Surprisingly, my mainly political/economic postings on the high profile Property Tribes website have propelled me to #18 in their Top Contributors list, despite the fact that I don’t post too frequently or read all their threads (as I don’t have the time). Presumably my posts have attracted “likes”.

Interesting statistics, but not surprising ones.

Do politicians realise the fact stated here by the NLA that three in 10 landlords with a single property only breakeven or make a loss? Seemingly from their electoral promises it appears not, as there’s easy votes to be won portraying Landlords as villains.

Again, this is a point that I’ve been making to investors for some time. Being a Landlord is not only hard work but the net profit is substantially less than people imagine, and if Landlords took out repayment mortgages instead of interest-only, and costed out their own labour in £’s per hour, how many would then be making a profit?

They are relying on capital growth, which is at the mercy of capricious markets.VERY risky.

Property “Staging” is popular in the US and we have been seeing this sort of advice being given on TV here in the UK. It is where a business is called in to give advice to a home owner on how to achieve a higher selling price for their home. It can involve decoration, de-cluttering, cleaning (you may be surprised at how filthy some people are!), keeping pets hidden & that sort of thing.

When I refurbish properties and put them up for sale, I furnish them so that they look like a home rather than a clean property. This way it makes the property more desirable & aspirational, and can solve problems eg storage.

However, most refurbishers dont do this. In fact, along with my business partner I have just taken on 5 flats, buying them from a builder who was getting little interest in them. Our belief is that this was because he was selling them as plain white empty but carpeted boxes. Time will tell whether we are right about these.

Anyway, because I see so many properties that are badly presented, and badly photographed by Agents, I wanted to get some feedback as to why Agents don’t use Staging companies, because for a small investment they could achieve a higher selling price for their clients. I know its not an easy conversation to have with a seller because they are proud of their home, and its easy to take offence at what is tantamount to personal criticism!

So, I’ve asked this question in an Estate Agents forum in LinkedIn.

Mnay years ago, when I was training Estate Agents, it occurred to me that the valuation that is put on a property depends upon how quickly a vendor needs to move.

If they have no urgency and are prepared to wait say for example 12 months, themn the price that the property is advertised at can be somewhat higher because the vendor is looking for that one buyer who “falls in love” with the property and is prepared to pay more than its estimated value (people will pay more for perceived quality in any marketplace).

Conversely, if they need to sell their home quickly, maybe because of divorce, relocation, a death in the family, redundancy etc, then they need to find a considerable number of buyers who would be happy to pay that price. This is a market where property developers and investors inhabit. People who are looking for a bargain.

This is all simple economics. Supply & demand.

So, why then don’t agents seem to discuss this issue and price variation when they are do listing appointments (more commonly known as valuations).

Patently my training has been forgotten, so out of interest I have posted the question on an Agents forum in LinkedIn.

If it interests you, check it out at;

A good article by Jo. It should be copied by Estate Agents & given to all vendors before they put their property on the market.

Have a look at Estate Agents photos and see how many vendors need advice!

This is great news! Not before time. Previously is was a bizarre and unfair tax.

At last the unfair block system has been removed and a system akin to income tax rates has been introduced. This means that the higher rate only applies to the price banding rather than the full value of the property.

Residential properties Purchase price of property Rate of SDLT…more

This will free up the distortions in property prices & enable properties to be sold at market value, not a value distorted by avoidance of a major increase in SDLT costs.
A property being sold at £260,000 will now attract SDLT as follows;
The first £125000 = Nil
£125000-£500000 = £2500
£250000-£260000 = £500.
Total £3000.

Previously this would have been £7800

Well done Chancellor. Can’t remember the last time I complimented a Minister.

Well done to Thorgills in London for producing this. Its different, enjoyable & watchable because theyve used kids to present it.

This article is worth reading. The media are quoting figures about property values that are provided by Rightmove. They are using asking prices – they are irrelevant. Its selling prices that count.

Don’t journalists question statistics or do they just like sensationalising?!

Ray Boulger from mortgage broker John Charcol thinks rates have hit their low point.
Certainly in the last couple of weeks, the interbank lending rates in the US have increased by a large percentage, although as its on a small number it doesn’t appear significant. This could well be the start of a climb for interest rates returning to their average (approx 7% in the UK). This is a worry. Too many people (including investors) are unprepared for higher interest rates.

This isnt a sensationalist article, and I dont agree with everything in it.

As a broad statement, my opinion of economists is very low. They are usually wrong. They seem to me to be make numerical projections based upon historical data, and after-the-event justifications. This should involve an understanding of markets, human nature & psychology. They are clearly lacking in these skills, so I usually ignore those who are quoted in the media.

The reason for posting it is because the article has been written by the Peterson Institute for International Economics and they are a “private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution”, and I feel it creates some balance that people should consider before they dive blindly into property investing, as they are offering a contrarian opinion to the mainstream. Balance improves our decision-making.

Give it a read.

ps apparently the article which was authored by Adam Posen (who is President of the Petersen Institute) is also in the FT