Ask the Expert Susie Waterfall

Susie Waterfall, Mountgrange Heritage1. Why should I use a property management agent?
Peace of mind – and peace and quiet! Tenants paying premium rents in this area expect to have any problems that arise dealt with swiftly, efficiently and professionally, whatever time or day it is. It makes total sense to have a hands-on Property Manager to take the strain and deal with everything from the boring minutiae to the major dramas, which invariably occur at the worst possible time. Most of our clients are busy successful professionals who prefer to employ our expertise, happy in the knowledge our fees can be off set against tax.

2. Short or Long Term Tenants?
Depending on the Landlords situation I’d recommend an either or approach. In our patch there tends to be more demand for long term lets which can be reassuring for investment landlords looking for regular cash flow and minimum void periods. However if you’re an ‘accidental’ landlord who needs flexibility – for example if you’re going abroad for a period of time or you need to return to your property for a few months, short lets can generate useful income for an otherwise empty property. Also some companies will pay a significant premium to secure a home from home for an employee short term so if the rental level is seductive enough it can be appealing to most Landlords regardless of their original intention.

3. Rental Capital v Yields?
The honest answer is under current market conditions any Investment Landlord has to combine the two and look at the whole picture. Rental yields are historically low at the moment and potential capital growth spectacularly high so add the two together and the real picture should emerge.

4. Best Buy to Let Investment?
With fabulous local schools in North Kensington and a lovely villagey feel we always have strong demand for well-presented family homes in the St Quintin conservation area so I’d recommend the lovely airy house our sales team are marketing on Wallingford Avenue at £2,350,000 which requires updating but would make a fabulous buy to let. For those with more modest budgets there are some stylish new build 1 / 2 bedroom flats around the Grand Union Canal area attracting lots of interest from prospective tenants

5. Furnished v Unfurnished?
As a rule of thumb I’d say the smaller the property the higher the demand for furniture. Generally 1/2 bedroom tenants like to move in to fully furnished and equipped properties as they tend to be young professionals without their own furniture. More substantial houses tend to attract families making longer term commitments and wishing to have their own furniture and possessions that they’ve built up over time – but as ever in life there are always exceptions to the rule!

Susie Waterfall
Associate Director – Lettings, North Kensington
26 February 2014

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