Showing posts from February, 2017

Are you ready to start a new buy to let project in Clapham?

I am very excited to announce I've completed on another flat. I thought I'd take this opportunity to share a little more about it. Perhaps it will inspire you to take the plunge. By all means get in touch and I'd be happy to help you with your next purchase.
I've got the video posted here, so follow the link and enjoy the tour. And if you'd like to see it in the flesh, well all you have to do is ask!

In a nutshell it will be a 3bed to 4bed conversion. The property requires some serious upgrading. New electrics, new bathroom and WC and new kitchen, so whilst I'm at it I will shift things around a little bit and offer a superior product. From 3 bedrooms and one WC it will become a fully refurbished 4 double bedroom 3 bathroom apartment. This will increase the potential rental from its current £1600pcm to approximately £2800pcm.

Current layout

Proposed layout

Artist impression

If you are looking for excellent returns on your new buy to let, why not get in touch and…

Is individual room council tax banding killing off HMOs in Clapham?

I've been getting a lot of feedback through the investor grapevine that HMOs (House in Multiple Occupation. Generally let room-by-room, nobody knows each other, each bedroom is effectively a household) are getting more and more difficult to run. You will have heard about new regulations, I'm sure, for "vanilla" buy to let properties over the years. You have to carry out Right to Rent checks, you have to deliver the "How to Rent" booklet and much more of course. HMO managers have even more red tape to contend with. I won't bore you with all that now of course.

The real attack here via the council tax. Some councils in the country have taken to banding HMOs by the room, not by the whole property.
What does this mean? Well in layman terms you as the landlord or HMO manager will be paying the bills (including of course, council tax), and this bill will go up substantially. Naturally a room is of less value than a whole house, but an HMO of say 6 rooms charg…

5 Things you need to know before buying your next investment property in Clapham

I get probably a call a week asking for the "best" property to buy. Truth be told the adjective is quite vague, really. Are you looking to add value? Are you looking to park your money and forget about it? Are you looking to buy something to sell on straight away? Whatever you're planning on doing with your next property these are key things that you need to keep in mind.

Run the numbers. Borrowing is a cost. Voids are a cost (you pay the bills - gas/elec/c tax whilst it's empty). Are you planning to sell the property on? Buying with cash is great but factor in opportunity cost too. Service charges, insurance, letting fees. Build a spreadsheet or email me for mine so you can tailor it. If you are looking to resell the property have you factored in the cost of the selling agent and the bridging finance for a period 50% longer than you think it will take because... well sales fall through don't they. Then plan b - point 2 below:
Does the rental income cover AT LEAST…

High Yield HMOs vs Low Yield New Build - which is best in Clapham?

An often discussed metric in property, but what is it exactly?

Well there's different kinds of metric to measure the performance of an investment, and gross yield is probably the most basic form of measurement.
So what does it tell us? Well it tells us, broadly, how the investment will perform. Generally a yield of 4%-6% is the going rate for a London property, even less in Central London, more on the outskirts as generally the "safer" an investment the lower the yield. For reference let's remember the interest you get from your savings will be 0.5%-1%. But "safe as houses" varies, as does yield!
So let's drill this down a bit further. The above is only really relevant if you buy the whole property with cash and you ignore all the annual expenses. Truth is you won't generally buy with cash and you have to pay for letting fees, voids, repairs and insurance (and a lot more, I'm sure). So does that mean we have to measure net yield? Maybe. …

Why you should be getting a judgment against your tenants in Clapham

A commonly discussed topic of course when you are a landlord - rent arrears. For some it's a dreaded time of the month, that time when you sneak at your online banking to see if the tenants have actually paid you... It won't be trouble 99% of the time of course as you use a reputable agent with stringent referencing criteria to help you find the best tenant. But there's always that 1%...!

As aforementioned most tenancies go without a hitch, not even a late payment; well once you're over the hurdle of making sure the standing order is set up properly it's a "set up and forget" system isn't it? This whole process of paying rent is done by the bank's computer and does the work for the tenant; they forget the process as it's automated. Wages go in, rent goes out. Simple. But what if there is no money there to pay the rent to start with? Uh-oh...
It is entirely possible that the successful marketing manager has found themselves in troubled times a…

The Changing Face of Property Finance - effects on your Clapham Property Investing

This month at the Clapham Property Meet...!
Trevor and Jeroen welcome Martin Smedley, a property finance expert with 30 years' experience in the financial services sector working predominantly in the commercial mortgage sector. Martin has extensive experience with Commercial mortgages, Development Finance, Refurbishment Finance, HMO funding, Bridging and of course Buy To Let.
This month's talk will be on the changing lending landscape and how you can make sure you can finance your next investment! 

Jeroen and Trevor discuss adding value to rental properties and how to seek out the best yielding properties.
And the monthly Q&A where you can get your questions answered! Please feel free to email your questions in beforehand to

Format of the evening:
6:00-7:00: Arrival and networking
7:00-7:15 - Introduction and Market Update with Jeroen and Trevor
7:15-7:45 - Martin Smedley - the Changing Face of Property Finance in 2017
7:45-8:05 - Jero…

5 ways to add value to your investments in Clapham in 2017!

I mentioned in my last post that it is becoming increasingly difficult to make a living as a regular buy to let landlord. This year is the year of having to add value somehow, simply buying and parking an investment will not get you the returns that you did in years gone by. With the increased red tape, taxation and scarcity of good deals you will have to work that little bit harder in order to maximise every pound you invest.
Here's 5 ways to add value and make better returns:
Yes it's as it sounds, you let the same property with sharers but instead of letting it on one tenancy you let it room by room. You CAN make better returns employing this strategy, but do check the terms of your mortgage, some lenders prohibit it. Point to note is that it will be more time intensive and potentially you will have a void now and again. Not for the time poor. You will need to add value to the customer by including bills such as gas, electric, broadband and the such.
Extend - the sk…

Are you adding value to your investments to get the best returns in Clapham?

Last night was definitely a great success - a packed room full of investors looking to advance their journey in property investment. We had Mike Holt deliver a fascinating talk on using your pension funds to invest in property, be it someone else's or even your own! Very good insight and some very good tax tips too.
Trevor Cutmore

Full House!
I discussed finding the best deals using traditional estate agents, but of course making the most of the tools available, whether sharp or not of course.

In other news – and this was discussed last night in more detail – prime central London sales  are down 21%. This is obviously down to stamp duty (as the pound has devalued you’d expect more foreign investment). This highlights a massive problem for investors in that they have to create value. Value add is the new investing. You can’t make any sort of returns by simply buying a buy to let and parking it and hoping for capital growth, this is simply a non-investment. More on that next time.