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Staged For Success: Estate Agent Launches Airbnb Interior Styling Service

Vendors and Landlords can now earn until their Property sells or is let

 Portico Host has launched an Airbnb Interior Styling service alongside its traditional Airbnb Management service.

The company says the service is ideal for those with vacant properties, “enabling vendors to earn money until their property sells and landlords to cash in until they find the perfect tenant.”

The service is part of their premium Airbnb management package, which costs 20% + VAT.

The agent employs top Interior Stylists to kit out client’s properties with furniture and soft furnishings to really maximise their appeal to potential Airbnb guests. The stylists will work to the client’s budget and taste, putting together a proposal before any work is started.

As part of the Airbnb Management package, Portico Host will also look after the entire Airbnb management process, from setting up the property listing, organising professional cleaning and hotel quality linens, arranging 24hr check-in, handling guest bookings and communication, and dealing with all property maintenance.

For those with furnished properties, Portico Host offer a standard Airbnb management package which costs 15% + VAT and includes all of the services explained above, except Interior Styling.

The agent has included a recent case study:

Before Styling

 

After Styling

They achieved the look for just £1,140, but can work to any budget. You can see the full costings below:

Fiona Patterson, Marketing Director, says:

“If you have a vacant property, you’re a landlord and find yourself with a gap between tenancies, or you’re away a lot and your home is often unoccupied, listing your property on Airbnb can be a great money maker – and now, our new Airbnb Management service, Portico Host, can help make the process simple and successful.

A well styled or staged property is key to increasing occupancy rates, guest ratings and the amount you can charge.

Better still, the service almost always pays for itself, as our statistics show that staged properties sell for 8% more than empty or un-staged properties.”

Discover how much your home could earn on Airbnb here: www.portico.com/valuation

 

About Portico

Portico is a residential estate agent with offices throughout London, specialising in flats and properties to rent and for sale. For landlords, we offer a range of unique packages which include monthly fees, a rental guarantee, complimentary maintenance between tenancies and assistance with tax return. For property sellers, we offer a dedicated property concierge and a complimentary interior styling service.

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How to get a (much) better return on buy-to-let property

Not all property is created equal. Investing in the right kind of property can boost returns by over 100%.

“Is this guy for real?” you might be wondering. I can’t say I’d blame you because Landlords have taken a bit of a beating over the last year or so.

First, the lovely people over at Number 10 decided to hike up our stamp duty payments. Then, I s’pose over a G&T after work, they continued chatting and decided our mortgage interest tax relief should go too.

In January they introduced tighter lender criteria for buy-to-let landlords. And – because that obviously wasn’t enough – they’re about to introduce a load more red tape for landlords to tackle, all of which are scaring property investors off.

Yet here I am dropping in on Landlord Blogger, suggesting you can still get a very attractive return on property.

But please bear with me!

Not all property is created equal. If you know where to invest your money, there are some sizeable returns waiting to be had.

Different properties offer different returns

As you probably know, different properties can be let in different ways, and each offers different rental yields. The list of options is fairly lengthy, but most people investing in residential property go for one of the following

  • A single let (the traditional buy-to-let)
  • An apartment (technically still a single let, but with important differences)
  • A holiday let
  • An HMO (a single property let to three or more separate tenants, such as young professionals or students)

The difference in return for each makes for some surprising reading.

Returns from single lets

Single lets sound like a property let to a single person. Not so.

Single lets are actually a property let to just one family unit. That could well be to a single person (and, presumably, her three cats) but it could also be a couple or a family with children. The key point is that contractually there is one tenant.

Letting to just one family unit makes single lets relatively passive investments. If you’re willing to use an agent -and thus accept a slightly lower return- single lets require very little management whatsoever (although you still have legal obligations as landlord).

On the flip side, letting to one family unit almost always artificially caps your return.

Ultimately, rents are determined by supply and demand – and demand itself is determined by household income. When letting to a single family unit, household income is typically restricted to no more than two wage earners, which limits the rent they can afford, and your yield in turn.

Yields have been a consistent 5 – 6% over the past 8 years.

Source: Mortgages for Business Complex Buy to Let Index

Don’t get me wrong, compared to even a generous saving account, a return of more than 5% might seem pretty attractive. But why stop there?

Returns from leasehold apartments

Leasehold apartments are a lot like the single lets described above, only with one key difference: you don’t actually buy the entire property. Instead, you buy the right to lease the apartment on a long-term basis from whoever owns the building the apartment sits within.

This creates the potential for maintenance issues to be outside your control.

Also, the length of the leasehold ticks down as time goes on. Renewing it is a legal right, but it costs money. Whilst the value of the property itself may appreciate, the value of your leasehold, if let to run down substantially will depreciate until you pay to renew it.

If that all sounds pretty terrible, leasehold apartments come with benefits.

For a start, they can be a little cheaper to acquire (making them more accessible to investors). Generally speaking, they’re smaller and newer so don’t always need a great deal of maintenance.

So long as the location is right (think major cities with strong economies) tenant demand can be high – which makes void periods infrequent and capital growth strong on what is, again, a relatively passive investment.

That all makes leasehold apartments a viable option if you’re just setting out but there’s a definite trade off.

If you’re lucky, yields from a leasehold apartment can outstrip those of standard single lets, but when it comes to maximising rental yields, your capital can work harder elsewhere.

Where specifically?

Returns from holiday lets

Although they’re rarely regarded as mainstream investment vehicles, holiday lets actually crank things up a notch.

Bag yourself the right holiday let and you can expect gross rental yields to jump up more than a percentage point or two.

According to Second Estates, The average income for a week in peak season is now £1,200. But remember that’s gross, and this sector is seasonal- don’t expect that week in week out. Overall however the average income from a typical holiday property is just over £22,000.

Why is this?

Management of holiday lets is fairly intensive. If you’re changing sheets and greeting new guests every few days (or, more likely, paying someone to do so on your behalf), the market is going to reward your additional effort/outlay.

Plus, the weak pound following the Brexit vote and recent election brings a double whammy bonus to the holiday property investor: More Brits on staycations (up 24% according to Sojern) and more foreign tourists attracted by the strength of their currency (up 19 % according to Visit Britain). The demand side of the equation is increasing faster than supply.

Airbnb has of course popularised the short term letting phenomenon and also brought it out of the typical tourist spots and into the ‘regular’ towns and cities. There are even now management companies dedicated to running your Airbnb profile and taking care of check-ins and check-outs for you.

Now, one of the major benefits of a furnished holiday let is that the mortgage interest relief (the removal of which has spoiled the party for so many) still stands. This is a significant tax benefit not to be overlooked…although you would probably be wise not to rely on that forevermore given the recent changes.

But there’s more risk with holiday lets. Such short term letting periods coupled with the potential for seasonal lulls can result in unpredictable and potentially substantial void periods.

If you’re purchasing with cash, you can run your property how you like. But, if you’re relying on a mortgage there are a relatively limited number of mortgage products that cater to the holiday property.

Most buy to let mortgages expressly prohibit short term lets, so you can’t simply purchase as a regular buy to let then pop it on Airbnb. Many apartment blocks also prohibit short term lets in the lease covenants (whether explicitly or implicitly).

Acquiring a holiday property is therefore something that needs careful consideration.

So where does that leave us?

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

A house in multiple occupation is a single property that’s let to 3 or more tenants from different families – think houses shared by young professionals or students.

There is a renaissance happening in the HMO market at present. Well designed, high quality and high spec properties for discerning tenants are beginning to distance themselves from the average house share or ‘student digs’ of yesteryear.

For the most part, these tenants value the social connectivity and flexibility that come with sharing, or co-living as it is becoming known. Unwilling to settle, they rent out of choice, yet the quality HMOs they’re after are in short supply.

With short supply and high demand the market is set for higher rents, but only if household budgets allow. Fortunately for all parties, HMO household budgets are abnormally high.

That’s not necessarily because tenants are abnormally wealthy. Instead, it’s because HMOs house a wage earner in each bedroom. That might mean five or six wage earners, for example, as opposed to the one or two associated with single lets.

Per tenant they pay significantly less than they would living alone, but still that lesser amount, multiplied by the 5 or 6 tenants in a HMO, can double a property’s rental income compared to it’s use as a single let.

It’s a match that makes HMOs particularly attractive to both tenants and landlords alike:

Tenants get flexibility, companionship and lower rents. Landlords benefit from yields that outstrip those of a single let by almost 2:1.

Source: Mortgages for Business Complex Buy to Let Index

All that said, HMOs cost more to maintain, require more management and really do require you to vet tenants properly. A passive investment HMOs are not.

But for those with a taste for an active investment, – or for those willing to find and use a reputable agent – sizeable returns usually mean HMOs warrant serious consideration.

How to get a (much) better return on buy-to-let property

So let’s compare the two ends of the spectrum. Over the past 8 years a single let has returned on average 5.7%. Over the same period an HMO has returned on average 9.6%. The right holiday let will do similar.

In my eyes, you’re looking at almost doubling your return while reducing void periods with an HMO and for more information on how HMO’s reduce void periods you need to read this).

Despite unfavourable government regulation, there are still clear and sizeable returns to be made from property.

The trick, of course, is knowing where to invest.

 

This article was supplied to us courtesy of Tom Charrier who is the Director of Living Space Property who can be contacted for more information by emailing tom@livingspaceproperty.uk

Tips to Make Short-Term Lets Work for You

The life of a successful landlord is full of decisions and hard work. Among the many decisions to make, is the type of tenant you want to attract – short- or long-term ones. There’s a lot to be said for both kinds of agreements. But they also both require quite different approaches if you want to make them work financially and for your tenants.

In this post, we’re taking a look at how to make short-term city lets work for Landlords and keep attracting the best tenants.

“Short-term lets can be hard work, but once you have a system in place that works, you could find the reward is well-worth the effort,” said Battersea estate agent, Eden Harper. “The convenience factor of short-term lets mean they come with a higher rent.”

Getting the Location and Services Right

The market for short-term lets is more diverse than you might think. They include business, holiday and in-between home renters. We’re going to focus on city lets in this post, which includes all of the above but not the coastal, countryside or homes for large groups.

For short-term city lets, there are some details that are non-negotiable. They include:

  • Location – it must be central and convenient for transport, popular office districts and/or site-seeing.
  • Easy-to-maintain – this includes the inside and outside. If the property has a garden, it should include a patio and a small easy-to care for lawn.
  • Cleaner – this could be offered as an option or simply be included as part of the services included in the rent.
  • All bills included – short-term tenants don’t want the inconvenience of registering for services and amenities. Help them avoid that with a single, all-inclusive rental charge.
  • Furnished – this goes without saying. Modern and neutral will work best, with items that are easy-to-replace.
  • Clean, simple décor – if you feel you want to dazzle your short-term tenants with some amazing décor then of course you can. But, when it comes to touching up the imperfections left by every tenant, it’s easier to match plain colours than replace a specific wallpaper design.

“Short-term lets are all about creating a property that’s easy and straight-forward to live-in and manage, for the tenant,” said Central London estate agent, LDG. “Whether the tenant is here for work, play or while they wait for something specific to happen, they don’t want to deal with tonnes of paperwork or hiring furniture.”

Never ending Maintenance

We’ve already mentioned this detail, but that’s because it’s pretty important and shouldn’t be overlooked in the world of short-term let investment and management. If you have a high-turnover of tenants, no matter how considerate they are, you will need to replace and repair details of your rental property in between each and every tenant you get.

This means you need to put a reliable system and network in place that you can trust to keep your property in excellent condition. If you can do that, then tenants will return and recommend you to others, giving your investment a better chance of remaining profitable.

When it comes to the cleaner, try to employ one who will do a regular clean and a thorough one before every new tenant. While most cleaners offer this, not all are equal so try a few out and shop around. It’s something you need to get right and that your tenants will appreciate.

With your décor, fixtures and fittings, try and have well-made, good-looking items that can be easily replaced with something similar, if the exact match is no longer available. Better still, where possible, buy some extras on your initial shopping trip so you have a stock of decent bath and bedroom linens, lamp shades, soft furnishings and kitchen accessories.

Yes, it might be a bigger outlay at the start, but it will mean you can get the property up-to-standard quickly and without any problems, in the future.

“Short-term lets do require planning and thought, but if you get it right, the tenants will be queuing up to rent it and tell all their friends about it too,” said Andrew Reeves. “Being a landlord is about providing housing for those who need it, but it has to work financially too. It takes hard work to do that, but the rewards do justify the means.”

This article was provided to us by Property Division who are a specialist PR company for Estate Agents.