Wednesday 24 May 2017

Where to find the best deals - in Clapham?

A lot of regular readers ask me where I source my property investments from. The truth is I'm something of an expert in finding deals "in plain sight..."

In plain sight? You mean through agents?
Yes, often times the properties that are the most attractive are the ones that have been sitting around for ages. The agent has lost interest, the owner disheartened about achieving the once "very realistic price" the agent pitched the asking price at. So then it's time to get to work...! Rightmove and Zoopla are your friend!

There are many other methods of finding great investments though, and a lot of good systems exist in order to have sellers calling you! Believe it or not there are people out there that make this a business (called sourcing). They could be property investors in their own right, like myself, who don't want to take a particular property because it doesn't fit their strategy (maybe capital gain vs cash flow, who knows) and they sell on the deal to a fellow investor for a fee. Once it's packaged up in a nice little box with a ribbon around it another investor could "buy" the deal from you and you've earned a sourcing/packaging fee.

Can I do this?
So if you are a starting investor and don't have any capital as yet, perhaps too little experience to invest 6 digit sums confidently, you want to be sourcing investment deals for others that are too busy to look around for bargains. Their time is money after all and they'd happily pay a few thousand pounds to bag a bargain. They, after all, do have 6 figure sums sitting there waiting to be invested. If it sits there it's not earning a good return so they'd happily pay you to kick start the returns.

Direct to Vendor?
A lot of the systems are indeed direct to vendor. You market to owners of properties for sale that could represent opportunities for investors. You could leaflet all day if you wanted but there are much cleverer systems than that...

So how do you start?
Well I'd love to give you an overview of how these systems work and help you source better investments. Be it for yourself or whether you want to become a professional sourcer, this event should give you an overview on the systems used by professional property investors to find themselves really good deals.

FREE, just register online!
Just before this month's Clapham Property Meet we're going to hold an interactive talk to discuss these methods (D2V and through agents) of deal sourcing. A talk not to miss if you want to get underway in property investment. If you want to make sure that you get a spot BOOK ON HERE.
We would love for you to stay and join us for the actual Clapham Property Meet also. David Clouter, investor of 30+ years experience will be doing a talk on Property Cycles. How to spot a downturn and make sure you're investing in the right property at the right time! BOOK YOUR TICKET FOR THAT EVENT HERE.

Tuesday 16 May 2017

Buy to Let - is it still viable in south London?

An interesting question this week - I had a long standing client phone me and discuss why rents were on the slight decrease throughout his portfolio. It would seem the aftereffects of Brexit, stamp duty changes and many more things are still lingering in the south London rental market - he had to reduce some of his rents by £10pw or so. It's not massive, but a sign of the times still. 

First time buyers
Some may say that renting is less popular now than it was 12 months ago; more tenants are flocking to purchase their own home and stop spending (wasting?) money on rent. Let me tell you that this isn't true. Research suggests that the average age of the first time buyer has stayed fairly stable through the years, as the graph will illustrate. My common sense also tells me that tenants haven't suddenly saved enough for a deposit to go out and buy a property. 

What?So what has caused rents to stagnate? Well firstly we find ourselves in late spring-ish time, which is not quite peak letting time. As you'll know from my previous articles the best time to let your property is in August/September time; a time where students flock to London and the big firms are commencing their graduate programmes (and yes, of course housing is left til the last minute, creating the "gold rush"). This could have a part to play in a low/same rent being achieved on a new let, but we're talking renewals here. My client's tenants must have done a bit of research to ascertain they could get same/similar value elsewhere. They must see value elsewhere, so perhaps still a hangover from last year's new buy to let investors, all quick to offer a competitive price to entice tenants. Hardly professional is it, competing on price?

ImportantOn a new let therefore, it is crucial to differentiate on quality. I have always found it is crucial to dress the property like a show home. The old school of thought is "but they're tenants, they'll wreck it anyway" does not apply anymore (if it ever did!). Quite simply if you provide a quality product you will get better rent and in turn this better rent will more than likely be paid by someone who takes more pride in their home, ensuring that your property and its fixtures and fittings last longer, a win-win. Taylor Wimpey doesn't build show homes because they have nothing better to do, it works! So next time you are letting or selling an empty shell, think again. I have very good links with furniture suppliers and can help you furnish your rental or sales property in order to achieve the maximum price and more crucially achieve a quick transaction; after all, time is money!

Alas there is little that you can do if you are finding that your tenants are reluctant to pay a higher price for your product. Perhaps it's time to be honest with yourself - is your property up to scratch? Is it offering the best quality it can? Can you not viably improve it any more? If you answer those questions honestly you will probably predict your rent level for next year...!

My expertise is, as you may already know, in residential buy to let, specifically in South London. Do you own properties that you think need some tweaking in order to get the best out of them? Perhaps you don't own any yet and don't know where to start? I have built entire portfolios for many of my clients and they are very happy with the returns they have been able to achieve. Residential property lettings gives a stable return and as I invest in South London you will know that the capital appreciation is fairly predictable and resilient in tougher economic times. If you are looking to invest or improve your current portfolio touch base via email and see how I can help you today. Email me on and start the conversation.

Wednesday 3 May 2017

Refurbishment tour Deptford

With works underway at my latest development in Deptford I've been inundated with requests for faces old and new to have a look around at the project in progress. I'm pleased to report that so far several visits have proven very useful and I was able to answer a lot of practical questions. 

Naturally I would like to offer the same value to my readers who may not have reached out to me in the past, so if you are one of the first 5 people responding to this you can join me and a few others on a group walk-around of my project in progress. 

During the walk-around we will cover:

  • How to change a layout effectively without compromising rooms and making them useless
  • Keep your exit strategy in mind
  • Decor and finishing tips at builders merchant pricing, I'll show you where and how to get the prices and create the wow factor for peanuts. Remember it's got to look expensive without being expensive
  • And much more of course

So if you want to tag along then send me a quick line to book a spot. I'm limiting this to the first 5 people, midday on 20th May. If you want to join and can make it then let me know and I'll gladly show you the project. Email me And hope to see you soon. If you can't make this date then hopefully I'll see you at the launch day in order to showcase the finished product. 

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