• Petition Calls for Tax Change to Stop Landlords Exiting the Property Market
    Posted on 3 February 2023

    Petition Calls for Tax Change to Stop Landlords Exiting the Property Market

    Property industry figures are calling for action to prevent a critical shortage of rental stock in the buy-to-let sector.

    They say that unless the government acts, there will be an exodus of landlords from the private rental market.

    Such a scenario would reduce the number of properties available to rent – making it even more challenging for tenants to find a decent place to live – and drive up the cost of renting.

    Renters and landlords feel the squeeze.

    Landlords sold up in their droves last year, with 70,000 exiting the buy-to-let sector in 12 months.*

    At the same time, rents increased, with prices in Northern Ireland noW classified as unaffordable when compared with average wages.**

    So if rents are going up and not down, why are landlords quitting the market? Many BTL investors are struggling due to rising interest rates, increased red tape and changes to the tax system. They just can’t make the sums work, so they’re walking away from the sector.

    And what is the long-term impact of such a trend? Fewer landlords mean fewer rental properties. So, if you’re not in a position to buy your property (and with mortgage costs the way they are, fewer people can), then your options are reduced.

    Tenants are diverse, ranging from students and recent graduates to families and people in their sixties and seventies. A dramatic change in the structure of the housing sector would only create an even greater imbalance and leave tenants more exposed.

    The petition calls for change.

    Midlands landlord Simon Foster has started a petition demanding the reinstatement of tax relief for landlords (the Cameron government scrapped this type of relief).

    The petition calls “for landlords to be allowed to offset the full amount of mortgage interest against rental income before tax is calculated”. Such a measure would mean landlords are taxed on their profits, not their turnover, and slow down the decline in landlord numbers.

    More than 31,000 people have already signed the petition, backed by industry figures, including Maxine Fothergill, the immediate past president of ARLA Propertymark. If 100,000 people sign, the issue must be debated by MPs in Parliament.

    If you would like to sign the petition, you’ll find it here - SIGN PETITION

    If you would like any further information, please contact one of our offices.


    * Accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young
    ** Office for National Statistics
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  • Why should you use a professional letting agent?
    Posted on 31 January 2023

    Why should you use a professional letting agent?

    There are several benefits to choosing a professional letting agent who is a member of Propertymark.

    Professional Standards
    Propertymark agents are committed to following a strict code of conduct and adhere to professional standards, ensuring landlords and tenants are treated fairly and ethically.

    Compliance
    Propertymark agents are up-to-date with all the latest legislation, regulations and industry standards, ensuring that landlords are protected and their property is managed in compliance with the law.

    Local Market Knowledge
    Propertymark agents have local market knowledge and expertise, which is beneficial for landlords in terms of pricing, demand and trends for their property.

    Marketing & Advertising
    Propertymark agents have the expertise and resources to effectively market and advertise properties to potential tenants, helping to minimise void periods and increasing the chances of finding suitable tenants.

    Property Management
    Propertymark agents have the experience and knowledge to manage properties effectively, saving landlords time and effort. This includes handling maintenance and repairs, rent collection, and tenant relations.

    Redress
    Propertymark agents are required to be a part of a redress scheme, meaning landlords have a place to go if they have a complaint about the service provided by their agent, allowing it to be resolved quickly and efficiently.

    In summary, a professional letting agent who is a member of Propertymark provides landlords peace of mind by ensuring that their property is managed to a high standard, with a professional approach and compliance with laws and regulations.

    For more information about Propertymark and the strict standards we at Pinkertons adhere to, please visit the Propertymark website  
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  • Is the Highest Valuation of my House the Best?
    Posted on 24 January 2023

    Is the Highest Valuation of my House the Best?

    Good Question! But There are Many Factors to Keep in Mind

    In Northern Ireland, property prices have risen consistently over the last two years, and that’s excellent news for sellers who want to get the best possible price for their home. So it isn’t surprising that many sellers choose to use the estate agent that gives them the highest valuation for their property.

    But is that always the best decision?

    It may seem like a no-brainer to go with the estate agent giving you a valuation figure far above the others. But there are factors to remember before you make your final decision. The team at Pinkertons Estate Agents want you to know how crucial it is to understand the importance of a correct valuation. We want to help you make a properly informed choice when selling your home in Co. Down.

    An Overvaluation May Make Your Property Become ‘Stale’

    Some estate agents are prepared to do whatever it takes to get new business, including overpricing properties to persuade sellers to take up their services. We totally understand that it’s very tempting to choose the estate agent that suggests you list at a high asking price. But remember that if they have overvalued your home, it could sit for months on the market without any buyers showing interest – essentially, it becomes a stale property. Eventually, you’ll have to reduce your asking price to sell your home, and that never looks good to prospective buyers.

    The Importance of Price Banding

    All prospective property buyers have a budget they’ve set for themselves and will only view properties fitting into that criteria, usually with a small buffer margin just in case. When a property is overpriced, you’ll miss out on prospective buyers searching for a house just like yours but never see it in their searches because it’s been valued above their maximum budget limit.

    On the other hand, a realistic valuation will bring your home within the budget of more potential buyers. If there’s enough interest, you could find that your property is the subject of a bidding war where purchasers are prepared to push their financial boundaries to secure your property. This approach could see you getting a higher sale price for your home than you would have if you’d gone for the higher valuation in the first place.

    Getting an Expert Appraisal

    Choosing a reliable firm of estate agents like Pinkertons couldn't be more important when listing your property for sale in Bangor, Newtownards or Comber. A trustworthy company will always be honest, transparent, and straightforward and will use their local knowledge alongside information about the current property market conditions to give you the most accurate and realistic valuation for your home.

    Get Help

    Contact your local Pinkertons office to learn more about our property valuation process and how we can help you find the perfect buyer for your home.


    We care about property. We care about you.
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  • If Wishes Were Sales
    Posted on 13 January 2023

    If Wishes Were Sales


    Let's look at what it takes to make things happen in the property market this year because wishing is no longer enough.


    This time last year, Russia hadn’t set foot on Ukrainian soil, the chickens were still to come home to roost for Boris Johnson, we had hardly heard of Liz Truss and were barely out from Covid restrictions: nor had interest rates reached a 14-year high or the nurses, train drivers, postal workers, etc., embarked on strike action. Also, the property market was only showing tentative signs of cooling.

    It is difficult to imagine now how the property sector could not have been greatly affected by all that has happened at home and abroad during 2023.

    Yet despite all the political and economic turmoil, the property market is still active. If anything, the market has reached a more normal level of activity. It’s just that most activity is down to the doers and not the wait-and-seers.

    There are two ways to sell a property. The first is to let it happen. That has been fine over the past couple of years when all many had to do was to open the door to lots of open-house viewers and then bask in the flood of cash offers that ensued.

    The second way to sell a house is to make it happen. Now that the market has turned in favour of buyers, sellers can’t sit back; they have to take the initiative. So, to location, location, location as a vital buying feature, we must add price, price, price and condition, condition, condition.

    Just as last months seasonal festivities wouldn’t happen without people taking control and putting up decorations and cooking meals, property won’t sell without some effort from sellers to prepare it for the market. If that means setting a competitive asking price and keeping a welcoming exterior and neat and spotless interior, then so be it.

    Good estate agents are doers by nature, training and experience. But they can’t do it alone, they need their clients’ support and agreement. This teamwork is essential to get things done. To make things happen in the property market in 2023, don’t be a wisher. Be a doer.

    Please call your local Pinkertons office in Bangor or Comber for further advice and information, or email one of the team here.

    We look forward to hearing from you.
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  • What will the property market do in 2023?
    Posted on 3 January 2023

    What will the property market do in 2023?

    The experts are starting to weigh in, and compared to historical results, this next real estate cycle is leaving many questions on the table.

    The Bank of England increased the base rate from 3% to 3.5% in December, the 9th increase in a row and the highest since late 2008.

    Approximately one-third of properties have a mortgage, and 4,000,000 will see an increase of about £3,000 on their mortgage this year.

    1,600,000 of these are on a tracker mortgage, and with the latest increase, it will see a £49 rise per month and is £333 a month higher than this time last year.

    Variable rates will go up by £31 per month and are £210 higher than in January last year.

    A 3% rise from the historically low base rate in February 2020 looks like an extra £160 per month per £100,000 borrowed, and this 0.5% rise looks like an additional £26 per month.

    Inflation is 10.7% and is currently well below the 2% target.

    An overdraft is currently costing 20.73% and 19.31% for credit cards.

    Indeed we are going through a difficult economic period, but the above is all you will see from the media.

    Below is the other side of the story to give a balanced view.

    • The Bank of England has been around since 1694, and interest rates dropped below 2% in 2009 for the first time in their history.

    • During this time, the average base rate has been 5.92% and 9% since January 1975.

    • It is predicted to peak at 4.5% this year, not the originally forecasted 6%, and is still considerably lower than the long-time average.

    • Two of the nine members of the Monetary Policy Committee voted to keep the base rate the same, and rises have been seen worldwide and not just isolated to the UK.

    • The cheapest 2-year fixed rate is now 4.6% compared to 5.62% in October and is now 4.5% for five or ten-year fixed rates compared to 5.34% and 5.09% compared to October.

    • After the mini-budget, interest rates have come back down, and many lenders have already factored in the base rate rises.

    • The good news is that the Bank of England will not meet this month, so we should have a break from the negativity in the media. However, the base rate is predicted to rise again on the 2nd of February when the Committee meet again.

    • Inflation has dropped from 11.1% to 10.7%.

    • Remember, base rate rises are there to control inflation. We have had phenomenal equity growth (£48 per day on average between Feb 20 & April 22), buyers have been stress-tested for rate rises for several years now, and we still have record-low unemployment levels.

    Overall, we can’t escape the fact that times are tough. There is a cost-of-living crisis, energy costs are rising, and people are paying more for their mortgages.

    However, just under 50% of buyers move with cash or a deposit of 50% or more, and many homeowners have had an equity buffer build-up in recent years.

    Going from a historically low base rate to 3.5% has approximately reduced the budget of a buyer by 15% if their mortgage payments stay the same, so buyers either need to increase their monthly payment or reduce the amount they are willing to borrow to keep their mortgage payments the same.

    Our final point is - does the average person know how much interest they pay on their car loan?

    Probably not, but it's extremely likely they know the monthly amount in pounds and pence, so talk to them about this when it comes to house prices.

    Last but not least, a question -

    Would you rather buy a property in a growing market, with lots of competition from other buyers at a lower interest rate?

    OR

    Would you rather buy a property in a declining market, with less competition from other buyers, at a higher interest rate?

    I hope this post has brought a balanced view of what is expected in 2023.
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  • INTRODUCTION OF PRIVATE TENANCIES ACT (NORTHERN IRELAND) 2022 POSTPONED
    Posted on 6 December 2022

    INTRODUCTION OF PRIVATE TENANCIES ACT (NORTHERN IRELAND) 2022 POSTPONED

    The Department for Communities has announced a delay in the implementation of Sections 1-6 of the Act until 1 April 2023 to give local councils and those affected more time to adjust to the new rules. They were expected to be introduced at the end of December 2022.

    The Private Tenancies Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 will introduce a range of new requirements for agents and landlords. These are expected to come into force over the next few years gradually. The nature of some of these requirements, such as the introduction of energy efficiency standards and a review of potential powers to freeze rents continue to be debated.

    Sections 1-6 of the Act will include the following changes:
    • A new mandatory standardised Essential Tenancy Information Form will be required to be filled in and handed to all new tenants. This information will need to be provided alongside any tenancy agreement.

    • The requirement to provide the Essential Tenancy Information Form to tenants whose tenancies were granted between 30 June 2011 and 30 March 2023.

    • A requirement for agents and landlords to provide tenants with a written receipt for any payment made in cash by the tenant.

    • A tenant’s deposit is limited to one month’s rent.

    • Increased time for agents and landlords to comply with the requirements of an approved tenancy deposit scheme and share deposit information with tenants.

    • Additional charges for agents and landlords who fail to comply with tenant deposit scheme requirements. They will continue to commit a criminal offence throughout any period after they have been convicted and continue not to comply with deposit scheme requirements.

    Notice periods

    The changes to notice to quit periods, however, have already been in place since 5 May 2022.

    Landlords must provide tenants with the following notice to end a tenancy:
     - Four weeks if the tenancy has been in existence for up to 12 months.
     - Eight weeks if the tenancy has been in existence for more than 12 months but not more than ten years.
     - 12 weeks if the tenancy has been in existence for more than ten years.

    Tenants must provide landlords with the following notice in writing to end a tenancy:
     - Four weeks if the tenancy has been in existence for up to ten years.
     - 12 weeks if the tenancy has been in existence for more than ten years.
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  • PINKERTONS RAISE £2115 FOR ANGEL EYES NI
    Posted on 30 November 2022

    PINKERTONS RAISE £2115 FOR ANGEL EYES NI

    Pinkertons Estate Agents have raised £2115 for Belfast charity Angel Eyes NI through a quiz night held at Carnalea Golf Club on 19th November 2022.

    Angel Eyes is a local charity that helps blind and partially sighted children and their families gain equal access to everything they need to flourish and reach their full potential. As a charity that receives no public funding, Angel Eyes relies solely on private and company donations.


    For more information on Angel Eyes NI and the work that they do please visit https://www.angeleyesni.org/
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  • Are you and your property legally compliant?
    Posted on 18 August 2022

    Are you and your property legally compliant?

    It never ceases to surprise us how many DIY landlords are not compliant with even basic legislation.

    Legislation can be a minefield for landlords. It is estimated that there are more than 168 individual rules and regulations that apply to the Private Rented Sector, and these are often amended and updated – sometimes at relatively short notice.

    So not only is there a lot for landlords to know and understand, but if you don’t have a reliable way of staying up to date with changes, you could easily find yourself unknowingly falling foul of the law, which could be very costly, both financially and personally.

    Until 30th September 2022, we are offering a complementary Tenancy Review for all landlords, even those who are not clients of Pinkertons Estate Agents!

    Contact our team on 02891 479393 or by email at info@pinkertonsni.com to find out more.
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  • Welcome to our new website
    Posted on 17 August 2022

    Welcome to our new website

    We are absolutely thrilled to announce that our new website has arrived! After several months of hard work and dedication, our new website is now live!

    We have built our new website with you in mind. The streamlined user interface provides a more interactive experience, allowing our clients and prospects to easily find the information they are looking for. Visitors can browse the website based on their property needs, meet our people and learn more about our services, explore our properties for sale and rent and read content on our blog.

    We invite you to connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Linkedin and Google to stay engaged in our continued growth and collaboration. Additionally, be sure to check our blog section of our website for updates, property content, company announcements and feature stories of client successes.

    We hope you enjoy our updated website's fresh look and feel. Thanks to the entire Pinkertons team for their hard work and dedication. They made our new website a reality.

    For any questions, suggestions, or comments, please get in touch with us at info@pinkertonsni.com. 
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  • Five home hacks to do before selling
    Posted on 16 August 2022

    Five home hacks to do before selling

    Five Home Hacks To Do Before Selling

    In this short read, we will give you five brilliant home hacks to consider when it comes to selling your home.

    1. Utilise Your Storage Space


    We all know that good storage is a huge selling point in a property, especially in an age where we seem to have more and more gathering in our homes. Even if you don't have a lot of storage space, you can still utilise what you do have well. Using decorative boxes can make your storage space look organised and can match in with the aesthetic of your home. Display racks are also a great idea to help tidy away clutter and can make rooms look less crowded.

    2. Use Mirrors

    Mirrors are a great way of creating the feeling of space, especially if they are placed on a wall opposite a window. They reflect the natural light, brighten up the room and can make a smaller room feel more spacious - plus they look great!

    3. Check Your Lighting

    Make sure your home is well lit, especially for marketing photographs and viewings. Ensure that you replace any old or broken bulbs and make sure that all lights are working. Not only does good lighting make rooms easier to view, it also creates a nice atmosphere.

    4. Give A Homely Feeling

    It's a good idea to add some personal touches around your home, such as accessories or house plants. Placement of such things around the house can give that 'lived in' feeling without cluttering spaces.

    5. Get Some Artwork

    Artwork is a great way of adding that personal touch and can create character within the home without looking too overbearing.

    If you are looing to sell soon and would like some tips on how to make the most of your home, get in touch and we would be happy to offer our expert advice.
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