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robin b'stard

Rental City, Norwich

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A good day today - bought a large prop North of Norwich last year from a vendor who lost the lot : wife, children, job, money and health.

Nice house, lots of space and potential that went for a song.

He was in misery and living in filth and wanted the place sold so he could move on - no wonder Mr. & Mrs Sheep were not interested as they could not see beyond the grime and smell, watched too many how to dress -a- house shows and could not bother to roll up the sleeves and save a bundle.

Nice tenants left last week, had two viewing's today - both were week workers who could only view on a weekend.

Viewer number 2 has already been round to the EA and dropped 6 months rent in advance and moves in Monday 21st July.

Yet another STR couple who expect to buy back in around 2010.

list of outstanding works across portfolio :

2 x boilers replace

2 x full house paint

1 x guttering replacement

100% tenancy rate / no rent arrears

1 x tenant respite care - HB continues to be paid

1 x tenant busted for growing pot in the garage - good payer

Smooth sailing just now.

Expect to be buying again soon - having problems being away from the next sale , maybe there is a recovery group for landlords no longer able to manage without picking up a rental ?

RB

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So... are you a good landlord, or one of those complete lazy gits who won't bother with repairs unless threatened with a void? Good to see you've got a checklist at least.

I'm personally having to take the void threat route this Monday after mine as decided he doesn't want to pay his letting agents £30 to replace a door handle...

Edited by DementedTuna

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Ah, okay... in that case apologies for my suspiciousness/ snappiness, it's good to hear from a decent landlord for once!

I have no problem with people who are going for rental yield, it's the damn capital gains pumpers that I hate. If all landlords were sensible investors and weren't "get rich quick" scum, the UK wouldn't be in such a bad state right now.

Let us know how the auctions go, I guess there's not much shifting at the moment, but it'll be interesting to see what happens when the buyer/seller standoff finally snaps.

Hope the door handle thing gets sorted and doesn't keep you awake at night..... don't think even I've ever posted as late as that!
I'm more of an early riser than a late sleeper. ;)

Oh, and have just found out that my letting agent is responsible for repairs, so in this case the blame lies with them, and I'm not too happy about them trying to pass the buck. It's my first time renting off a letting agent and I was somehow under the impression that they are held to higher standards than landlords.

Edited by DementedTuna

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I run a business that works through people - I provide long term safe, clean family accomodation with gas & electric safety certificates and a rent 10% below market i.e. 500 2x bed / 600 3x bed.

Nearly every prop has a large garden for the kids and a garage.

Never touched new builds, or anything with a yield less than 7%, LTV 70% aimed for, family homes only within 2/3 miles of the CBD.

Pets, smokers, children, DSS (but working) all welcome.

This time last year I was praying for a correction to the property market as mad money being paid for so called "investments" by people who had done thier best research on the back of a fag packet plus a wise word from a bloke "in the know" down the pub - as a result nothing worth buying available unless I bung a kid in a suit for a heads up on a distressed sale up for a quick sale.

Pulled out of buying property end of 2007, the day I witnessed a "mom & pop" duo in their 50's pay out 150k cash of thier life savings for a 2 bed prop in the silver triangle at 500 pm rental via auction. The prop needed at least 20k of works, no garage, no garden, next to a pub and on a main road. Similar props are now selling at 100k - madness.!!

This year I also pulled out of UK for tax free income streams as UK PLC is in for a rough trot for the next 4 - 5 years with the cost of living sucking up any spare cash - IMO.

Solid crew managing my 20+ props in Norfolk, yes I am in it for the yield first, put the props in a trust fund for the little B'stards to inherit and hopefully expand on a long second place.

I cannot see any investment reason to buy more props until 2010 earliest, plenty of time for a tan and learn the local lingo.

In the meantime refurbish every prop to a top spec, keep the rents static, work with tenants who are having a rough trot with the credit crunch and remove the tenants who will not accept responsibility to pay rent or keep me informed if financial problems occur.

Time lines for minor repairs 24 hours. Local tradesmen only no cowboys. i.e. KISS model (keep it simple stupid)

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Gt Yarmouth council have reduced the HB for two of my tenants - both sets of tenants are single parents and cannot take the 50 pound a month HB shortfall.

Both props remain cash flow positive.

Options :

1. Write off the loss and keep tenants as they both want to stay, reassess in 6 months.

2. Ask for 20 pm top up only, reassess in 6 months.

3. Evict and replace with working tenants who can pay the full rental.

4. Argue with housing dept. to provide HB or face housing tenants at expensive BB.

Hmmm -

Property North of Norwich re-let to tenants paying 6 months upfront - yet another STR family awaiting the mother of all crash before they buy back in.

Elderly tenant admitted to hospital for major surgery, council called to advise assisted home help service will be provided after home is fitted with assisted living facilities i.e. rails and stair lift.

EA continue to call with deals, sooo many desparate sellers out there.

Landlords with cash making 30% BMV offers for investment property i.e. 70k for 3 bed ex la props - methinks more correction to come for props in working class / LA areas.

RB

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Landlords with cash making 30% BMV offers for investment property i.e. 70k for 3 bed ex la props - methinks more correction to come for props in working class / LA areas.

RB

Oh sh!t! As a leaseholder of an ex-LA flat, that does slightly worry me.

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Oh sh!t! As a leaseholder of an ex-LA flat, that does slightly worry me.

I steer away from Ex la leasholds - Gt Yarmouth purchases were long lease / low service charge, two floor only, 2 bed, cashflow 10%+ after refurbish, maisonettes with gardens, garages and within 2 miles of CBD. Very long list of potential tenants on the Gt Yarmouth council housing list.

Methinks leasehold ex LA in Norwich will hit bottom soon with sold signs when cashflow over 10% i.e. 400 rent / 40k purchase prices.

Lenders will be thin on the ground for BTL LA leaseholds loans, i.e. banks, housing associations and landlords with deep pockets only need apply.

Weekend mom + pop BTL tribe already extinct.

How many bedrooms ? where located ? high rise ? garage ? how long lease ? service charges ? Your PPOR or are you BTL ? any overhang from council if you sell ?

Unless you have to sell, remortgage or release equity for five years - there is little to be concerned about, keep working and keep payments on the loan - big error to lose credit rating in this era. Subprime loans are now over 10% + 70% LTV !!

Worse case scenario auction / lease option / rent to buy / housing association sub lease / council distress housing / rent out move in with parents (RMP), methinks RMP will be the next big thing for many.

Nice hot day in a tax free overseas location tapping away on a lap top while Mrs RB cools in the pool - must go join her.

RB

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- the exit from UK for sun, sand and zero tax is now very very boring.

One tenant lost his job - NCC taking up to 12 weeks to process HB, good tenant has a family and the last thing he needs is a LL hassling for rent he does not have, will write off a weeks rent and the rest he can make up.

Previous repairs completed - all ready for the winter weather.

Prop manager informs me that she is being called on a daily basis for rentals from families desparate to find accomodation as LL wants to sell up and has given notice to quit.

One very sad case - tenant opened LL letters and discovered repo process was under way and the LL was no longer paying the mortgage, she is in a bad way as she has young kids at local schools and she wants to stay in the inner ring road area. Things are grim for her. The LL has 24 BTL in the Norwich area that I know of !!

Credit crunch issue is worse than I expected, house prices can only go south until such times as lending opens up and interest rates fall.

I expect 50% falls on ex la flats, new build estate boxes and small inner city terraces from June 2007 peak - June 2009. i.e. 120k - 60k / 500 pm rents. The sad part is at 60k on a 500 rental - lending will be impossible without a 20% dep.

If cash flow does not improve to take advantage of price falls - I may have to consider sending out Mrs B'stard to find a J-O-B :(

Time for a swim and a beer.....

RB

Edited by robin b'stard

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- the exit from UK for sun, sand and zero tax is now very very boring.

One tenant lost his job - NCC taking up to 12 weeks to process HB, good tenant has a family and the last thing he needs is a LL hassling for rent he does not have, will write off a weeks rent and the rest he can make up.

Previous repairs completed - all ready for the winter weather.

Prop manager informs me that she is being called on a daily basis for rentals from families desparate to find accomodation as LL wants to sell up and has given notice to quit.

One very sad case - tenant opened LL letters and discovered repo process was under way and the LL was no longer paying the mortgage, she is in a bad way as she has young kids at local schools and she wants to stay in the inner ring road area. Things are grim for her. The LL has 24 BTL in the Norwich area that I know of !!

Credit crunch issue is worse than I expected, house prices can only go south until such times as lending opens up and interest rates fall.

I expect 50% falls on ex la flats, new build estate boxes and small inner city terraces from June 2007 peak - June 2009. i.e. 120k - 60k / 500 pm rents. The sad part is at 60k on a 500 rental - lending will be impossible without a 20% dep.

If cash flow does not improve to take advantage of price falls - I may have to consider sending out Mrs B'stard to find a J-O-B :(

Time for a swim and a beer.....

RB

I like your frank stories. And you have a heart, letting the good tenant off a few weeks. Plenty of landlords are too dumb and greedy to take the long term view of looking after a decent tenant.

Do you have any knowledge of the prices in N Norfolk, Sheringham-Holt-Cromer triangle-ish? They seem very high, plenty of retired demand, and according to property snake drops have been minimal circa 8% max, unlike the 30-40% max for some properties elsewhere in Norfolk. We have a nice new build rental house in Sheringham which the developer could not sell so he became a landlord, and got our 2 kids into a great school there, so will be looking to expend our STR fund on a 4 bed detached when the bloo** prices start to drop in a bigger way. Any tips? I am hoping a few forced sales from geriatric deaths (natural deaths! I am not that desperate) this winter with places in 70's decor will come up cheap, but they often seem to be bland bungalows....

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I expect 50% falls on ex la flats, new build estate boxes and small inner city terraces from June 2007 peak - June 2009. i.e. 120k - 60k / 500 pm rents.

The 2 bed terraces should be affected less than flats and Bovis Boxes? Do you think the small stuff will go down more % than the 4 bed detacheds overall or are we just experiencing a time lag before the bigger stuff falls?

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I like your frank stories. And you have a heart, letting the good tenant off a few weeks. Plenty of landlords are too dumb and greedy to take the long term view of looking after a decent tenant.

Do you have any knowledge of the prices in N Norfolk, Sheringham-Holt-Cromer triangle-ish? They seem very high, plenty of retired demand, and according to property snake drops have been minimal circa 8% max, unlike the 30-40% max for some properties elsewhere in Norfolk. We have a nice new build rental house in Sheringham which the developer could not sell so he became a landlord, and got our 2 kids into a great school there, so will be looking to expend our STR fund on a 4 bed detached when the bloo** prices start to drop in a bigger way. Any tips? I am hoping a few forced sales from geriatric deaths (natural deaths! I am not that desperate) this winter with places in 70's decor will come up cheap, but they often seem to be bland bungalows....

CB - I love your pic - the cig, the hair net, the smooth child like features, when I am in town next perhaps ...... :rolleyes:

I have a few BTL "rurals" in N. Walsham, Cromer + Mundesley, solid victorian villas that I picked up for a song years ago. Tenants have been a dream, they are all local people with family ties in the area going back decades and they take pride in thier homes.

I do not bother with bland bungalows, they are overpriced and do not stack for rental.

N. Norfolk is "slow-time" - never in a rush to be ahead of the game, locals mainly on fixed incomes and budgets so they live accordingly, unless they have been stupid and then they run to the local EA who will snap up the prop via his long list of clients who want to move rural.

North Norfolk is still very popular with the London worker who wants to retire and escape the "smoke" by selling off his prop which has gone up a hundred fold.

IMO do not expect massive drops in the rural N Norfolk triangle unless it is a distressed sale or you have networked direct.

On the plus side of rural BTL investing in N. Norfolk - wages low, HP out of reach for locals on 20k or less. Tenants with families stay long term, to ensure solid returns we aim for rentals just under the council basic i.e. 550 for 2 bed + 600 for 3 beds.

Never bothered with new builds - too expensive and do not stack for yield, no price appreciation to be gained from refurb / modernisation. New builds seem always to be on estates with competition from other LL driving down rents, similarily flats are fiddley, expensive round trips to deal with transient tenant types is a waste of time/money

- N. Norfolk rurals are nice long term rental earners. The halcion days of massive HPI are over so its back to solid yields and cap gain a mere bonus again.

We looked at Greshams for the little B'stards, we also looked at the Holt -Sher.- Cromer triangle for a decent PPOR with 1/4 acre garden for the dogs - Mrs. B'stard was keane to play out the good life fantasy - a bit toooo rural and incestious for me. One professional we met from the city explained to us that moving to Rural Norfolk was like living at a golden gulag - ther are unwritten codes out there which if broken can mean forced isolation towards townies and other strangers.

We bought North of Norwich instead, excellent prep/boarding school just outside N. Norwich, Less than 30 mins to the airport or coast whenever we feel like it and at hand to deal with the props we own in Norwich ( yields better in Norwich than rurals). In the end it was cheaper to buy 5 miles out of Norwich and have access to city / country / sea / air / train / motorways compared with an extra 100k price just to live rural and surrounded by "them".

IMO the key to house price falls in N Norfolk will be jobs / transport costs, as jobs shrink and transport costs escalate - living rural will become too expensive for essentials that need to be transported i.e. food and services - ergo massive falls on big props housing small families with big mortgages.

Buying a bargain prop from a Norfolk type oldie is no simple thing, they all know the value of money and hate outsiders taking advantage, they will want every penny they can get, stubborn and vocal if you try a low ball offer - the odd shotgun pellet if you are too cheeky.

If I was aiming to bag a lavish PPOR in the N. Norfolk triangle with my STR fund I would wait out until 2010 at least - HP falls have a long way to go yet, If I was in a hurry to buy than I would invest in a leaflet drop in all the appropriate best streets for a quick sale and bag a distressed seller before they are repossessed - I would also offer a big commission bonus to the local area EA for leads on a quick sale BMV PPOR on the best streets only.

If I was determined - I would sit at the local county courts and leave my card with lenders who gain repossession of an appropriate prop and solicit them.

Auctions are a scam - keep away from rural prop sales via auction unless you have the full spec and real reason for the sale.

HTH

The

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The 2 bed terraces should be affected less than flats and Bovis Boxes? Do you think the small stuff will go down more % than the 4 bed detacheds overall or are we just experiencing a time lag before the bigger stuff falls?

IMO its to do with FTB fodder - the average FTB on less than 20k wants a certain type of prop. i.e. 2 bed terrace love nest before the little b'stards come along.

The FTB is a lot more savvy than before, they want value for money and will steer away from ex la + new build boxes, its the 2 bed with a garden that will appeals most.

3 x salary (20k) + some sort of government assisted deposit scheme will set the target price for FTB props, i.e. 60k ish - not hype and cheap money like the old days.

If the credit crunch continues then BTL investors will be extinct due to a lack of funds, I am also aware that changes to tenancies may come in soon protecting tenants rights and scaring lenders off from lending for BTL. This will open the door to FTB picking up props that investors once took as a rental basic.

The 4 bed monsters on new build estates i.e. Thorpe marriott will plummet as repo's hit the army of the soon to be unemployed - latest stats reckon 4 million unemployed by the next election - how many of the soon to be unemployed will have once owned 4 bed new build monsters ? more interesting who will lend without a significant deposit ( who will have the cash ?)

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CB - I love your pic - the cig, the hair net, the smooth child like features, when I am in town next perhaps ...... :rolleyes:

I have a few BTL "rurals" in N. Walsham, Cromer + Mundesley, solid victorian villas that I picked up for a song years ago. Tenants have been a dream, they are all local people with family ties in the area going back decades and they take pride in thier homes.

I do not bother with bland bungalows, they are overpriced and do not stack for rental.

N. Norfolk is "slow-time" - never in a rush to be ahead of the game, locals mainly on fixed incomes and budgets so they live accordingly, unless they have been stupid and then they run to the local EA who will snap up the prop via his long list of clients who want to move rural.

North Norfolk is still very popular with the London worker who wants to retire and escape the "smoke" by selling off his prop which has gone up a hundred fold.

IMO do not expect massive drops in the rural N Norfolk triangle unless it is a distressed sale or you have networked direct.

On the plus side of rural BTL investing in N. Norfolk - wages low, HP out of reach for locals on 20k or less. Tenants with families stay long term, to ensure solid returns we aim for rentals just under the council basic i.e. 550 for 2 bed + 600 for 3 beds.

Never bothered with new builds - too expensive and do not stack for yield, no price appreciation to be gained from refurb / modernisation. New builds seem always to be on estates with competition from other LL driving down rents, similarily flats are fiddley, expensive round trips to deal with transient tenant types is a waste of time/money

- N. Norfolk rurals are nice long term rental earners. The halcion days of massive HPI are over so its back to solid yields and cap gain a mere bonus again.

We looked at Greshams for the little B'stards, we also looked at the Holt -Sher.- Cromer triangle for a decent PPOR with 1/4 acre garden for the dogs - Mrs. B'stard was keane to play out the good life fantasy - a bit toooo rural and incestious for me. One professional we met from the city explained to us that moving to Rural Norfolk was like living at a golden gulag - ther are unwritten codes out there which if broken can mean forced isolation towards townies and other strangers.

We bought North of Norwich instead, excellent prep/boarding school just outside N. Norwich, Less than 30 mins to the airport or coast whenever we feel like it and at hand to deal with the props we own in Norwich ( yields better in Norwich than rurals). In the end it was cheaper to buy 5 miles out of Norwich and have access to city / country / sea / air / train / motorways compared with an extra 100k price just to live rural and surrounded by "them".

IMO the key to house price falls in N Norfolk will be jobs / transport costs, as jobs shrink and transport costs escalate - living rural will become too expensive for essentials that need to be transported i.e. food and services - ergo massive falls on big props housing small families with big mortgages.

Buying a bargain prop from a Norfolk type oldie is no simple thing, they all know the value of money and hate outsiders taking advantage, they will want every penny they can get, stubborn and vocal if you try a low ball offer - the odd shotgun pellet if you are too cheeky.

If I was aiming to bag a lavish PPOR in the N. Norfolk triangle with my STR fund I would wait out until 2010 at least - HP falls have a long way to go yet, If I was in a hurry to buy than I would invest in a leaflet drop in all the appropriate best streets for a quick sale and bag a distressed seller before they are repossessed - I would also offer a big commission bonus to the local area EA for leads on a quick sale BMV PPOR on the best streets only.

If I was determined - I would sit at the local county courts and leave my card with lenders who gain repossession of an appropriate prop and solicit them.

Auctions are a scam - keep away from rural prop sales via auction unless you have the full spec and real reason for the sale.

HTH

The

Thanks Robin, that advice was superb, far better than I ever imagined I would get! I really did not know about Norfolk "them" people and will watch out for upsetting them, especially Tony Martin shotgun types. Great tips for finding a place. Wife went to Brown and co today and is salivating at several £270-299k nice detached 4-6 bedroom homes, but I told her that if they won't accept 200k cash now we should not bother. Even that worries me as I am convinced they will be down to 160k ish in 2 years, given the factors you mentioned plus additionall factors of costly oil fired heating handicaps plus distressed newly unemployed city boys being forced to sell their country pads/holiday home investments. And boy are the wages low up there.

Meanwhile we have to find a detached home to rent with garden big enough for our 3 Caribbean outdoor dogs (they have never lived inside so I will need to build a shed or use an existing outbuilding for them to spend winter sleeping in, with doggy coats!). If you hear or have any suitable property within 0-8 miles of Sheringham please let me know, will pay rent 6 monthly in advance. If I can find a nice rural pad for under a bag of sand a month, I hope to be able to placate the Mrs by showing her 2-4k monthly falls in the kind of houses we want to buy, until the time to strike comes. PS - loved the ambulance-chasing type tip for county courts, I would never thought of that one! And I am glad you have confirmed my fears of auctions.

Edited by Caribbean Beauty

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CB

Just advertise in the local paper, at the post office and with EA in the area, you will be spoilt for choice.

Have you considered a rent to buy option on a new build ? The builders are desperate.

RB

Thanks Robin. I started off emailing a useless EA in Holt, Andrew Pointen MD of Pointens, who was totally utterly disinterested in my hard earned £ and was as helpful as a paper condom and exhibited similar levels of customer service as the 3rd Reich complaints department. Which I told him of course (no reply, head up his own backside). His loss - I did tell him that had he assisted us with the rental he might have earned comission when we decide to spend our STR find in a couple of years. However, I suspect he knows the writing will be on the wall for him long before then, Holt is a small town with estimated 3-5 EAs all opposite each other, something has to give.

Meanwhile I found a cute totally rural surrounded-by-sheep 3 bed bungalow outside Cromer with garden and helpful agents who immediately spoke with the landlord who confirmed our 3 dogs wd be acceptable for outdoor-shed-living, did not even mind if I erect a B&Q winter shed for them either. I called the wife and she visited and signed on the dotted line, we get it from 1st November. All for the absurdly cheap rent of £600 per month. I am guessing the landlord took your view, realising that a non-DSS family with young kids and dogs won't do a moonlight flit and is more likely to stay awhile and not host crack orgies (sadly!).

This will be a great way to test rural living (when we last lived in the Uk we resided next to the runway at Heathrow in a suburban hell-hole) and if we suffer to much trouble from the locals and their shotguns we can retreat to a quiet town when we eventually choose to buy.

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Hi Catflap -

You are getting wiser by the day on the hard nosed issues affecting the residential property market around Norwich - my son B)

I do not know when buying a property as a home/investment passed from a serious 20 year plus commitment that must be profitable to just another form of brand shopping as one whizzed around Tesco's and putting the cost on the plastic card.

You are correct, many who bought a home or investment property without due diligence , maximum mortgage and no positive cashflow from rents or income will go under and lose the lot, plus bankcruptcy on top.

Sanity prices for homes and rental investments according to income or rent will come back to the market as quickly as a drunk sobering up - the cheap credit binge is over and the long hangover is coming up as soon as 4th qtr 2008 to the next election at least.

On the plus side - UK is a cold and wet island and a home is a must - owner occupied or rental, birth rates and divorce rates are high and the demand for more homes rise by the year. There will always be a market for affordable homes in UK.

The key as you rightly state acquiring appropriate cash deposit 20% + good credit rating + job or income proof to repay the debt. Sadly there are many millions who do not have such items and will rely on LL to provide decent rental housing. I doubt the NCC will ever go back to a major house building policy -

As for buying rural props via auction ....

Rural props have unique issues that come up i.e. right of way to cross land, right of way to dig up the land for utility companies, certain trees cannot be removed despite the strain the roots may be putting on house foundations, pest infestation, flood risk, border disputes, fencing disputes, lighting and main road access/repair covenants to name but a few items that do not come up at the time of auction or in the literature.

Let alone repair costs turning expensive trying to repair rain/wind damaged rural properties and getting labour out to repair minor items can be pricey.

A friend of mine purchased a 4 bed prop in N Walsham via auction in 2007, seemed a good price 250k, 3 months after moving in - a bus stop was erected in front of his home for the local school kids !! he tried to sue his sols, the previous owners and the auction house with no luck, the NCC refused to change the bus stop and his peace of mind has been affected by it all, careful diligence by a switched on sol should have picked up the issue, in the rush to complete - the detail was omitted.

Now that we have a credit crunch - much harder to get accurate valuation post auction on unique rural props due to a lack of comparables, larger deposit will be needed to get a mortgage.

Auctions are not safe for purchasing rural props unless you have vital intel. and know the local issues well.Auction = buyer be extra beware.

"To bid or not to bid: the lure of the auction" Times 2007

Amateurs should be wary of placing a hasty bid in the excitement of it all.

PAUL HOLMES has the best piece of advice on auctions. “Don’t bid,” confides the operations director of Firstrung.co.uk.

“Putting up your paddle is, in some ways, the dumbest thing you can do at an auction.” It’s not that Holmes advises against seeking bargains in the sale room – he thinks more struggling buyers should recognise the chance to buy cheaply and “build in some sweat equity”.

But, emboldened by press coverage and TV shows such as Homes Under the Hammer, auction amateurs are beginning to dominate UK sales – and some are overpaying in the belief that anything sold at auction is a bargain.

Owner-occupiers, or wannabe developers, are helping to make auctions big business.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors says that the number of lots has tripled in a decade to 25,112 a year; the amount raised increasing eightfold to £5.2 billion. The Essential Information Group, which tracks auction results, says that 3,371 lots went under the hammer in June, up 34.9 per cent on the past year alone.

Amateur buyers are rushing in just as the professionals – developers, builders and buy-to-let investors – are struggling to make the sums add up.

For Marcus Jays, a former estate agent turned property trader, this means he can often resell run-down properties without needing to do them up, such are the prices being paid. And he says: “More often than not, when I am outbid these days it is by an owner-occupier.”

The risk is that such buyers may get carried away and forget that auctions are often the easiest method of disposal for properties with legal or structural problems.

A recent survey for Standard Life Bank found that 98 per cent of buyers thought they would save money by buying at auction – but less than half would pay for a survey. Yet buyers who fail to do their research risk being unable to secure a mortgage.

Even experienced buyers can run into trouble on their first foray to the saleroom. Laura Sawyer and Kathleen Crane have bought and sold several London flats and are confident redevelopers. But when they spotted a 17th-century stone and cob cottage in Devon after two years of searching, they found themselves overpaying. Sawyer says: “We didn’t pay more than we wanted, but in hindsight we could have paid less if we had not been so green. When the bidding started, the adrenalin rush was unreal.”

Holmes, of Firstrung, advocates making an offer before the sale – or afterwards, on an unsold property, on which an owner might be willing to negotiate. “Think of the auction as the centrepiece of a West End show,” he says. “You have the rehearsal and the after-show party, which are the presales and postsales, where the best opportunities might be.”

Buyers should also note that opportunities vary across the regions as sentiment shifts. Bidders in London and the South East can expect stiff competition, but increasing numbers of auction properties fail to sell in the North and Midlands. A small investor might object to a low sales price and hang on to the property, but institutions such as banks have fewer qualms. Holmes says that low sales rates are an opportunity. “If sound fundamentals begin to appear, then priced-out first-time buyers may be in the ideal situation finally to reap the rewards.” www.eigroup.co.uk

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  • 399 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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