that will only really effect the pockets of  removal people, solicitors and estate agents and the Chancellor of the Exchequer in lost stamp duty receipts; yes there is £82bn worth of property sales on ice during this lockdown (some of which might not complete) ... it’s all ifs, buts and maybes.

We will get over this current predicament, humanity shifts to become more productive - it’s the way it’s always been

The national debt at the end of the Napoleonic Wars of 1815 in today’s money was an eye watering £4.42 trillion and even with the eye watering borrowing to fund Covid-19, it stands at £1,821.3 trillion – we have been here before and we will come out stronger.

The Bank of England failed in 1825, yet we recovered stronger, the Great Depression of the 1930’s cut the Stock Market by 90%, yet we recovered, WW2 took national debt to 200% of GDP – yet we recovered, the oil crisis quadrupled oil prices in the 1970’s – and we came back …. the list goes on with hyper-inflation in the 1970s of 25%, mass unemployment in the 1980’s, Black Monday in 1987, Dot-com bubble in 2001 and credit crunch in 2008/9.

With every economic crisis, the long-term effects of them make people look at their decision making differently

The simple fact is for decades, demand for homes has outstripped supply – hence why property values have remained so strong. People are living longer (71.1 years in 1960 and 81.1 years nowadays), the mass exodus of EU nationals has not taken place since Brexit and the birth rate has increased by 9.1% since the Millennium, which means since 2000, the country has needed at least 240,000 households more per year to satisfy the demand. On average, we have only built 150,000 households a year, meaning we have a shortfall of 90,000 households each year for 20 years … a true shortfall of 1.8m households ... and until we start building anything over that 240,000 requirement … demand will always outstrip supply – and we all know what happens to prices when that happens!

OK so what about the Retford Area?

This is the current situation in North Nottinghamshire. I will mention Retford, Worksop and Harworth and Bircotes areas as examples. First looking at actual sold prices for properties and then looking at current asking prices.

In my area of North Nottinghamshire (my area, might be interpreted differently by others so I am talking here about postcode areas DN22, S80, S81, parts of NG22, DN10, and DN11) in 2019 there were 2,614 properties sold. Most of these sales, 46% were in the Worksop area. The Retford area accounted for 24%, Harworth & Bircotes 11% and the remaining villages together made up 19%.

House Prices in Retford (actually sold)

Properties in Retford had an overall average price of £194,688 over the last year.  The majority of sales in Retford during the last year were detached properties, selling for an average price of £283,626. Semi-detached properties sold for an average of £145,085, with terraced properties fetching £115,166.

House Prices in Worksop (actually sold)

Properties in Worksop had an overall average price of £173,658 over the last year.  The majority of sales in Worksop during the last year were semi-detached properties, selling for an average price of £141,989. Detached properties sold for an average of £250,537, with terraced properties fetching £100,532.

House Prices in Harworth and Bircotes (actually sold)

Properties in Harworth and Bircotes had an overall average price of £132,895 over the last year.  The majority of sales in Harworth and Bircotes during the last year were semi-detached properties, selling for an average price of £122,434. Detached properties sold for an average of £202,999, with terraced properties fetching £102,596.

What's on offer right now?

As of today 21 June 2020 we have 785 properties for sale across the area with an average asking price of £266,637 and 252 of those are currently under offer.

Please have a look at what’s currently on offer in the Retford, Worksop and Harworth and Bircotes areas.

If you need any help in finding a property or if you want a second/third opinion on a potential purchase, call me or send an email to:

geraldbowers@thegoodea.co.uk

01777 237310 Messages to 07981 744003