Why January is the Best Time to House Hunt

The boundless joy of the festive season is over and all that’s left is darkness and misery, right? Wrong! I’ve been doing a bit of research lately and have discovered an interesting fact about what many of us consider to be the dreariest month: January is a great time to go house hunting. In fact, January may just be the best time of year for this task. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons for that. Let’s explore them.

Unappreciated Properties

During the heady days of December, a time when most of us take a break from work, not many people actually go house hunting. This is because there are so many meals to be prepared, presents to be carefully chosen, cards to be written and family gatherings to attend.

What does this mean to house hunters? Well, if you look on a good property site like Andrews Online you might find some brilliant properties that haven’t been given the attention they deserve. These might be properties which were listed at the start of winter and are still available. They may have even been listen in autumn and been unlucky enough to miss the summer house hunting season. So, you could find yourself a beautiful home that at any other time would have been snapped up. The owners may even have reduced the asking price or be willing to accept a lower offer than they originally anticipated.

Less Competition

January is when we tuck ourselves into bed or curl up in front of the telly with a warm cup of cocoa. We might even spend our time upgrading our existing properties. It isn’t traditionally when people brave the bracing cold and view homes which are for sale. But if you’re prepared to get out there and do a bit of legwork you might discover that your competition is somewhat thinned, because most people tend to hunt for homes in the warmer seasons.

With fewer people viewing a property you could be given preferential treatment by agents and owners. In other words, your viewing of a property could be longer or you could be given a more complete tour. You could even spend so long with the owner or estate agent that you strike up a rapport. And a friendly relationship may work wonders when it comes to bargaining.

Beat the Blues

For many of us January is a time of giving up bad habits, and sometimes this can create tension. House hunting could be the perfect way to brighten your mood, because it will give you something positive to do. If you’re looking at property websites and going out to view homes for sale, you won’t have time to feel sorry for yourself. And while you’re out there you might just grab yourself a January bargain. So, it’s a win-win situation.

Do you have a particular season which you think is best for house hunting? Or do you have any general house hunting advice? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

Collaboration

Designing the Perfect Student Buy to Let

While there’s some concern that Brexit may yet have an impact on the number of students from abroad coming to study in the UK, there’s still great demand for student lets here in the UK and letting to students can be a lucrative option. With seven in ten landlords reportedly refusing to let out their properties to students, could entering this niche be an option for you?

 

Whether you’re an existing buy to let landlord or a student who has a little capital behind them and contemplating buying to let to friends, it’s worth noting that UK student accommodation yields have been fairly stable since 2006 according to Empiric. And as Richard Lambert, chief executive recently pointed out when speaking to the Telegraph, `’student lets offer the highest rental yields and are least likely to experience rental areas compared to other tenants, such as professionals, couples, or families.”  Since many parents usually act as guarantors for students, they could prove far less of a risk than other types of tenants. If this sounds like the type of investment you’re looking to make, today we’re sharing a few essential design features that can add appeal in student digs.

Terrah Holly

Be generous with bathrooms

The days when students were happy with a bed, desk and sink in their own room are long gone. As a student landlord you’ll usually be expected to provide white goods along basic furniture like beds and desks, but students often expect a little more these days. Multiple bathrooms are a real plus when it comes to student living and if the accommodation houses bedrooms over multiple floors, it’s useful to have bathrooms situated accordingly too. Bedrooms with en suites naturally command higher rental yields, so if you’re planning some layout changes on a buy-to-let property you’ve bought, think carefully about whether fewer bedrooms upgraded to include en suites may be a smarter swap than creating more bedrooms. Be sure to check out the cost of the competition in your area before your embark on renovations too as well as getting a feel for which properties are snapped up quickly. While luxury student accommodation has become more popular in recent years it’s not within every students’ budget, so it’s best to have a clear idea of what type of accommodation is already available and the type of students you’d like to attract.

Carefully plan communal areas

When you’re renting to a group of students, equal if not more attention needs to be paid to the communal areas compared to the individual bedrooms. And from a landlord’s perspective, you need to think of functionality as well as fun. When it comes to carpets, wall coverings and kitchen surfaces, it’s sensible to choose hardwearing and easy to clean materials without compromising too much on appearance. While it’s not fair to assume students will match up to their messy stereotypes, you ought to consider that such areas will undergo substantial use and thus wear and tear. Flat screen TVs, American style fridges and fancy hot tubs have instant appeal and as such are the latest must-haves in top end student accommodation. However, a great Wifi connection throughout the home and well thought out outdoor and indoor entertainment areas will be appreciated much more in the longer term. If you’re working on a property with a garden, think about practical changes like adding secure bi-fold doors for use when your tenants are hosting summer barbecues or doing some study in the open air.

Location, location, location

There are larger student populations in some cities than others, and thus some areas continue to have a real shortage of quality, affordable student accommodation. One recent survey by SPCE found that 70 per cent of students feel that student accommodation is often in poor condition and run down. Commit to meeting that need and you could really be onto a winner. Proximity to a place of study, public transport links and other amenities such as supermarkets, bars and cafes are all likely to be part of a potential student letter’s lust list. But don’t overlook other potential pulls such as local gyms, parks and green spaces or doctor’s surgeries. And, while parking won’t be essential for all, it will definitely be seen as a plus, particularly by parents dropping off their offspring for the term ahead!

Have you let out property to students in the past? What would be your advice to other would-be landlords considering entering the market? And, if you’re a student, have you thought about becoming a live in landlord?

Collaboration

Why Insurance Is So Important

Insurance is one of those things that the majority of us have but the majority of us also moan about paying. But insurance is SO important. Whether you are ensuring your life, your home, your car or your pet, insurance makes sure that you are covered for most eventualities.

We currently have life insurance, contents and car insurance. We’ve also been considering getting private medical and serious illness insurance too. I am currently the sole wage earner and with self employment being up and down as it is, if I was to get seriously ill and not be able to work then we would really be up the creek without a paddle. We’ve been looking at different providers such as Rigby Financial who offer a wide range of insurance products.

Luckily we have never had to claim on any of our insurance products but paying the monthly or annual sums is so worth the peace of mind to know that we are covered in case anything does happen. I want to make sure that my children will be well cared for and comfortable should anything happen to me, hence life insurance. I want to make sure that we are staying within the law and that if we were to be an accident, repairs would be covered, hence car insurance. Contents insurance is there to ensure that our possessions are covered for – with two kids around, accidents do happen and whilst certain possessions aren’t necessities to have, its nice to be able to replace them.

Christopher Harris

I don’t understand people who don’t have insurance – especially those who are breaking the law and endangering others by not having it! Wouldn’t you want to protect everything you love, everything you have, everything you own? I know I certainly do!

Obviously insurance comes with terms and conditions and clauses and you need to be exactly sure what you are covered for – there may be a substantial excess charge or that thing you thought was covered isn’t – and then where will you be? However, just because there is certain clauses that is by no means an excuse not to have insurance.

No matter my budget and how low my income may get at times due to the perils of self employment, I always make sure I have money in to cover my insurance products as I don’t want to be left high and dry should something horrible happen to myself, my home or my car.

Insurance is one of my most important bills and one I am more than happy to pay…is it yours?

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