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Property Auction Stories And More…

November 23, 2010

Life has been pretty hectic lately as I am now full time back in the wonderful world of property development and buying at auction.

My blog has evolved into a a personal account of my auction adventures, property mishaps and management nightmares – you can find it here on

What Sam Saw Today. com

Hope you enjoy and look forward to seeing and hearing from you soon!

Sam

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5 Questions Landlords Shouldn’t Be Afraid To Ask A Potential Tenant

September 29, 2010

1.  How will you pay the rent? This may sound straight forward but asking a question like this can elicit a huge amount of information. Most people are honest and a simple direct question can uncover a whole wealth of information. By asking this question I have discovered that tenants who currently hold down a full-time job are planning on quitting and going back to uni and will get a student loan. That other people who are currently claiming benefits have a job lined up in the near future. And then you have others who discuss their multiple streams of income from a variety of sources to those who plan to use the “bank of mum and dad”.

2. Can you show me evidence of your income? People get all over funny over privacy issues and showing you bank statements, pay slips and benefit letters. My personal belief is that if you want to live in my property then you have to show me you can afford to live in it.  I will look at the last 3 months bank statements and note down the income sources, the running balance, overdraft levels and if there have been any returned direct debits/ payments. Anything which looks strange or I have an issue with I will ask. It may sound intrusive – but at the end of the day I am about to let this person live in my property – I need to feel sure of my decision and that they will be able to pay the rent.

3. Why are you leaving your current property? I like to know the baggage which comes with my tenants. This question can be answered simply; for example:– I need to move location for my job/ I want a bigger house. Other more varied (and often more usual answers) are about their previous landlords or problems with the property or landlord or both! Landlords who did not listen, who would not do work on the property, who intruded on the tenants privacy, who did not respect them. Good tenants tend to stay for a long period of time in properties and only if their life circumstances change will they move – more often than not, it tends to be that tenants leave landlords rather than properties.

4. Who will be living here? Just because it is a well presented twenty-something female and her chatty mum who have come to view the property it does not necessarily follow that these will be the people who will actually be living there. I always ask this question in an interested conversational fashion so as not to put any pressure, but to elicit what the situation is. That way I can understand if there is going to be tons of children, pets and ex husbands coming along to ensure that the people and the property match.

5. What do you think of the property? Reading body language is all well and good but there is nothing like just coming out and actually asking someone their opinion – you will be surprised by how much you can learn. Don’t be afraid to pursue any comments that are made – the more you ask the more you learn. It could be that the kitchen you think is clean and tidy may be viewed as tired and dated.  Find out what the barriers are and see if there is a way of overcoming them to make the deal work. It could be as simple as supplying a tin of paint or replacing a carpet.

Property Auction Tips 27.8.10

August 27, 2010

WELCOME to issue 11 of my TRIO of real auction tips from around the country!

Results from Tip sheet 10:

Tip 1: Devon – Recommended buying price: £24-32k. Sold for £25k

Tip 2: Cornwall – Recommended buying price: £25-35k.  Sold for £32k

Tip 3: What If?! The Cumbrian Church sold for just £49k!

For your next FREE tip sheet email me today: sam@virtualletz.com Please pass this tip sheet on to anyone you think will be interested!

And if you need to let your house remember to visit: www.VirtualLetz.com to advertise your property for FREE!

Hope you enjoy!

Sam

Tip 1: Wales

Description: A 3 bed house with development potential & 30%+ yield!
Guide: £32k+
Area Notes: Situated in a former mining area, this small village offers a selection of local amenities.  The property is situated close to the local shops. The village is surrounded by a cluster of larger towns and villages which offer a further range of facilities including a train station.
Land Registry: Recent property sales: 13/10/08 @ £55k, 19/9/07 @ £40k and 12/6/07 @ £30k
Sales data suggests retail price: £45-50k (as single house) add £20k more for flat
Rental figures suggest: £400-675 pcm (as single house – and flat potential)
Research indicates: The property is situated in an economically deprived area although regeneration monies are being pumped into the area.  This is a very long term investment. This property is essentially an income investment which could produce high yields – esp. if the potential conversion works to create a 3 bed house and separate flat underneath were completed. Given the high incidence of unemployment in the area you would need to be amenable to benefit payments.  However, given the cost of the purchase and conversion works this could be a cash cow that puts money in your pocket for years to come.
Recommended buying price: £26-34k
Potential yield: Approx 14.1% – 31.1%


Tip 2: Essex


Description: 3 bed house partially converted to 2 x units
Guide: £125k+
Area Notes: Located within walking distance of the town centre this property offers good sized family accommodation.  The property is located within a 10 minute walk of the train station, town centre amenities and is close to the large hospital. There are several green open parks situated close by and being within the M25 this property offers easy access to the motorway network just a few miles down the road.
Land Registry: Recent property sales: 8/5/09 @ £180k, 24/07/08 @ £219,950k and 25/06/08 @ £182,500k
Sales data suggests retail price: £185-210k
Rental figures suggest: £1100-1300pcm
Research indicates: This property has had work done to it which the council are now requiring to be changed. The property has been changed to 2 units, but the council require the property to be reinstated as one house. There is an extension which has been built at the rear without the necessary planning regs and the attic conversion also does not have permission. While this property requires works to reinstate the property, bought at a good price this has potential as a buy and sell to the family market. The rental returns are also quite respectable and this could be further enhanced if the property was to be rented as a shared house on a room by room basis.
Recommended buying price: £140-152k
Potential yield: Approx 8.7% – 11.1%


Tip 3: Cheshire


Description: 2 bed flat and private rear garden
Guide: £80k+
Area Notes: Situated within this sought after area and within walking distance of the metro link. This property is well located for easy access to the local town and many facilities on offer. The airport is located approx 4 miles away and there is easy access to the motorway with a selection of junctions available. The property is located with the desirable cluster of towns which are well sought after for people wanting to live locally and offer good commuting to Manchester and surrounding areas.
Land Registry: Very low churn: 18/5/00 @ £50k, 7/4/99 @ £48,300k
Sales data suggests retail price: £120-130k
Rental figures suggest: £475-550pcm
Research indicates: This property is presented in very good condition and has recently had a new boiler installed. The property benefits from a modern kitchen and decor and is ready to let as a turnkey investment or as a property to move straight into for an owner occupier.  This property could work well as a buy to let (if bought at a competitive price) as the area is well regarded and could offer good capital appreciation in the future.
Recommended buying price: £90-105k
Potential yield: Approx 5.4% – 7.3%

Sounds interesting? What do you fancy doing next?

Package 1 – The Straight Analysis

  • Give you the details of the property and auction house and you do the rest
  • £9.99

Package 2 – The Full Shebang

  • I will personally do a viewing, take loads of photos, conduct a live rental market assessment [on top sites – Rightmove, Zoopla, Yahoo et al]
  • Arrange a solicitor to check the legal pack
  • Arrange a surveyor to inspect the property and produce a report
  • Attend the auction/ accompany you to auction/liaise by telephone and bid
  • Organise a financial advisor to contact you and arrange finances
  • £299 + professional fees of surveyor, solicitor, advisor

Package 3 – Personalised Auction Updates

  • The property scout service means you can subscribe to receive weekly upcoming auction details for your areas of choice [up to 3] – for just £10 per month!

Contact me: sam@virtualletz.com

Please note: Upon successful purchase a finder’s fee commission of 0.5% of purchase price will be added to your bill. This guide is prepared in good faith; I am under no legal obligation to you in respect of the information contained in this document. The properties have not been inspected or surveyed.

First time you’ve seen Sam’s Auction Tips? – Let me introduce myself and the idea!

Why did I do this? My financial advisor convinced me to share my knowledge with other people as it’s not so easy to get as much funding as it once was – which means I find loads more interesting properties than I can buy!  The theory is I get to share my knowledge and tips – you want to know more – and then maybe, just maybe, we get to do something together?

Why should you listen to me? I own a development company, am a substantial nationwide property investor and own a lettings, management and maintenance company – Gorgeous Homes, and an online property portal for private landlords – VirtualLetz.com.

I can’t tell you I know it all, no-one can, but I can offer a few tips for anybody interested enough to have a look.  These are the properties which if I had enough money I would be looking to buy.  The essentials of my research are here for you to feast on. It’s only a guide, it’s not advice – it’s a lead and if you want to take it further, that’s up to you

How to Find a Property Auction Bargain

August 11, 2010

Property auctions are a great place to find a variety of properties and opportunities. Many properties end up in auction for a number of different reasons – it could be that a quick sale is needed (e.g. repossession), a best market price needs to be achieved (e.g. housing association stock), the house requires refurbishment (difficult to get conventional lending), the property is unusual (e.g. a water tower) or there are complicated legal issues which make it difficult to sell via private treaty (through an estate agent).

Auctions can offer great opportunities for property investors as some properties can be bought at “below open market value” and in some cases properties can sell for around 50% of their “market value”.  However, the key is in understanding what the “market value” is and in understanding the different risks associated with the property.

To understand if a property is a potential bargain the first step is in doing thorough research. This will include understanding the resale value of the property – this can be done via online property portals, checking land registry transactions and talking with estate agents in the area. This research will give you a good indication as to how the auction price fits with the “market value”.

The next step is to understand what you need to do to “unlock” the value of the property so that it can be sold on the open market (through an estate agent). In the case of a property which requires refurbishment this is fairly straightforward. Once you have established the resale price, you will then need to understand what standard of refurbishment needs to be completed so that you can achieve the predicted resale price.  The key to making this work for you is in understanding the cost of these refurbishment works.

Most investors will start with the anticipated resale price and work backwards to see if the deal “stacks”. What this means is that a property price will be decided by its end value, minus the cost of acquisition, the cost of refurbishment and the profit the investor intends to make. For example, an investor may see a property with a guide of £120k and having done research established its market value is £180k when complete.  Now if the property requires £60k refurbishment to complete to “market value” this is not a good deal! However, if that same property can be brought up to spec for £20k then the investor is looking at making a gain of £40k if they buy at the guide price of £120k and sell for £180k.  In this example, the property would then be a bargain and could net the investor a tidy sum!

Buying property at auction can be a lucrative way of property investing, but the key is in understanding the market, the property and the potential pitfalls and opportunities. Not all properties sold at auction are “bargains” but thorough research and knowing your market will mean you can buy with confidence and hopefully make some good profits!

Property Auction Tips: The REAL Homes Under the Hammer! 1.8.10

August 1, 2010

WELCOME to issue 10 of my TRIO of real auction tips from around the country!

Results from Tip sheet 9:

Tip 1: South London – Recommended buying price: £155-175k. Sold prior to auction for undisclosed sum.

Tip 2: Cheshire – Recommended buying price: £185-195k.  Still available at £190k

Tip 3: Hertfordshire – Recommended buying price: £100-110k.  Sold prior to auction for undisclosed sum.

For your next FREE tip sheet email me today: sam@virtualletz.com Please pass this tip sheet on to anyone you think will be interested!

And if you need to let your house remember to visit: www.VirtualLetz.com to advertise your property for FREE!

Hope you enjoy!

Sam

Tip 1: Devon

Description: A 1 bed upper floor flat requiring refurbishment
Guide: £25k+
Area Notes: Situated in the town centre and just moments walk from the range of leisure and shopping facilities on offer. This is a popular central location which provides easy access to the local transport links, town centre amenities and award winning beaches. On the doorstep of all the action this property is also conveniently situated for the green open spaces of the parks nearby.
Land Registry: Recent property sales: 13/6/08 @ £71k, 19/4/06 @ £85k and 26/1/06 @ £79k
Sales data suggests retail price: £50-60k
Rental figures suggest: £300-350 pcm
Research indicates: The property is a converted flat in a period building. The property’s central location means it is within easy walking distance of the town facilities and beach. The property is compact and thus would mainly appeal to a single person/ couple. This could also serve as a lock up and leave bolthole for someone wanting a cheap holiday home on the South coast.  Bought close to guide this could be an attractive buy – esp. for someone who is looking for an affordable second home or high yielding buy-to-let.
Recommended buying price: £24-32k
Potential yield: Approx 11.3% – 17.5%


Tip 2: Cornwall


Description: 1 bed flat in converted building
Guide: £25k+
Area Notes: This property is situated in a town centre location close to the local amenities and beach. The property is within easy walking distance of shops, bars, restaurants and local transport connections. The mainline train station is located within a five minute walk.
Land Registry: Recent property sales: 1/5/09 @ £175k, 14/03/08 @ £142k and 11/08/06 @ £272k
Sales data suggests retail price: £50-60k
Rental figures suggest: £350-400pcm
Research indicates: This property is a repossession which could benefit from some cosmetic improvements (currently presented in fair condition). The property is situated in a sought after area close to local amenities and the seafront. The property would appeal to both tenants and also someone who is looking for an affordable holiday home/ second home. Bought well this property could be a good potential buy-to-let giving good returns or also a value for money holiday home.
Recommended buying price: £25-35k
Potential yield: Approx 12% – 19.2%

Tip 3: What If?! – Cumbria


Description: Methodist Church on generous plot
Guide: £50k-£60k
Area Notes: This property is situated on an island just off the mainland. Located close to the golf club and with stunning views over the water this property offers a unique opportunity. The main town is situated within easy travelling distance and the property is within one mile of the mainline train station. The property is located a few miles from the Lake District.  The M6 is located approximately 1 hour away.
Research indicates: A rare opportunity to purchase a development with enormous scope in a stunning location with views over the water. There is expired planning permission. The property is a stunning building and offers glorious potential to transform into a variety of ideas – from a hotel to residential apartments subject to the relative consents. A great project at a great price.


Sounds interesting? What do you fancy doing next?

Package 1 – The Straight Analysis

  • Give you the details of the property and auction house and you do the rest
  • £9.99

Package 2 – The Full Shebang

  • I will personally do a viewing, take loads of photos, conduct a live rental market assessment [on top sites – Rightmove, Zoopla, Yahoo et al]
  • Arrange a solicitor to check the legal pack
  • Arrange a surveyor to inspect the property and produce a report
  • Attend the auction/ accompany you to auction/liaise by telephone and bid
  • Organise a financial advisor to contact you and arrange finances
  • £299 + professional fees of surveyor, solicitor, advisor

Package 3 – Personalised Auction Updates

  • The property scout service means you can subscribe to receive weekly upcoming auction details for your areas of choice [up to 3] – for just £10 per month!

Contact me: sam@virtualletz.com

Please note: Upon successful purchase a finder’s fee commission of 0.5% of purchase price will be added to your bill. This guide is prepared in good faith; I am under no legal obligation to you in respect of the information contained in this document. The properties have not been inspected or surveyed.

First time you’ve seen Sam’s Auction Tips? – Let me introduce myself and the idea!

Why did I do this? My financial advisor convinced me to share my knowledge with other people as it’s not so easy to get as much funding as it once was – which means I find loads more interesting properties than I can buy!  The theory is I get to share my knowledge and tips – you want to know more – and then maybe, just maybe, we get to do something together?

Why should you listen to me? I own a development company, am a substantial nationwide property investor and own a lettings, management and maintenance company – Gorgeous Homes, and an online property portal for private landlords – VirtualLetz.com.

I can’t tell you I know it all, no-one can, but I can offer a few tips for anybody interested enough to have a look.  These are the properties which if I had enough money I would be looking to buy.  The essentials of my research are here for you to feast on. It’s only a guide, it’s not advice – it’s a lead and if you want to take it further, that’s up to you

5 Top Tips For New Property Investors

July 21, 2010

I often have people tell me they are *desperate* to get into property and it’s all they’ve ever wanted to do…So as a successful property investor I thought I’d share my top 5 tips for those new to property investment.

  1. Buying property is a business decision. Never forget the purpose of buying a property either to do up and sell on or rent out is to make money. Never ever lose that focus.  Whether renting, selling or renovating – treat your property investment as a business.  Businesses only exist to make money.
  2. Do your sums. There are lots of hidden costs in buying, selling and renting property – you have to allow for legal paperwork, lending fees, surveyors and finance costs to name just a few. Make sure you itemise every item of expenditure to ensure you are going to make a profit.  Always allow contingencies of at least 10% to cover any unforeseen items.
  3. Do your homework. Buying the right property at the right price is the only way you make money.  To know that you are buying right it is critical you research the market thoroughly. Don’t kid yourself that it will work out in the end *you hope*.  Making money from property is about planning for success – luck only favours a few, the rest go bankrupt.
  4. Get funding. It doesn’t matter how bad the market is – if you find a good deal you can get funding. Spend time building up a relationship with a financial advisor/ bank who can get you lending. Then when you find a deal run it past them. Any decent deal will get funding.
  5. Be ready. Property deals are sporadic – you have nothing for months then three in a day. When a deal arises you must already have everything in place – that means having the deposit, having the access to funds, have the legal advisors ready and so on. In a nutshell you must be ready to buy at a moment’s notice.

Property Auction Tips 13.7.10

July 13, 2010

WELCOME to issue 9 of my TRIO of real auction tips from around the country!

Results from Tip sheet 8:

Tip 1: South London – Recommended buying price: £90-100k. Sold for £90k.

Tip 2: Hampshire – Recommended buying price: £48-58k. Sold for 67k

Tip 3: Devon (WW2 bunker) – Results not yet available

For your next FREE tip sheet email me today: sam@virtualletz.com Please pass this tip sheet on to anyone you think will be interested!

And if you need to let your house remember to visit: www.VirtualLetz.com to advertise your property for FREE!

Hope you enjoy!

Sam

Tip 1: South London

Description: A 2 bed ground floor flat with rear garden
Guide: £165k+
Area Notes: Situated in a popular residential street this property is located within 5 minutes walk of a tube station. Transport links are excellent with additional tubes and overground rail services being situated within close proximity.  The high street with a range of shops, bars and restaurants in located within a few minutes walk of the property.  The property is also conveniently situated for the hospital and green open spaces of the parks.
Land Registry: Recent property sales: 3/7/07 @ £336.5k, 18/5/07 @ £250k and 6/3/07 @ £280k
Sales data suggests retail price: £220-240k
Rental figures suggest: £900-1000 pcm
Research indicates: The property requires modernization and attention to dampness to unlock it’s full potential in terms of value. The property is a converted flat in a period building. The property benefits from a rear garden and should appeal to a young couple/ family. Situated conveniently for transport connections and a wealth of facilities within easy walking distance should make this a popular buy. This is an opportunity for adding value by bringing this flat up to modern spec.
Recommended buying price: £155-175k
Potential yield: Approx 6.2% – 7.7%


Tip 2: Cheshire


Description: Modern 4 bed detached house with drive and garage
Guide: £190k+
Area Notes: This property is situated in an affluent and sought after estate. The property is located on the outskirts of town and is well placed for good local schools and the hospital. The area is well regarded and benefits from a range of local facilities. The motorway network is within easy driving distance. The train station is 1.5 miles away offering good commuter links.
Land Registry: Recent property sales: 23/1/09 @ £242k, 30/03/07 @ £229,950k and 21/11/05 @ £209,950k
Sales data suggests retail price: £225-250k
Rental figures suggest: £800-900pcm
Research indicates: This property is a repossession which could benefit from some cosmetic improvements. The property is a modern build in a pleasant and sought after area. It is situated on a generous plot and the garden overlooks woodland to the rear. This is an ideal family home and should appeal to a large section of more premium buyers due to it’s location and proximity to a wide range of facilities and commuter links. Bought well this property could be a good potential buy and hold – and sell when the market returns.
Recommended buying price: £185-195k
Potential yield: Approx 4.9% – 5.8%

Tip 3: Hertfordshire


Description: Modern top floor 2 bed apartment with allocated parking
Guide: £104k+
Area Notes: This property is situated within the heart of town and easy walking distance to the high street with a range of shops, bars and restaurants. The train station is a few minutes walk from the apartment offering a short commute into central London. The M25 is located just a few miles from the property. The excellent transport links and proximity to London make this an ideal commuter property.
Land Registry: Recent property sales: 12/9/05 @ £135k, 11/03/05 @ £150k and 10/9/04 @ £155k
Sales data suggests retail price: £125-135k
Rental figures suggest: £725-800pcm
Research indicates: This property is presented in good condition, although would benefit from some cosmetic improvements. It is situated on the top floor of the building with offices on the ground floor.  The residential flats are accessed from the rear and benefit from allocated parking. The block is approx 30 years old.  Given the convenient location for transport connections and facilities this property should appeal to both buyers and tenants. It offers an affordable property in a regarded area within easy commuting of central London.
Recommended buying price: £100-110k
Potential yield: Approx 7.9% – 9.6%


Sounds interesting? What do you fancy doing next?

Package 1 – The Straight Analysis

  • Give you the details of the property and auction house and you do the rest
  • £9.99

Package 2 – The Full Shebang

  • I will personally do a viewing, take loads of photos, conduct a live rental market assessment [on top sites – Rightmove, Zoopla, Yahoo et al]
  • Arrange a solicitor to check the legal pack
  • Arrange a surveyor to inspect the property and produce a report
  • Attend the auction/ accompany you to auction/liaise by telephone and bid
  • Organise a financial advisor to contact you and arrange finances
  • £299 + professional fees of surveyor, solicitor, advisor

Package 3 – Personalised Auction Updates

  • The property scout service means you can subscribe to receive weekly upcoming auction details for your areas of choice [up to 3] – for just £10 per month!

Contact me: sam@virtualletz.com

Please note: Upon successful purchase a finder’s fee commission of 0.5% of purchase price will be added to your bill. This guide is prepared in good faith; I am under no legal obligation to you in respect of the information contained in this document. The properties have not been inspected or surveyed.

First time you’ve seen Sam’s Auction Tips? – Let me introduce myself and the idea!

Why did I do this? My financial advisor convinced me to share my knowledge with other people as it’s not so easy to get as much funding as it once was – which means I find loads more interesting properties than I can buy!  The theory is I get to share my knowledge and tips – you want to know more – and then maybe, just maybe, we get to do something together?

Why should you listen to me? I own a development company, am a substantial nationwide property investor and own a lettings, management and maintenance company – Gorgeous Homes, and an online property portal for private landlords – VirtualLetz.com.

I can’t tell you I know it all, no-one can, but I can offer a few tips for anybody interested enough to have a look.  These are the properties which if I had enough money I would be looking to buy.  The essentials of my research are here for you to feast on. It’s only a guide, it’s not advice – it’s a lead and if you want to take it further, that’s up to you