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You’ll Need Some Rest this Weekend: Are You Ready for Telephone Tuesday?

Here’s a fact to ruin your afternoon – the upcoming bank holiday is the only remaining bank holiday between now and Christmas! Almost impossible to imagine, given how it feels like 2019 has only really just gotten underway.

In any case, it’s the truth – the August bank holiday arrives next Monday, then it’s the countdown to the festive season. Prior to this, however, you might want to ensure it’s an ‘all hands on deck’ situation next Tuesday. This is because you could be in for one of the busiest days, if not the busiest day of the entire year.

Telephone Tuesday

According to Moneypenny – one of the UK’s leading outsource communication firms – call volumes to estate agents almost always increase by around 10% the day after a bank holiday. The vast majority of these additional calls coming in between 9.00 AM and 11:00 AM, often serving as a rude awakening for the unprepared.

Moneypenny discovered the trend by analysing data collected around several bank holidays that have come and gone, which in all instances led to a spike in call volumes the next day.

“When people are away from the stresses of work, they’re given time and space to think about their personal lives and take care of some ‘life admin’,” commented Joanne Tattum, business relationship manager at Moneypenny.

“As a result, it’s extremely common for the days following holidays to be used to contact professionals such as estate agents to help take care of matters like looking for their next home or putting an existing property on the market.”

According to the firm’s research, the two bank holidays during May are followed by the biggest spikes in phone calls to estate agents. Tuesday, May 3 saw a huge a 34% increase in calls compared to the week before, while the later May bank holiday brought about a further 13% increase. That would account to 47% more calls on this later Telephone Tuesday, compared to the week before the May 3 bank holiday.

The question being – what does this mean for telephone Tuesday in August?

Expect the Unexpected

Ms. Tattum went on to explain that the spike in telephone calls following a bank holiday is far more than just a temporary inconvenience for the estate agent. It’s also an opportunity to capitalise on a day of elevated interest in your rservices. Not to mention, the perfect chance to frustrate, irritate and drive your customers directly into the arms of your competitors if you get it wrong.

“Poor client communication is a cause of great frustration among consumers and businesses should do all they can to avoid this occurring,” she warned.

It remains to be seen if and to what extent the same trend plays out next Tuesday. Nevertheless, there’s a good chance it will, so the general advice is to expect the unexpected. Chances are, you will have a limited contingency of staff members available to answer calls during peak-demand hours. In which case, it’s worth revisiting a few basic telephone etiquette pointers for busy times.

Examples of which include:

· Being mindful of your tone of voice, ensuring you don’t make it too obvious you’re rushed off your feet and struggling to cope when you pick up the phone.

· Giving each caller your full attention and not attempting to rush things, in order to catch the next call.

· Where possible, take the details of non-urgent callers and return their calls at a slightly less chaotic time later on.

· Expecting that some customers will be pretty irate at the time it took them to get through.

· Listening to recorded voice mail messages as quickly as possible after they are left and getting back to those who couldn’t get through as promptly as you can.

Above all else, it’s worth remembering that a day of excessive demand is far better than a day a disappointing demand. Just as long as you’re prepared for it, Telephone Tuesday could be pure gold for your estate agency.

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Mortgages

Remortgaging Simplified

UK property finance have built a reputation as a specialist broker, providing finance options for the more niche and complicated cases. Over the years UKPF has helped a park home site next to a nuclear power station, sourced funding to an old BT exchange station and even helped and on many occasions provided welcome lifelines when eviction has loomed.

You maybe forgiven for thinking that as a broker, UKPF tend to stay clear of the basic aspects of property finance. However as you are about to read; the advisors and processing team made light work of a simple remortgage. Work out the costs of a mortgage using our UK mortgage calculator

What is remortgaging your property?

Remortgaging is typically the process of changing from one lender to another, however it is possible to remortgage with the same mortgage provider. Remortgaging is a loan based on the equity held in your property, like how a secured loan works.  Clients often come to UKPF to remortgage their property when they have come to the end of their fixed period and want to source a better interest rate. A lot of clients also use the funds to make home improvements such as an extension or new kitchen / bathroom.

It is important to add that typically raising funds this way can take between 4 to 8 weeks and even longer if any issues occur according to money.co.uk. This was not to be the case UKPF’s next client…

The heart of the home.

Robert and Julie from Aldershot, Surrey wanted to extend their kitchen to create an open kitchen/diner come family room. The couple both loved socialising at the weekends and wanted to host dinner parties more often. The current galley kitchen didn’t lend much to creating a social atmosphere for themselves.

The summer was fast approaching and optimistically wanted to make use of the better weather to undergo the works. After a short google search, the couple found UK property finance and decided to call further to reading positive trust pilot reviews online.

Fast financing.

Julie discussed in detail with the advisor their plans for extending the kitchen and how much it meant to them having this new space that they could entertain in. The advisor was able to gather all the information to source some very competitive quotes from the whole of the market. The advisor had sourced a fixed rate deal with no upfront fees payable. Negotiated on behalf of the clients was the opportunity to use the lenders chosen solicitors for free. The opportunity fitted the couples plans perfectly and quickly decided to proceed by submitting their application. By processing Robert and Julies application so quickly UKPF were able to obtain an offer back from the lender within 10 days! Completion was set with in the following 9 days. In total the process from application to completion took 19 days which is far quicker than conventional expectation.

The couple are nearing the date of their first dinner party and the team at UKPF are looking forward to comparing before and after photos of the project.

UKPF Sourced:

  • Remortgage with a competitive rate
  • Fixed rate
  • No upfront fees
  • Free legals
  • 19 days completed
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Mortgages

Buy to Let Investing: Is It Still Lucrative?


There are some who would have you believe that the buy-to-let died a premature death a couple of years ago. Indeed, 2016 brought about a significant slowdown of the buy-to-let market in the UK, following approximately two decades of growth. Nevertheless, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the market as a whole has run out of steam.

Even with the introduction of stifling bureaucracy for landlords and a 3% additional stamp duty charge, there’s still money to be made. Whether or not the buy-to-let market is lucrative or not comes entirely down to the decisions made by the investor. Not to mention, when and where they make their decisions, along with how they fund their property purchases.

The past few years have brought about a notable reduction in the number of ‘casual’ buy-to-let landlords. That being, those that own just one or two additional properties, who in significant volumes have cashed in on their investments and taken their money elsewhere. It’s clear that the buy-to-let sector in the UK is becoming increasingly professionalised, but this doesn’t mean it can’t hold enormous potential for those who are willing to commit.

For one thing, analysts point out that as casual buy-to-let owners depart the sector and investors in general remain cautious, there is significantly less competition among would-be buyers than there was previously. This in itself represents a potential benefit for those considering getting into buy-to-let operations. Not only this, but even at a time when capital growth isn’t nearly what it was over the past 20 years, the income that can be generated by investing in the property market still has the potential to outperform many other classes of assets.

Roughly translated – the buy-to-let boom may have come and gone, but this doesn’t mean the end of lucrative buy-to-let investment opportunities in the United Kingdom.

A Question of Locality

As has always been the case, it primarily comes down to location. It’s just that as things become somewhat trickier and more restrictive, investors need to select properties and locations more carefully than ever before. For example, a recent rental tracker published by Your Move indicated strong rent yields of approximately 5% in the Northeast and just under 5% in the Northwest, significantly ahead of inflation at 1.8%. By contrast, 10-year UK government bonds pay an income of 1.3%.

The government’s decision to raise second home stamp duty was motivated by the desire to free up inventory for movers and first-time buyers. An initiative that apparently worked, resulting in more supply becoming available.  Nevertheless, demand for quality rental properties across the United Kingdom remains elevated and continues to accelerate. It’s estimated that approximately 19% of households (approximately 4.6 million) rent their properties from private landlords. Many younger demographics prefer the flexibility of renting over the responsibility of buying, while some simply do not have the luxury of choice.

Access to Finance

Potentially lucrative buy-to-let investments continue to exist across the United Kingdom. One of the barriers typically standing between would-be investors and buy-to-let property ownership is access to finance. The vast majority of major lenders have tightened their roles and lending criteria significantly over recent years, disqualifying many who would previously have been considered eligible. Even when applicants have the means to qualify, they may not be able to come up with the sizeable up-front deposits needed to secure the loan.

This is one of the reasons why buy-to-let investors are increasingly turning to alternative funding solutions, such as bridging loans. Specialist lenders across the UK are compensating for the strictness of the High Street with an increasingly flexible and accessible portfolio of secured lending products.

It can be a tricky balancing act to pull off, but the right buy-to-let property in the right location at the right price funded in the right way can still add up to a lucrative investment. Work out the costs of a mortgage using our Mortgage calculator UK

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Other Finance News

London No Longer the Fastest UK City to Sell a Home

You’d be forgiven for assuming London would be the fastest city in the UK to find a buyer for your property. Until relatively recently, you’d have also been right on the money.

Five years ago, the average time needed to secure a buyer for property in London was just 36 days. According to Rightmove, average selling times had almost doubled by 2018, reaching approximately 60 days.

Interestingly, average property selling times in Scotland plummeted during the same period from 66 days to just 41 days. This would suggest that sellers in Scotland are currently finding it much quicker and easier to shift their properties than equivalent sellers in the capital.

Beyond Brexit Uncertainty

Various key areas of London’s property market have demonstrated signs of a rapid slowdown over recent years. The South East of England in general has been struggling with a somewhat stagnant property market, though the most dramatic price plummets in the region have been in and around London.

In the meantime, general property prices across the rest of the UK are still on the up.

A recent study carried out by Rightmove suggests that average property selling times in London are back where they were almost 10 years ago in 2011. This would seem to suggest that demand is dwindling in London, which has been attributed to both Brexit and other pressing issues.

“Whilst it would be easy to link that with the Brexit vote, there are other factors at play, especially increasingly stretched buyer affordability,” commented Rightmove’s housing market analyst, Miles Shipside.

One of the key factors affecting property sales in London is the growing reluctance among buy-to-let investors, discouraged from purchasing investment properties due to changes in taxation. In addition, more first-time buyers than ever before are turning to parents and grandparents to help them buy houses, rather than flats.

Real estate experts have also cited Scotland’s more transparent fee structure for home buyers and sellers as a key driver of prompt property sales across the country. Hidden costs in particular being much less of an issue for Scottish buyers.

Advice for UK Sellers

Across the board, experts are advising prospective property sellers in the UK to be both proactive and realistic, given current market conditions. It’s important to remember that where older flats in particular are concerned, sellers face the prospect of competing with new-build developments – often with gyms, restaurants, shops and other facilities right on their doorstep.

Rather than simply considering the value of the property as a standalone asset, it’s important to be realistic about its locality. Even if the interior of the property is pristine, it may not be an attractive prospect for first-time buyers who prioritise convenience and accessibility.

All of the usual rules and guidelines continue to apply. Examples of which being to de-personalise and de-clutter your home as much as possible, prior to inviting anyone over for an inspection. It needs to be presented as something of a blank canvas, allowing the prospective buyer to visualise how they would decorate the place themselves.

In addition, real estate experts are also warning sellers and buyers alike to expect a long and drawn out process. Whereas the average conveyancing time (when buying a flat) in England and Wales was around 100 days in 2011, the figure for 2018 came out at 123 days. Hence, agreeing on a sale in the late summer could mean failing to fully close the deal before Christmas.

The patience of sellers is therefore likely to be tested in more ways than one – particularly those attempting to sell properties in and around London.

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Housing Crisis: Spare a Thought for the Youngest In Society

The housing crisis in the United Kingdom means different things to different people. For some, skyrocketing property prices are playing directly into their hands and indeed their pockets. For others, it’s a case of accepting the stark reality that home ownership is unlikely at best.

Research suggests that approximately 90% of young people in Britain intend to own their own home at some point. Unfortunately, research from Santander suggests that only one in four young Britons (26%) will be on the property ladder by 2026.

This contrasts starkly with figures from 2006, at which time approximately half of young Britons (under the age of 34) owned their own home.

Of course, none of this will come as any real surprise to younger generations in the United Kingdom. The combination of astronomic property prices and stagnant wages has made the dream of homeownership an unlikely reality for most. Precisely why more than 70% of millennials believe that their chances of owning their own home are slim to none.

An Escalating Issue

With the state of the UK housing market as it is, fewer would-be first time buyers than ever before are making concerted efforts to get on the property ladder. Research suggests that only 42% have anything put away to cover the deposit on a prospective property. Interestingly, of those who had earmarked savings for a deposit, men were found to have saved twice as much as women.

While the men polled who had deposit savings put away had an average of £11,600, the women polled had saved an average of £5,620. Across both gender groups, the average target amount for those saving towards a property purchase was £24,000.

Had they managed to hit this target – which the vast majority didn’t – they would still have fallen short of the required funds to buy a home. Today, taking out a mortgage on an average property in the United Kingdom means coming up with a deposit of £44,000. For most everyday earners, this is simply out of the question.

In 1996, approximately 65% of people on low to medium incomes (between £20,000 and £30,000) owned a home. By 2016, this had fallen to just 27%.

Today, it’s estimated that around 65% of homebuyers are on incomes of more than £40,000 – significantly higher than the national average. Salaries have been rising on average by a mere 18% over the past decade, failing to maintain pace with average house prices, which are all around 47% for the same period.

Speaking on behalf of Santander Mortgages, managing director Miguel Sard acknowledged the difficulty facing an entire generation of first-time buyers.

“It’s clear that while the aspiration to own a home is just as strong as in previous generations, it’s a dream that is looking increasingly out of reach,” he said.

“Without change, homeownership in the UK is at risk of becoming the preserve of only the wealthiest young buyers over the next decade. This report should be a wake-up call for industry and the government to think more creatively to keep the homeownership dream alive for the next generation of first-time buyers.”

With conventional purchase channels all but closed, more first-time buyers than ever before are turning to friends and family for help. In fact, the study from Santander suggests that almost 40% of all first-time buyers now rely on support from parents and grandparents to purchase their homes.

In the meantime, the number of British people taking on second homes as buy-to-let properties is reaching an all-time high, having doubled since 2001. As wealthier Brits continue to capitalise on sky-high property prices and accelerating rental yields, an entire generation risks being priced out of the market.All attempts by the government to address the issue (Help to Buy, Lifetime ISAs etc.) have so far been criticised as inadequate, or simply not fit for purpose. Unless more drastic action is taken, the issue is only predicted to continue worsening over the years and decades to come.

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