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Monday 29 April 2024

Managing A Property Abroad: Five Things Southampton Landlords Should Know


Five Things You Should Know about Owning a Buy-to-Let Abroad

Investing in a buy-to-let abroad can be a tempting prospect. Owning your own little piece of paradise while earning a rental income can seem like a win-win scenario.

However, it’s essential to have realistic expectations about the challenges landlords face when managing a property overseas.

Here are five things to consider before investing in an overseas rental.

The distance factor

Managing maintenance and repairs is difficult when you live hundreds of miles away (especially if you don’t speak the local language). As a result, most landlords get an agent to manage the property for them. As you won’t be able to check what’s going on with your own eyes, you’re reliant on your agent to be true to their word.

Local rules 

Every country has its own rules about foreign property ownership, so do your research before you commit. If you plan to live in your property for part of the year and rent it out for the rest of the time, there may be limits on how long you can stay in the country. 

Tenant selection and communication

One of the biggest challenges long-distance landlords face is screening tenants. As it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to meet prospective tenants in person, you’ll need to rely on your managing agent’s judgement. And once they’re living in the property, communication could be problematic if the tenants don’t speak English and you don’t speak the local lingo.

Holiday lets

Some landlords opt to rent their property to holidaymakers on a weekly basis as they can usually charge more for short-term lets. However, as occupancy rates can fluctuate, your property could be empty for long stretches in the off-season. Also, there have been horror stories about people having their idyllic properties completely trashed by stag and hen parties, so you’ll need a clear strategy to deter troublemakers.

Tax implications

Always seek professional tax advice based on your individual situation. You’ll need to navigate the tax rules in the country where your property is located, as well as the UK. 

Do your sums

If you’re weighing up whether to invest in a buy-to-let at home or abroad, consider your priorities carefully. While it’s impossible to guarantee blue skies and sunshine in the UK, you may find returns and occupancy rates here in Southampton offer greater certainty.

Call us here at Belvoir Southampton today to discuss your buy-to-let investment plans for the future.


Friday 26 April 2024

Southampton Homeowners: Miss The 1st Of June 2024 Deadline And You Might Miss Christmas In Your New Home

As May comes into view, with the anticipation of the warm summer months ahead of us, with sun-drenched hot beaches and cold ice cream, the thoughts and contemplations of Christmas seem a million miles away.

Yet many people who wish to move would like to be in for Christmas.

If that is you, listen up, as you might be surprised by what I tell you. Southampton home buyers and sellers dreaming of celebrating Christmas 2024 in a new home, the time to act is running out.

The property landscape has evolved significantly over the past few years, reflecting changes in buyer behaviour and the intricacies of the transaction process itself.

Recent statistics from the UK property market reveal some thought-provoking trends.

From April 2023 to April 2024, UK properties took an average of 69 days from listing their home for sale with an agent to an agreed sale, with a subsequent 112 days to completion (i.e. completion is when the keys and monies change hands). That’s a total of 181 days. This is a shift from the previous year (April 2022 to April 2023), where it took 47 days to secure a buyer and 124 days from agreement to completion.

That means if you placed your property onto the market in the first week of May, looking at the average amount of time to complete, you will be moving in the first or second week of November.

Southampton’s local figures align closely with national trends but with its unique nuances.

Between April 2022 and April 2023, it typically took 41 days to find a buyer and 143 days for the legal completion in Southampton.

However, these past 12 months have seen a lengthening in the initial part of the selling process. It now takes about 59 days to find a buyer, though the span from sale agreement to completion has slightly decreased to 129 days.

This means it takes the Southampton home seller 188 days from listing their Southampton home to moving out – just over six months.

These numbers paint a clear picture: selling a home and settling into a new one is not as swift as many might hope. Given these timelines, homeowners looking to move home by Christmas should ideally be putting their homes on the market by late May or early June.

This allows ample time for each phase of the selling process, from attracting the right buyer to navigating the legal intricacies with solicitors. It ensures that you can put up your Christmas tree and decorations in your new living room comfortably before Christmas.

That means if you want to move into your new home by Friday, 6th December 2024, you will need to put your home on the market by Saturday, 1st June 2024.

This is assuming you hit the average times scales mentioned above for Southampton.

Why the urgency? The current market conditions suggest a slower pace in securing buyers, which can be attributed to various factors, including economic uncertainties, changes in mortgage rates, and a more discerning buyer pool. The national reduced time from sale agreement to completion, however, indicates that once a buyer is secured, the process is becoming more streamlined – a positive sign for sellers.

Prospective Southampton sellers should also consider the advantages of the current property market.

With the extended time to attract buyers, presenting your property at its best has never been more crucial. This means addressing any maintenance issues, considering upgrades that increase property appeal, and staging your home to capture the imagination of potential buyers. Effective marketing through an experienced estate agency can significantly enhance visibility and attract quality offers.

Moreover, engaging with a knowledgeable Southampton estate agent early in the process can provide crucial guidance. They can help navigate the complexities of the Southampton market, advise on realistic pricing strategies, and manage the sale process to avoid common pitfalls that could delay proceedings.

For those contemplating a move, the message is clear: acting sooner rather than later is prudent. The market’s current pace means that starting the process in the next couple of weeks is essential to ensure you are settled in your new home in time for the festive season.

This isn’t just about moving house; it’s about moving home. It’s about ensuring that by the time December’s frost dusts the streets of Southampton, you are warm and settled, with the comforting scent of mulled wine wafting through your new home.

While the Southampton property market may present challenges, thorough preparation and timely action can pave the way for a smooth transition to your new home by Christmas. Remember, the perfect moment to put up your property for sale is now. Let’s make your festive dreams a reality – speak to your local estate agency today and take that first, decisive step towards your new beginning. 

How Mortgages Differ Around The World – A Guide For Southampton Homeowners

  If you’re paying off a mortgage on a property in Southampton, you’ll be well aware of how the mortgage market works in the UK.

But how do they do things in the rest of the world?

Let’s look at how people in other countries get on the housing ladder.

The Netherlands

While UK lenders offer the choice of a fixed-rate or variable mortgage, the Dutch do things differently.

A Dutch-style mortgage is a long-term deal (typically 20 to 30 years) in which the interest rate automatically decreases as the loan is paid down.

This means the Dutch don’t waste time and money re-mortgaging every couple of years to get a better deal reflecting their situation; their mortgage adjusts progressively to reflect their improved loan-to-value ratio.

You may also be interested to note that in the Netherlands, the interest you pay on the mortgage of your main residence is tax deductible.

The US

If you want mortgage certainty, you’ll find it in the US, where 15, 20 and 30-year fixed rate deals are the norm.

However, securing such a deal is tougher now than 15 years ago, as regulators tightened the lending rules after the 2008 financial crisis (which was partly caused by irresponsible mortgage lending).

It’s hard to believe, but in the early 2000s, ‘no-doc’ mortgages were readily available. Many Americans could get a mortgage without documenting that they could meet the repayments (the loans were known as NINJAs – no income, no job or assets).

As history shows, lending huge sums of money to people without verifying their ability to pay it back didn’t work out well for US banks or the rest of the financial system.

South Africa

First-time buyers struggling to get a deposit together in the UK should spare a thought for South Africans. Most SA lenders will only greenlight a mortgage if customers have a 50% deposit or a property they put forward as collateral.

In SA, fixed-rate mortgages are much less common than in the UK; most mortgages are on variable rates.

If you’re looking to take your first step on the housing ladder or move to somewhere new, contact us at Belvoir Southampton today.


Wednesday 24 April 2024

How NOT To Sell Your Southampton Home: Five Mistakes That Deter Buyers

Most home sellers want three things: to get the best possible price for their property, to complete the sale in good time and to avoid bucket-loads of stress.

These three goals may sound simple and achievable, but you’d be surprised how many sellers lose their way during the marketing process. 

As a result, they waste time and money and cause themselves more anxiety than necessary.

To help you avoid a few common pitfalls, here’s a guide to how not to sell your home.

In other words, do these things, and you’ll be headed for delays and disappointment.

Fail to get three valuations

Most industry experts recommend sellers get three agents to value their property. This is because if you only have one valuation, you risk going too low with your asking price (and missing out on thousands of pounds) or too high (and deterring genuine buyers). Is it worth cutting corners just to save yourself a few hours?

Get greedy with the asking price

You take a punt and list your property at a price far above what similar homes in the area are going for. You hope a clueless buyer will breeze in and pay well above the odds for your home. However, savvy buyers aren’t fooled. They stay away, and the sale stalls until you drop to a realistic price. 

Don’t bother to declutter or depersonalise

Instead of offloading some of your belongings and having a tidy-up, you do nothing at all. The marketing photographs capture all manner of old toot, dirty laundry and mucky dishes. Potential buyers snigger at your choice of underwear (left hanging on the radiators) and quickly move on to another listing.

Make no effort for viewings

When buyers view your property, it’s a ‘warts and all’ experience. In between dodging your clutter and checking out the family photos on the walls, buyers notice the chipped paintwork and wobbly cupboard doors. They make an offer but take a few thousand pounds off because they know they’ll have to sort out this DIY work when they move in.

Respond sluggishly to requests for information

Once you’ve agreed a deal and the conveyancing process is in motion, you put your feet up. Instead of responding promptly to requests for information, you take your time. Your slow response irritates the prospective buyer – who is keen for a speedy transaction – and jeopardises the entire chain.

Looking to sell your Southampton home? Contact us here at Belvoir Southampton today for a free valuation. 

Monday 22 April 2024

Top Tips For Attracting High-Quality Tenants In Southampton

 

Some landlords, actually many, have an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach to their rental property’s upkeep.

But by proactively refurbishing and modernising your rental properties, you can realise a host of benefits that will attract premium tenants and add long-term value to your investment.

Here are seven ways why, and how, astute property upgrades benefit forward-thinking landlords.

  1. Attract premium tenants: By upgrading your rental, you ensure it meets high standards, making it more likely to be rented quickly, thus minimising those dreaded void periods.
  2. Create better landlord-tenant relations: A well-cared-for property often inspires respect and care in return. This leads to fewer disputes and a positive, long-lasting relationship between landlords and tenants.
  3. Achieve higher income potential: Quality upgrades can make your property appealing to a broader and more affluent demographic, thereby boosting your rental income.
  4. Increase property value: Beyond the immediate rental income benefits, high-quality refurbishments can significantly boost your property’s market value, ensuring you gain both short-term income and long-term investment growth.
  5. Encourage long-term tenancies: Tenants are more likely to stay longer in homes that are comfortable and free from issues, reducing turnover and the costs associated with finding new tenants.
  6. Reduce maintenance costs: Proactively addressing wear and tear and upgrading ageing fixtures and fittings can drastically lower the need for emergency repairs and maintenance – saving you money, time and hassle.
  7. Enhance energy efficiency: Making energy-efficient improvements contributes to environmental sustainability and reduces utility bills, making your property more appealing to eco-conscious tenants.

Making improvements to your rental property doesn’t have to break the bank.

Whether it’s a minor refresh or a comprehensive overhaul, it’s often money and time well spent.

Have you got a rental property question? Give us a call today on 023 8001 8222– we’re here to help.


Friday 19 April 2024

Southampton Property Owners Reap £7,224 Yearly Gains Since 2001

  As we are now nicely into 2024, it’s certain the Southampton housing market over the last 18 months has been a little more restrained than 2020, 2021 and early 2022, and I believe that the ‘steady as she goes’ outlook will continue into the rest of 2024 and beyond.

As property ownership is a medium to long-term investment, it is important to see what has happened to Southampton house prices.

Since the start of the Millennium (Jan 2001), the average Southampton homeowner has seen their property’s value rise by an average of 173%.

This is important as house prices are a national obsession and tied into the health of the UK economy as a whole. Most of that gain has come from the overall growth in Southampton property values, while some of it will have been enhanced by extending, modernising or developing their Southampton home.

Taking a look at the different types of property in Southampton and the profit made by each type, it makes interesting reading:

  • Overall Average For All Homes in Southampton. The average price of all homes in Southampton in 2001 was £98,084. Now it’s 2024, it has risen to £264,233. This is a total profit of £166,149 (which is £7,224 profit per year per home or an annual growth of 7.5% per year).
  • Apartments in Southampton. The average price of an apartment in Southampton in 2001 was £73,007. Now it’s 2024, it has risen to £146,608. This is a total profit of £73,601 (which is £3,200 profit per year per home or an annual growth of 4.4% per year).
  • Terraced/Town Houses in Southampton. The average price of a terraced/town house in Southampton in 2001 was £85,197. Now it’s 2024, it has risen to £258,663. This is a total profit of £173,466 (which is £7,542 profit per year per home or an annual growth of 8.9% per year).
  • Semi-Detached Homes in Southampton. The average price of a semi-detached home in Southampton in 2001 was £103,331. Now it’s 2024, it has risen to £304,635. This is a total profit of £201,304 (which is £8,752 profit per year per home or an annual growth of 8.5% per year).
  • Detached Homes in Southampton. The average price of a detached home in Southampton in 2001 was £180,444. Now it’s 2024, it has risen to £488,879. This is a total profit of £308,435 (which is £13,410 profit per year per home or an annual growth of 7.4% per year).


However, we can’t forget there has been 79% inflation over those 23 years, which eats into the ‘real’ value (or true spending power of that profit) … so if we take into account inflation since 2001, the true ‘spending power’ of that profit has been lower.

  • Overall Average For All Homes in Southampton. The total ‘real profit’ (i.e., after inflation has been removed) for the average Southampton home is £92,459 for the last 23 years. This equates to £4,020 ‘real’ profit per annum.
  • Southampton Apartments. The total ‘real profit’ (i.e., after inflation has been removed) for the average Southampton apartment is £40,958 for the last 23 years. This equates to £1,780 ‘real’ profit per annum.
  • Southampton Terraced/Town Houses. The total ‘real profit’ (i.e., after inflation has been removed) for the average Southampton terraced/town house is £96,531 for the last 23 years. This equates to £4,197 ‘real’ profit per annum.
  • Southampton Semi-Detached Homes. The total ‘real profit’ (i.e., after inflation has been removed) for the average Southampton semi-detached home is £112,022 for the last 23 years. This equates to £4,870 ‘real’ profit per annum.
  • Southampton Detached Homes. The total ‘real profit’ (i.e., after inflation has been removed) for the average Southampton detached home is £171,639 for the last 23 years. This equates to £7,462 ‘real’ profit per annum.

Thus, the annual profit for an average Southampton home, adjusted for inflation, stands at £4,020.

I wanted to illustrate that despite the 2008/09 Credit Crunch property market crash, which saw Southampton property values plummet by 15% to 20% over 18 months, homeowners in Southampton have still fared better over the long term than those renting.

Looking ahead, a common question I get asked is about the future trajectory of the Southampton property market.

The primary influence on maintaining house price growth in Southampton over the medium to long term will be the construction of new homes locally and nationally. Although we have yet to get the figures for 2023, government sources indicate that the number of new households is expected to be between 210,000 and 220,000. Considering the annual need is for 300,000 new households to meet demands arising from factors such as immigration, increased life expectancy, higher divorce rates, and later cohabitation, it’s clear that demand will continue to outstrip supply unless the government heavily invests in building council houses.

This can only be good news for Southampton homeowners.

What about Southampton landlords, though?

Even though the number of landlords liquidating their property portfolios has increased in the last couple of years and the number of landlords buying is lower than in the 2000s and 2010s, there is still net growth in the size of the private rented sector each year. This is all despite facing higher taxes. The simple fact is many Southampton landlords remain keen on expanding their portfolios in the long term.

The younger generation in Southampton views renting as a choice that offers flexibility and alternatives that homeownership does not provide. This means that demand for rentals will keep growing, allowing landlords to enjoy rising rents and capital appreciation. However, Southampton buy-to-let landlords must adopt more thoughtful strategies to maintain profitable returns from their investments.

As a Southampton buy-to-let landlord, the question for you is how to ensure this growth continues.

Since the 1990s, generating profits from buy-to-let property investments was straightforward. Moving forward, with changes in the tax laws and the balance of power, achieving similar returns will be more effortful. Over the past decade, I’ve observed the evolution of agents from mere rent collectors to strategic portfolio managers. I, along with a select few agents in Southampton, am adept at providing comprehensive, strategic portfolio leadership. This service offers a structured overview of your investment goals across short, medium and long-term horizons, focusing on your expected returns, yields and capital growth. If you seek such advice, feel free to contact your current agent or me directly at no cost or obligation.


Wednesday 17 April 2024

A Father’s Tale: Navigating The Twists And Turns Of Buying A Home

 There’s plenty to consider when moving home, especially when a growing family is involved.

Over the past few months, we’ve looked at the buying and selling experience through the eyes of different members of a family who moved recently.

We’ve spoken with teenagers, tweenagers (9 – 12), younger children (5 – 8) and mums.

In this article, it’s dad’s turn to share his thoughts, fears and advice on moving home with a family.

Here’s Dave’s experience.

From first glance to final offer

“At first sight, the property seemed almost too good to be true, ticking every box on our wish list. Yet, the initial excitement gave way to a lot of questions. Could we imagine our family’s life here? What renovations were needed, and could we realistically achieve and afford them? We decided to go for it as a family, and our offer was accepted.”

The mortgage maze unravelled

“With interest rates on a rollercoaster of their own, securing a mortgage quickly became our top priority. I spent a lot of time finding the right mortgage for us, and it was pretty stressful waiting to see if we’d be approved for one.”

The heartache and hope of selling our home

“Letting go of our home, where we’d made many memories and carried out a lot of improvements, was bittersweet. The emotional weight of moving on was a hurdle I hadn’t fully anticipated, especially as we listened to the kids’ concerns and thoughts. But ultimately, everyone was excited about it.”

When the best-laid plans go awry

“It was a challenge keeping our property chain together. My biggest fear was disappointing our children, who had set their hearts on the new home. Through constant communication and the support of our estate agent, we got the deal over the finish line.”

Final thoughts

“The best advice I can give any parent during a home move is to keep the kids informed, keep a sense of humour and perspective, control what you can and employ the right agent to handle your sale. Aim to be over-prepared rather than the opposite.”

If you’re thinking of moving, contact us today at 023 8001 8222.


Monday 15 April 2024

Landlords, Get The Best From Your Letting Agent By Following These Simple Steps

 If you’re a landlord looking to save time and money (and let’s face it, who isn’t?), a good letting agent can be a game-changer.

They’ll manage your rental property day to day (so you’re free to focus on your other responsibilities), regularly check in with your tenants (to ensure there are no issues) and remind you of your legal obligations.

A top letting agent can also look ahead and, drawing on their industry experience, advise you on your long-term investment strategy.

But, as with all business relationships, communication is key. When there is clarity and mutual understanding, things run more smoothly, and you make better decisions.

So, how can landlords build a strong and successful business relationship with their letting agent?

Here are some tips.

Before you sign up for services, read your agency agreement and be clear about what you’re getting. If there’s anything you’re unsure of, speak up so you start out on the right footing.

Discuss the level of contact you would like with your agent and how involved you want to be with decision-making. For example, some landlords are happy for agents to instruct work on their behalf, while others want to be more involved. 

If you’re given advice that you don’t understand, ask questions. A letting agent will always try to act in the best interests of the landlord and the tenant (remember, happy tenants stay longer). They also understand the law and will make recommendations based on your legal obligations.

Outline your long-term strategy so that your agent can best advise you about issues such as redecoration and refurbishments.

If there have been any past maintenance issues or problems with neighbours, be clear so the agent can be on the lookout for potential problems.

Remember, letting agents are professionals. Don’t expect them to act unreasonably on your behalf. 

Discuss the history of the property. For example, if it’s the home you grew up in and you have a strong personal attachment to it, let the agent know. 

For more information about our property management services, contact us here at 023 8001 8222.


Friday 12 April 2024

2-Bed Or 3-Bed Southampton Homes: Which Sells The Fastest?

  Understanding the nuances of property sales is essential for both homeowners and investors in the dynamic Southampton property market.

A few weeks ago, I stated that of the Southampton properties that have sold subject to contract (stc) in the three months of Dec, Jan & Feb, it took an average of 62 days to sell.

Now time has moved on, looking at the Jan, Feb and March Southampton house sales, this has slightly improved, so now …

The average Southampton home in Q1 2024 was on the market for an average of 56 days before agreeing on a sale.

This change, though minimal, is noteworthy against the backdrop of the UK’s economic environment.

As a seasoned estate agent in Southampton, my interactions with landlords and homeowners eager to navigate the Southampton property market have revealed a common query: the impact of property type and the number of bedrooms on its saleability.

Saleability can be measured in several ways. One method is to calculate what percentage of homes of that type, etc, sell compared to how many do not. Another is to calculate how long it takes to agree on a sale. A few weeks ago, I looked at how the price range affects how long it takes to agree on a sale. Therefore, for this article, I wish to look at how quickly a property sells when looking at the type of property or the number of bedrooms.

Southampton Detached, Semi-Detached, Terraced or Flat –Which sells the quickest?

Looking at the home sales that have taken place in the last three months, this is how long it has taken to find a buyer for the different property types:

  • Detached homes in Southampton – 72 days to find a buyer.
  • Semi-Detached homes in Southampton – 36 days to find a buyer.
  • Terraced/Town houses in Southampton – 41 days to find a buyer.
  • Flats/Apartments in Southampton – 84 days to find a buyer.


Southampton 1 beds, 2 beds, 3 beds, 4 beds or even 5+ beds –Which sells the quickest?

Looking at the home sales that have taken place in the last 3 months, this is how long it has taken to find a buyer for the different bedroom types:

  • One bed homes in Southampton – 70 days to find a buyer.
  • Two bed homes in Southampton – 64 days to find a buyer.
  • Three bed homes in Southampton – 43 days to find a buyer.
  • Four bed homes in Southampton – 66 days to find a buyer.
  • Five bed (or more) homes in Southampton – 80 days to find a buyer.



Drilling down into the numbers, it becomes apparent that Southampton semi-detached homes are the quickest to sell when it comes to type of property and Southampton properties with three bedrooms sell the quickest.

The Current Southampton Property Market Landscape

The present-day Southampton property scene presents a mixed bag. An increase in listings compared to 12 months prior suggests a vibrant market, yet it must be remembered that there has been an increase in selling times, which hints at a shift towards a buyer’s market (in 2022, it took an average of 46 days to secure a home sale, whilst, in 2023 it was 68 days). This nuanced change underscores the importance of strategic selling and investment approaches in today’s climate.

Understanding and adapting to these shifts is critical for those selling their homes. The proper presentation and pricing strategy can significantly enhance your Southampton property’s appeal, aligning it with current buyer preferences and market trends.

On the investment side, properties that have lingered on the market might represent hidden gems. These situations often allow for more negotiation leeway, potentially leading to advantageous deals.

As we enter Q2 of 2024, the Southampton property market is ripe with opportunities. Sellers must be attuned to what resonates with today’s buyers, leveraging insights on preferred property types and sizes to their advantage. Meanwhile, Southampton buyers and buy-to-let investors can find value in exploring properties that have been on the market longer than average, where negotiation can yield significant benefits.

Expert Advice for Navigating the Southampton Property Market

In navigating the Southampton property market, several strategies can prove invaluable.

For Sellers: Emphasise your property’s unique selling points, be its location, size or specific features. Ensure your Southampton property is well-presented. Setting a realistic price based on current market trends and comparable sales will expedite the selling process.

For Buyers and Investors: Conduct thorough research to identify areas with high growth potential or market-undervalued properties. Consider properties others may have overlooked, as these can often be negotiated to a more favourable price.

For Everyone: Stay informed. My Southampton property blogs and national property news can keep you abreast of local market trends and provide a strategic edge, whether you’re selling buying or investing.

With its ever-shifting dynamics, the Southampton property market presents many opportunities and challenges. For sellers, aligning with market preferences and presenting your property in the best light is crucial. Buyers and investors, on the other hand, should look for potential in less obvious places where patience and negotiation can unlock significant value. Navigating this landscape requires market knowledge, adaptability, and strategic action.

Whether you’re looking to sell your cherished home or make a savvy investment, understanding the pulse of the Southampton property market is your key to success. If you have any questions about what I’ve said in this or any of my articles on the Southampton property market, please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone on 023 8001 8222 or email southampton@belvoir.co.uk.


Wednesday 10 April 2024

The Pros And Cons Of Taking Your Kids To Property Viewings In Southampton

  If you’re looking for a new family home in Southampton, viewings will play a key role in your quest to find ‘The One’.

While marketing photos and virtual tours serve an important purpose, nothing rivals seeing the d├ęcor, layout and location with your own eyes.

Viewings also give buyers the chance to discuss the property with the agent and learn more about its history and the seller’s situation.

With all this in mind, where does that leave parents? Should they take their offspring to viewings or make other arrangements for their children?

There’s no right or wrong answer: it depends on your circumstances and your children.

But here’s a list of the advantages and disadvantages to help you decide.

Pros

You can observe how your kids react to a property. If their immediate response is positive, you know you’re on to a good thing. Alternatively, if they start arguing over who gets which bedroom, as one is significantly bigger than the other, you’ve got some thinking to do.

Your children may have a different perspective and highlight aspects you might not have noticed.

If children are involved in the process, they’re more likely to feel optimistic about moving. Considering their views may help you avoid moving-day tears.

If a seller has a strong emotional attachment to the property, they may wish to see it go to a family and so look more favourably on your offer. (We’ve known buyers joke about taking other people’s kids to viewings so that they can play the ‘family card’.)

It gives sellers a good idea of where you’re coming from and your motivation.

Cons

Your children could be a distraction, meaning you can’t give the property your full attention. You may fail to notice the opportunity of a doer-upper or spot potential problems.

Your kids could break or spill something, leaving you red-faced

If your child is struggling to adjust to the idea of moving, they may find viewings unsettling.

Your child may fall in love with a property you dislike and feel disappointed when you don’t buy it.

Suggestion

If you can get childcare, consider attending first viewings unaccompanied. Take your offspring to second viewings so that they’re only seeing properties that are real contenders.

Looking to buy or sell in Southampton? Contact us here on 023 8001 8222 to discuss your property needs.


Monday 8 April 2024

Making Tax Digital: A Timeline For Southampton Landlords On The Upcoming Changes

  Did you know that HMRC plans to introduce new rules on how landlords file their tax returns?

Here’s an update on what these changes involve and a timeline for when they’ll come into force.

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is an initiative designed to streamline the tax system by fully digitising it.

As MTD has been mooted for quite some time and its implementation delayed twice already, you may have already heard about it.

But if you’re hazy on the details or have buried your head in the sand about it because tax talk bores you silly, here’s a reminder.

  • MTD will require landlords and the self-employed to:
  • Keep digital records of all income and expenditure. 
  • Send HMRC quarterly updates.
  • Submit an end-of-year final declaration.
  • Use approved third-party software when reporting to HMRC.

HMRC plans to phase in the new system gradually. The current timeline for MTD compliance is:

  • 6 April 2026, if your annual business or property income tops £50,000.
  • 6 April 2027, if your annual business or property income tops £30,000.

There is no news yet about those with incomes below £30,000, but no doubt that will come later.

What happens to landlords who don’t comply?

HMRC has concocted a (somewhat convoluted) points-based penalty system for people who fail to comply. If, for example, you submit incorrect information or don’t use the appropriate software, you’ll accumulate points. When you accrue a certain number of points, you’ll be fined. The more points, the bigger the fine.

Will MTD have a significant impact on landlords?

A well-organised landlord who already maintains digital records may just have to check if their software is MTD compliant and adjust to more regular reporting deadlines.

However, if you’re the kind of person who always has a last-minute panic when your tax return deadline looms, and files receipts down the back of the sofa, you’re in for a big change.

Whichever category you fall into, it’s worth thinking about MTD now. Even though its introduction is still some way off, the deadlines will come around quickly enough.

Also, it can take time to implement a new system, and you may need to purchase new software. As you accumulate points for every error in your reporting, the number of fines you rack up could quickly grow if you’re sloppy.

Many landlords find going digital with their accounts a more efficient way to run their portfolios.

It means all relevant records are in one place and easily accessible, enabling them to monitor cash flow closely.

If you’d like more advice on preparing for MTD, please contact us on 023 8001 8222.

Friday 5 April 2024

Southampton Q1 2024 Property Market Report

 

In the articles on the Southampton property market, we like to provide an insight into the real story of what is happening in our Southampton (and national) property market and address the misconceptions that some of the ‘doom monger’ media have been spreading.

Despite almost daily reports of a housing market crash since September 2022, the data shows that the British (and Southampton) property market is doing OK.

So, let’s dive into the stats and start with the life blood of the housing market – new properties coming on to the market.

Nationally, 444,668 UK properties came onto the market in Q1 2024.

(Q1 = Jan & Feb & March)

Interesting when compared to 407,946 UK properties in Q1 2023 and the 7-year Q1 average (2017 to 2023) of 403,105 new properties on the market.

New properties coming onto the market are a vital bellwether of the property market.

Why? Well in 2008, the number of properties coming on the market in Q1 was double that of 2007, this meant supply (number of homes on the market) vastly outstripped demand and hence economics dictated, and house prices fell.

The balance of houses coming on the market and how many sell determine what happens to property prices.

So how do you know if we are heading for another Southampton house price crash as we did in 2008 or not, as the case maybe?

Let me share a quick and easy way to find out before anyone else.

Initially, perform a Rightmove search in Southampton and write down the number of properties for sale every week. Next, carry out the same search, yet this time include sold subject to contract properties and make a note of that. The difference between the two numbers will show the number properties sold subject to contract. The final step is to calculate the ratio between the first two numbers: i.e., what’s available versus what’s been sold.

If the ratio of sold property to available property rises monthly, the market is improving. If the ratio is falling, the market is slowing.

If you really wish to go deep into this; you could split the search into property type (and bedrooms) you are selling and buying e.g., detached, semi, terraced/town house or apartments. This will help you to judge demand and supply and time the market to your advantage.

Next, looking at house sales nationally,302,382 properties sold (stc) in Q1 2024.

However, the devil is in the data. Comparing with previous stats, in Q1 2023, 276,482 properties sold stc whilst the 8-year Q1 average (2017 to 2024 inclusive) was 304,363.

Obviously, the medium term 8-year UK average includes Q1 2021, where 397,402 properties had sold stc and Q1 2022 when 341,888 properties sold stc. Both of those years were exceptional; however, when we compare Q1 2024 to the Q1 average of 2017/18/19/20, a more reasonable 282,488 houses were sold stc on average.

Next, I wish to look at what is selling nationally by price band.

  • 35.4% of the properties that came on the market in Q1 2024 were up in the price band up to £250k, yet 42.9% of the home sales (SSTC) were in this band.
  • 41.0% of the properties that came on the market in Q1 2024 were in the £250k to £500k price band, yet only 39.6% of the home sales (SSTC) were in this band.
  • 13.4% of the properties that came on the market in Q1 2024 were in the £500k to £750k price band, yet only 10.7% of the home sales (SSTC) were in this band.
  • 5.1% of the properties that came on the market in Q1 2024 were in the £750k to £1m price band, yet only 3.7% of the home sales (SSTC) were in this band.
  • 5.1% of the properties that came on the market in Q1 2024 were in the £1m + price band, yet only 3.1% of the home sales (SSTC) were in this band.



Looking locally at the Q1 stats, starting with the number of properties in the Southampton area (SO14 to SO19) that came onto the market in Q1 2024 …

1,664 properties came onto the market in Q1 2024 in the Southampton area.

The average price of those Southampton properties coming to the market was £308,655.

The price range/band that saw the most listings was the £250k to £300k range, where 342 Southampton area properties came onto market (followed by the £150k to £200k range, where 248 properties came onto the market).

Now, looking at sales in Southampton …

1,180 properties were sold in Q1 2024 in the Southampton area.

The average price of those Southampton properties selling was £278,435.

The price range/band that saw the most sales was the £250k to £300k range, where 276 Southampton area properties were sold (followed by the £150k to £200k range with 184 Southampton area properties sold subject to contract).

Typical first-time buyer properties are leading the recovery.

Although economic turbulence remains, the UK property market is gradually moving towards pre-pandemic activity levels.

Some of you might have noticed with the national listings and sales figures mentioned above, that the lower priced range of properties are performing better than the higher priced properties. For example, just over a third (35.4%) of UK listings were £250k or below, yet that price band accounted for over 1 in 2.3 house sales (42.9%). Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, 8.9% of listings in the UK in Q1 ’24 were in the £750k to £2m price band, yet only 6.2% of the sales were in the same band. In the £2m+ price range, even though the numbers are very small, the difference is quite startling, 1.3% of listings were £2m+, but only 0.55% of sales agreed were in the same range.

So, what does this all mean for Southampton homeowners wanting to sell in this market?

Realistic pricing when you put your house on the market is everything!

In Q1 2024, there have been 198,682 price reductions on the 633,417 properties on the market.

In comparison, there were 243,602 price reductions in Q1 2023 on the 590,481 properties on the market and 119,068 price reductions in Q1 2022 on 424,796 properties on the market.

It is better to come on the market at a realistic price to start when the property is fresh to the market, than go on at a high price, lose that initial honeymoon period and then reduce it, only for some people to wonder what was wrong with the property.

Although higher mortgage rates and economic headwinds present challenges, many potential Southampton home buyers who were effectively side-lined in the fierce bidding wars of 2021/22 will find that a slower paced Southampton property market gives them time to plan a strategy for their next move as we go into the traditionally busy post-Easter house buying season.

While the demand for quality Southampton houses is still healthy, if the asking price is above the current market, sellers may need help finding buyers.

Determining a realistic price is crucial but not easy. Many sellers look at similar properties on property portals, but those prices may be over-inflated.

Estate agents have more tools at their disposal, such as comparing sale prices for comparable properties, £/sqft and thinking about prospective purchasers in the market for the type of property under valuation.

Although getting the price right can be difficult, revising it downwards quickly is essential.

Southampton homeowners should ensure that their property looks better value for money than similar properties. If you plan to trade up, it is good sense to sell at realistic prices, as you will gain substantial savings compared to moving in the last few years.

However, if you don’t need to sell urgently, becoming a landlord could be an option – again I can help on that if needs be. Nevertheless, Southampton homeowners-turned-landlords should consider that if property values do drift downwards in the coming 12/18 months, it may take a few more years after that to recover to those values seen last year.

Whatever the rest of 2024 brings, moving home should mostly be based on your circumstances and not solely on what is happening to Southampton property prices.

If you would like an informal chat about your potential move without any obligation or cost, get me around for a chat. I promise I will tell you like it is, without any guff – then you can decide what is best for you and your family.

In the meantime, do let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday 3 April 2024

Southampton Home Sellers: Staging Your Home On A Budget

Are you planning to sell your home this year?


Or just curious about what your property may be worth in the current market?

Good news – this article will give you five easy-to-follow tips highlighting how effectively staging your home can boost its appeal to potential buyers.

Styling your home can also potentially speed up the sale and even increase the value of offers you receive.

Let’s dive into the tips.

Declutter and depersonalise

Start by decluttering each room to make your home appear more spacious and inviting. Remove personal items such as family photos, memorabilia and anything else that might distract buyers from imagining themselves living there. A minimalist approach helps highlight the property’s features rather than its contents.

A fresh coat of paint

Refresh your walls with a lick of paint in neutral colours. Light, airy shades like off-white, beige or light grey can make spaces appear larger and brighter, appealing to a broader range of buyers. This simple update can add value to your home without breaking the bank.

Maximise natural light

Make sure your home is well-lit to make it feel warm and welcoming. Keep windows clean and curtains drawn back to let natural light in. If any area of your home feels a little dark, consider adding mirrors to reflect light and make the space feel larger.

Tidy up outdoor spaces

First impressions count. Tidy up your garden, mow the lawn and ensure bins are out of sight. A welcoming entrance and a neat and tidy garden can make a strong initial impression on potential buyers, making them more eager to see what’s inside.

Address little niggles

Take care of any small repairs around the house – fix leaky taps, squeaky doors or chipped paint. These details might seem minor, but they can suggest a well-maintained home to interested buyers.

Ready to take the next step in your home selling journey? Our team at Belvoir Southampton is here to provide you with personalised guidance, from staging to sale.

Our in-depth knowledge of the Southampton market and our commitment to exceptional service ensure your property will stand out to the right buyers.

Don’t leave your home sale to chance.

Contact us today at 023 8001 8222 to discover how our expertise can lead to your success.

Monday 1 April 2024

Managing And Reducing Void Periods In Southampton

 

Owning a rental property isn’t just about what happens while tenants are in place; effectively managing periods when your property is unoccupied is equally important.

Every landlord faces void periods as a natural part of property letting, making it essential to prepare financially and strategically to manage its impact.

Void periods mean not only the loss of rental income but also the burden of continuing to pay the mortgage, utilities (including standing charges) and council tax without money coming in from tenants.

It was once common for local councils to offer a grace period for council tax on empty properties, but with budget pressures, these reliefs are increasingly rare.

Here are some ways you can manage and minimise void periods.

Financial preparedness: Always have funds set aside to cover expenses during unoccupied periods.

Council tax awareness: Stay informed about your local council’s policies on empty properties to budget effectively.

Proactive maintenance: Use the notice period to enhance the property and carry out any necessary decorative or remedial works to bring the property back up to scratch and make it more attractive to future tenants.

Insurance considerations: Ensure your insurance covers void periods and consider additional policies for longer voids.

Tips to protect your property investment

Continuous maintenance: Keep your property in top condition to attract and retain tenants.

Be responsive: A good relationship with your tenants can encourage longer stays.

Professional assistance: Consider employing a letting agent to manage the property, especially if you’re short on time and need an experienced expert.

Seasonal planning: Recognise the challenges of letting during quieter periods, such as Christmas, and plan accordingly.

Contact us

At Belvoir Southampton, we’re here to help Southampton landlords thrive, offering comprehensive property management services to minimise void periods and maximise your rental yields.

Get in touch on 023 8001 8222 to learn more about how we can help you.