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Lettings: How to best manage your assets

Published: 24/12/2014    Last Updated: 19/02/2015 19:32:41    By: Luke Simpson   

When it comes to lettings, whilst a return on investment is one thing, sleeping well at night is quite another!

Some landlords, especially those who are new to the experience, understandably wish to use a letting agent simply as a route to market in order to find a tenant. However, whilst a return on investment is one thing, sleeping well at night is quite another! A managed service is not just about chasing late rent, resolving disputes and inventory control.
When your property is professionally managed, it’s all about accountability. This means regular inspections to check that your tenant is treating your investment with the respect it deserves. During these inspections, well-trained staff are able to identify any areas that should be investigated in order to avoid or reduce costs later.
Many tenants also prefer to rent a property that is managed through a letting agent, possibly because they have had a “problem landlord” in the past so they tend to stay longer.
Additionally, no matter how compliant a tenant may seem at the outset, the last thing a landlord needs is someone phoning him/her at all hours with the some minor issue over a draft, dripping tap, clanking pipes, noisy neighbours, etc. All or these are part of a day’s work for a dedicated managing agent!
One of the most important considerations is that as property managers, we get to know our clients’ tenants, and have a good understanding of their plans, often pre-empting a premature departure, so we can prepare and let the property in time to avoid it being empty – even for a day!
Most of our landlords derive great value from our managed service and we invite you to experience the difference yourself.

In his own words, Harry Hammonds Sales Manager talks about his journey into agency

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I often sit and wonder if my career in estate agency was one of chance or destiny. If I were asked as a young adolescent what industry I could see my future career being in, I most likely would have said media following in the footsteps of my father whom had worked for the Financial Times for many years. It seemed a logical step.


Some of my close family had for many years been involved in the property business in various sectors, including a cousin who had embarked in a career in Estate Agency around the time, and frankly it had not even entered my head that this could be a path for me.

Then arrived my Sliding doors moment for any of you familiar with the Gwyneth Paltrow film of the late Ninety’s. Sat in form assembly  on the day our work experience placements were announced, I was pinning my hopes on the two week placement I had listed as first choice working for the local Gazette, only to find I was to be spending a fortnight at a local estate agents on Ascot High street. After a moment of initial disappointment, I embraced my new role and began tapping up family member’s in the industry for a bit of an inside opinion of what to expect.

And there it began. The property bug if you like. I enjoyed every moment of it and even then managed to get a Saturday job working for Savills nearby and one could say I never looked back.
I am originally from Ascot and began my career local to home, but there was a burning desire to edge closer to London one day and test my skills in the famed London market. After a brief spell in Middlesex, I then moved to a large corporate company and had spells in both Ealing and Chiswick before setting stall in Acton with Aston Rowe.

After a number of years in the corporate agency, I decided the culture wasn’t quite for me and was in the market for a move, as I had a really great experience working for a strong local independent in Ascot, so I wanted to find a London equivalent.
After a few interviews, a cousin of mine, who just so happens to be a director of Aston Rowe, had a word in the ear over a few glasses of champagne at a family wedding about wanting to recruit a strong team to head up Acton sales and establish a market leading Estate agency brand, and wondered if I was interested. It was a no brainer really.

Over the past three years, I feel a sense of achievement as to the progress we have made and it’s great to be a part of that. It’s rewarding creating a business out of the ground and in to an on-going success and far more interesting than being a number in a large organisation as before.

I now head up the Sales team and one of the most satisfying elements of why I love my job here is working your socks off to do a good job on a sale, and get a great review and pat on the back from a happy seller or buyer at the end. It makes it all worthwhile and far more so than the financial reward in my book.

Our directors have worked hard to recruit the very best candidates and have instilled an ethos of excellence in everything we do, and are continually working on developing growth and consistency every day, which is a good reason as to how we have risen to having an enviable market share from nothing in three and a half years.

This year we look forward to the opening of our second office in Brook Green in the early spring, and I am sure the story won’t end there after judging by the drive of our senior management. There is certainly no nepotism within these walls and our desire to strive forward with a focus on excellent service is a good reason why a third of our business comes via referral.

So I suppose I can thank my old tutor Mrs Ardy for picking me to work for the local Estate Agent and not the newspaper as today I could by contrast be writing this article for some event in the financial climate.

And if you haven’t seen Sliding doors, I suggest you do as it’s an interesting theory.


 
 

Luke Simpson speaks to the Westside Resident magazine

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Luke Simpson, Director at Aston Rowe speaks to the Westside Resident magazine about the state of the West London property market and his own lifestyle pursuits.

In what way has the local property market changed in the last year?
Over the past 12 months the local property market has changed dramatically in West London. The sales market is now bustling with activity and buyer applications are outstripping supply of property in certain postcode areas, leading to prices generally increasing across the board. We have noticed a number of buyers trading up locally, instead of moving out of London, and many moving into the area that have sold in more expensive postcodes, to downsize their debt and still get a large family home.

What is your favourite holiday destination?
You’ll find me switching off and sailing the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia with close friends and family. The relaxed and welcoming atmosphere of the locals coupled with the history and architecture is what I call a holiday. Thirty degrees on the front of a boat makes you quickly forget about the West London property market.

What is your favourite local street?
Churchfield Road these days has a real vibe about it. With a number of lifestyle businesses and very good coffee shops, Churchfield Road has a village feel and community spirit. Whether it’s the launch of another new business or a street party with a local band, Churchfield Road is in the centre of the action. And our office is there of course.

What is your favourite film?
A movie that constantly resonates in my mind due to watching it far too many times is Cool Runnings. Everyone loves an underdog story and who would actually think Jamaica would have a bobsled team. I refrain from using quotes on daily basis.


What are your predictions for the local property market?
I am predicting that the market will continue to go from strength to strength this year. Demand for property does not seem to be slowing and many properties are having to launch to the market via an open house and on some occasions having a number of competing bids, sometimes over asking price. The prices that some properties were sold for six months ago now seem good value in comparison to today’s prices, so it will be interesting how prices will fare over the next 12 months.

Lettings: How to best manage your assets

Property image Property image

When it comes to lettings, whilst a return on investment is one thing, sleeping well at night is quite another!

Some landlords, especially those who are new to the experience, understandably wish to use a letting agent simply as a route to market in order to find a tenant. However, whilst a return on investment is one thing, sleeping well at night is quite another! A managed service is not just about chasing late rent, resolving disputes and inventory control.


When your property is professionally managed, it’s all about accountability. This means regular inspections to check that your tenant is treating your investment with the respect it deserves. During these inspections, well-trained staff are able to identify any areas that should be investigated in order to avoid or reduce costs later.


Many tenants also prefer to rent a property that is managed through a letting agent, possibly because they have had a “problem landlord” in the past so they tend to stay longer.
Additionally, no matter how compliant a tenant may seem at the outset, the last thing a landlord needs is someone phoning him/her at all hours with the some minor issue over a draft, dripping tap, clanking pipes, noisy neighbours, etc. All or these are part of a day’s work for a dedicated managing agent!


One of the most important considerations is that as property managers, we get to know our clients’ tenants, and have a good understanding of their plans, often pre-empting a premature departure, so we can prepare and let the property in time to avoid it being empty – even for a day!


Most of our landlords derive great value from our managed service and we invite you to experience the difference yourself.




 

West London property prices on the up

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 The cost of buying a home in Acton is on the up - reflecting a growing local trend which is being put down to the 'Crossrail effect'.

Luke Simpson from Aston Rowe says: '' Acton is now an area of choice. Both homebuyers and savvy investors are often going to sealed bids on Acton’s local housing stock and prices are generally on the rise in certain parts of the area. Some are selling up and moving in to the area from more expensive neighbouring areas such as Kensington, Chiswick and Notting Hill to live in Acton.

We have also noticed an increased trend in local homeowners trading up locally when in the past many may have moved out of the area. 
''The effect of the Crossrail is being reflected by the substantial increase in buy to let properties in Poet’s Corner and around the Mainline Station. ''

 A recent property report described W3 as great value for money - an overlooked area that is catching up with its chic neighbours.
Prices for the fourth quarter of 2012 are up 4.5% on previous three months which itself was a record. This is up 2.5% on same period last year. The average price for a property in Acton now just over £415,000.

Flat prices have also hit at new record - they're exchanging hands for over £300,000 for the first time.
The volume of sales is good - showing more movement in the market - which always makes estate agents happy - figures are up by 55.7% on same period three years ago.

The surge comes after prolonged period in the doldrums. Up by 20.5% over five years and 71.9% over ten years
London was the best performing part of England and Wales during 2012 with an increase of 8.4% The average price of a home in London is now £371,223 according to the Land Registry.
For England and Wales as a whole prices rose by 1.7% over the year to £162,080.

The most up-to-date figures available show that during October 2012, the number of completed house sales in England and Wales decreased by 3 per cent to 56,337 compared with 57,988 in October 2011.

The number of properties sold in England and Wales for over £1 million in October 2012 increased by 14 per cent to 623 from 548 in October 2011.

All regions saw a decrease in repossessions between October 2011 and October 2012 ranging from 8 per cent in the South East to 35 per cent in the North East.

The numbers below are subject to revision as is it usual that some properties are added late to the Land Registry's database.

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