Tuesday 29 April 2014

Buy-to-let now 18 years old in the UK

Back in 1996 ARLA The Association of Residential Letting Agents came up with the "Buy-to-Let" concept. This was to encourage investors to buy property and let it out. This had followed on from an earlier Government's scheme called "The Business Expansion Scheme" BES. The objective of this earlier investment model was for specialist BES Companies to be established, they had their own tenancies and the properties could be bought for a given amount, kept for three to five years and sold on for a profit.

Then the housing market collapsed, double mortgage relief for couples was abolished and many BES Companies found that there was no way they could sell off their property portfolios without heavy losses.

Many landlords / investors had to continue letting out under normal assured shorthold tenancies of the era and wait (and in many cases wait for years) till property prices recovered again.

So this time around it was not a Government imitative , but one set up letting agents, after all ARLA was established by letting agents for professionals in that business. You did not have to set up a company for this and you did not need to buy a portfolio of property, just one.

I remember loads of leaflets arriving at our office from the various financial institutions behind this scheme. Well 18 years later it is still going strong and last Saturday "The Independent" like other newspapers had a feature on the subject.

They said "Over the past 18 years buy-to-let has provided average returns that outstrip those of comparable major asset classes, according to a report from the Wriglesworth Consultancy - It reckons that every £1,000 invested in an average buy-to-let property, purchased with a 75 per cent loan-to-value mortgage in the final quarter of 1996, would have been worth £13,048 by the final quarter of 2013, a compound annual return of 16.3 per cent".

With the rental market the way it is in the UK at present, it looks like buy-to-let will be with us for a long time yet.

If you are going down that route, consult a professional letting agent, one who is a member of ARLA. Follow guidelines on how to present your property. Keep it updated, after all if it was brand new ten years ago, there might been a lot more smarter properties built since then in your area.

Pay particular attention to upgrading kitchens and bathrooms and of course make sure you take out specialist landlord insurance. Rent protection / legal protection products should also be considered.

Find out more about these here.   

Friday 25 April 2014

Questor Insurance among the judges of Kent Teacher of the Year Awards 2014

Kent OnLine has just reported that 480 nominations have been made and the winners of the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards 2014 will be announced on Wednesday, May 14.

Rita Lawrence, organisational development manager at Questor Insurance is one of the judges and is pictured on the left with husband Andrew Lawrence. More information Here

Questor Insurance is based in Rainham, Kent and provides an excellent  range of insurance products including:

Car hire - Van hire - Minibus hire - Motorhome hire excess insurance products, excess insurance products and Travel insurance.

The company  was set up in 2006 and has grown in size over the past few years employing over twelve people.

If you are looking for car hire excess insurance and want to save 10 per cent follow this link -  http://www.insurance4carrental.com/questor.htm#Discount

For all their other insurance products including Lifestyle insurance, insurance for golfing holidays, car club hire excess insurance follow this link  http://www.questor-insurance.co.uk/affiliate/?ag=105097

Lambretta - Scooter - Motorbike Insurance

For the past three years jml Insurance has been promoting scooter and motorcycle insurance products.

One of the popular enquiries is regarding "Lambretta" insurance.
According to "Wikipedia" Lambretta was a line of motor scooters originally manufactured in Milan, Italy by Innocenti.

Innocenti was the company that used to build Minis under licence and  they offered wind down windows, quarter lights and smart bumpers on their models. It was an experience going to Italy to see the much smarter Mini than you could find back on the roads in England.

Today there are still numerous owners worldwide and this site has plenty of useful information.

Many owners have been finding jml Insurance and following a link to the specialist motorcycle insurance company  Allstyles Insurance.

Allstyles Insurance are able to provide insurance cover for most types of scooter and motorcycles from a panel of insurers which includes specialist providers for those more unusual scooters and motorbikes.
Cover Can Be Provided On The Following Basis:
  • Insured Only, Named Driver or Any Driver Policies
  • Comprehensive
  • Third Party Fire & Theft
  • Third Party Only
  • Multi Bike Policies
Optional Covers:
  • Protected No Claims Bonus
  • Legal Expenses
  • Gap Insurance
  • UK & European Breakdown Covers
  • Loss of Keys

They Can Provide Cover For The Following Types Of Vehicles:

  • Scooters
  • Motorbikes
  • Custom Bikes
  • Custom Scooters
  • Modified Scooters/Bikes
  • Imported Scooters/Bikes
  • Classic Scooters / Bikes
  • High Value Bikes/Scooters

To find out more visit their page http://www.jml-insurance.co.uk/displayproduct.php?id=381&sec=2

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Real Storage Wars on BBC TV more people will be hiring vans

Last night on BBC2 television there was a very interesting programme - "Business Boomers: Real Storage Wars".

We have all seen the growing number of self storage units being built on the edges of towns in Britain and apparently it is now very big business.

For those who  use the A40 going into London, Vanguard Storage has been in a prominent building on the Western Avenue for some 50 years. They have large scale models of what can be stored including washing machines, wardrobes, standard lamps and naturally the kitchen sink. Once there was even a model of an aeroplane!

Today it is big business and last night's programme outlined some of the players and what it actually costs. It is not cheap to store your belongings and more and more people are doing this.

If you are moving some of your belongings into self storage you will often need to hire a van unless your car is big enough, you have a van or your friend owns one.

Holiday Autos have a van hire section with collection points throughout the UK, not as many as for car hire, but of course then more cars will be hired out. For more information  visit their website here 

Whenever you hire a van, just like with car hire or motorhome hire, you will be asked to pay additional excess waiver insurance in case there is an accident with the vehicle you are hiring.

Just like with hiring a car, buying your excess insurance from an independent insurance company will be a lot cheaper than buying it from the van hire company. You buy it by the day and the following companies offer such a product.

Questor Insurance Services  - Information Here

Insure my vanhire - Information Here

iCarhireinsurance - Information Here

Finally you just might be borrowing that friend's van to move your prize collection of Star Wars figures and the van has to be insured then you need temporary car / van insurance - More information Here from Insuredaily

Finally don't forget to keep on paying for your storage, last night there was a small segment of the company admin staff having to break into a storage unit and then the proceeds ( if they were worth anything) being auctioned off. 

Monday 14 April 2014

Have you got your Easter 14 Travel and car hire excess insurance sorted yet?

The Easter weekend is approaching fast and although many people might have already taken an Easter vacation because Easter us quite late this year, there are still many others who will be going away this weekend.  

Reminder! Renting  a car, Motorhome or Van (if you are moving this weekend) - Have you bought your vehicle excess waiver insurance? Yes / No, well if you buy it direct from the vehicle rental company, chances are you will pay a lot more for it than from buying it from an independent specialist insurance company.

There are a great selection of companies to choose from on the insurance4carrental.com specialist advertising site - Questor Insurance - Carhireexcess.com - Essential Travel -  iCarhireinsurance - insurance4carhire - and ProtectYourBubble  Follow this link to find out more

What about Travel Insurance itself - Well even if you are just going away for the weekend, it is very sensible to take out travel insurance.  There are a lot of reasons -

Holiday delayed?
•Missed departure?
•Lost your passport?
•Personal money stolen?
•Damaged your ski equipment?
•Personal Accident?
•Abandon your holiday before you leave the UK
•Catastrophe — fire, flood, earthquake or storm
•Medical Emergency — Hospital — Emergency Dental Treatment
•Legal Advice

Take a look at the Travel insurance page at jml insurance and arrange your Travel insurance on line now.

HomeLet Insurance survey finds UK rents see largest increase since March 2011

HomeLet the specialist Landlord and Tenant insurance provider have just published their latest Rental Index of UK rates.

From this they report that Wales and the West Midlands were home to three consecutive monthly decreases in average rental amounts to £580 and £592 per month respectively. Both amounts are also the lowest since October 2013.

The North East’s monthly and annual decreases of 2% and 16.6% respectively to £492 per month, means average rental amounts are at their lowest since January 2010.

Only four of the UK’s regions saw monthly increases in average rental amounts.The average amount a tenant earns in the UK increased by 6.2% during the past 12 months to £29,000
Although Greater London saw a 0.2% monthly decrease in average rents, the average cost of renting a home in the capital is 7.3% higher than the same time last year.

The North/South divide widens as rents in the capital increase to almost three times those in the North East and Martin Totty, Chief Executive Officer of Barbon Insurance Group, the owners of HomeLet Insurance commented "The flexibility of renting a home means tenants are able to move into a new home within weeks. It’s an alternative housing solution for a range of people and it’s increasingly the preferred choice of many.

There’s certainly been a shift in the demographic, expectations and lifestyle of tenants within the private rented sector, and I believe the trend of ‘generation rent’ will continue to grow for the imminent future."

If you own a "let property" or are thinking of buying one make sure you insure the property through a specialist company like HomeLet Insurance. They have been in this business for years now and of course look after tenants, including students as well.
To find out more visit the HomeLet Insurance site here

Thursday 3 April 2014

Staysure Insurance Easter 2014 update

Just received Staysure Insurance's Easter Newsletter.

As normal it is full of great information including our their ten things to do over the Easter break.

They are suggesting a selection of breaks - why not?

1) Theatre breaks - Museums 
 2) Take a City Break in Britain
 3) Take a Spa break
4) Visit a Theme Park or Zoo maybe?
5) Take your children or grand children on an Adventure  break.
6) Cycle between Bath and Bristol - Why? The Bristol and Bath Railway Path is a 13-mile off road route that is popular with walkers, cyclists and it makes a good day out for a family.
7) Rent a cottage break in the UK. There are plenty at www.jmlvillas.com 
8)  National Trust & National Heritage visits.
9) Take a Canal boat break. and finally
10) wait for it - stay at home. Lots of things you can do apart from gardening, entertaining family and friends and even going to the cinema (more details Here

Staysure offers a great selection of Insurance products find out more here

Find out more about Staysure the over 50's experts range of products including  Health insuranceTravel Insurance, Holiday Homes insurance, Home insurancePrivate Health insurance and Motor insurance Staysure Holidays and it is well worth visiting
Enjoy your Easter break whatever you do....................

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Bits and Pieces from Rentguard Insurance March 14 Property Eye

Just received the March edition of Rentguard Insurance Property Eye.

It is full of useful facts and figures starting with their "Market Watch" report. A much simpler report than HomeLet's Rental Index, this does at least given a general snapshot of the market.

According to their report and Countrywide source figures - 56% of Landlords in the UK live within 10 miles of their rental property.

The number of new tenancies increased by 15% in the UK last year.

Then for Buying (info for Rentguard Insurance sourced from Ocean Finance - One in three people with a repayment mortgage in the UK won't repay it until they are aged 60 or over.

Landlord's Frequently Asked Questions;

Q: I want to let out my property, do I need to tell my mortgage provider?
A: Yes, if you have a residential mortgage you must obtain the permission of your mortgage provider before looking to rent out the property.

Q: How do I improve the chances of letting out my property?
A: Your properties should be clean, well-maintained, and well decorated to increase your chances of finding a tenant.

Q: Should I use a managing agent?
A: Managing agents create a professional distance between you and your tenants. They can also help take the strain out of dealing with un-pleasantries such as deposit disputes or rent arrears. If you decide to use a managing agent, then you should choose one which is a member of the Property Ombudsman (TPO) as this way you can be sure they will be up to date with current legislation, and provide an independent arbitrator should you be unhappy with their service. (More of these here)

Estate and letting agent fees under the spotlight

One sure sign of the recovery in the property market is that estate agents fees are once again a hot topic.

Some interesting – albeit sure to be controversial – research from eMoove.co.uk suggests that estate agents charge some of the highest hourly fees of all professionals. 
Whilst online estate agent eMoove clearly has a vested interest in encouraging people away from traditional high street agents, the figures are nevertheless interesting.

eMoove claims that high street estate agents charge up to £774 an hour to sell a property which is more than 50% more than a lawyer (£500) and several times higher than a private doctor (£250), psychologist (£165) or plumber (£90).

The figures were calculated on the basis of it taking between 5 and 15 hours to sell a property.  An average agent fee of £3,872 was calculated using the 1.6% average fee charged and the average UK property value of £242,000.

eMoove founder Russell Quirk said: “Typical high street estate agents are charging vendors extortionate fees for a service that is relatively straightforward. “
Estate Agents have been quick to respond explaining that the traditional business model includes a number of fixed costs such as professional photography, floor plans, portal and online advertising, not to mention staff time, apply to all of the properties they list. 

However as they only sell a proportion of what is listed; the fees of the others have to be absorbed. Alternative business models such as charging upfront fees to vendors or a fixed fee to vendors withdrawing their property from the market unsold have been tried but UK consumers seem unwilling to accept a change from the status quo in sufficient numbers to make this work.

In a separate piece of research; a BBC investigation claims to have uncovered widespread evidence of letting agents charging holding deposits or other administration fees but then not letting prospective tenants move in and refusing to refund their money to them.

The investigation, which was carried out by Newsbeat said that a Freedom of Information request found that 71 of the 200 trading standards teams in England had received at least one complaint about this issue. It also reported that there could be many more victims due to the way in which information was recorded and a lack of reporting by tenants. Source Rentguard Insurance - March 14

Why not visit Rentguard Insurance Here and access their website for property insurance requirements