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With the rise of social media and the increasing accessibility of the internet to all consumers, the effect of testimonials from your clients placed on your own website, is simply being overtaken by online review websites. When booking a table at a restaurant for the first time, many people would check their website first. Now, diners tend to look at TripAdvisor and will make their decision based on the latest reviews or select a more attractive alternative. Similarly, people renting a villa for two weeks in their holiday destination will look at the previous holidaymakers' reviews before making their selection.
So in the short-term Airbnb rental market, the occupancy rates are going to be much higher for those properties with good reviews so it is vital to ensure that guests are given a first class service and the properties provided offer the best experience and the best amenities for an outstanding stay.
As an experienced short let agent, we practice what we preach and we are very proud of over 200 reviews that we have received on Airbnb.
You can browse our reviews here...
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There has been a lot of discussion about this issue. Starting from April 2017, and phased in over the next four years, landlords will receive less tax relief on the interest part of their buy to let mortgage. Landlords will no longer be able to deduct all of their finance costs from their property income and so their profits may reduce as a result of this change. If you haven't already, it would be good advice to discuss with your accountant how these changes may affect you.
Whilst this is a short-term cash flow issue, it is also an investment issue. The bigger picture of being a landlord is the significant capital growth of a sizeable asset. Whilst it's always unwise to make predictions, Oxfordshire has consistently proved over time to be a great place for long term property investment. With Oxford University and many other highly regarded education establishments, our science and technology parks, our hospitals and related businesses and our tourism industry all continue to make Oxfordshire an attractive place to live and work. The resultant high demand for housing from professional couples and working families makes Oxfordshire a great place to invest in property.
For peace of mind, Nicholas Jones Residential would be delighted to offer landlords a free sales valuation. In most cases, we anticipate that this will set your mind at rest that your property value is continuing to grow faster than the increased costs of being a landlord and that your decision to be a landlord in Oxfordshire continues to be a sound investment.
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Do you know any landlords who might benefit from any of our services?
If so, please introduce them to us and, should this lead to new business, we will send you a £50 John Lewis voucher for you to spend by way of a thank you! These vouchers can also be used in Waitrose.
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Letting out your property is a serious business and selecting the right agent can make the difference between a trouble-free profitable investment and a time-consuming headache that causes as many problems as it saves.
We've researched some of the most important questions that all landlords should ask potential letting agents before choosing which individuals or organisations to instruct. We have also answered these five questions ourselves as best we can:
(1) What Is Your Average Void Period?
For a Landlord wishing to show a good return on their investment, this is clearly an important question in their choice of letting agent. As a guide, our answer is that our average void period is less than one week per year. Additionally, most of our tenants ask to renew - staying on average for three years or more and thereby delivering a consistent income for our landlords.
(2) What Percentage Of Tenants Deposits Are Returned In Full?
This is an important question because a deposit returned in full implies that the tenants have taken greater care of the landlord's property during the tenancy. It also shows that the letting agent is reputable and has not penalised the tenant unfairly.
At Nicholas Jones Residential, we hold pre-check out meetings to help your tenants reclaim their full deposit. Unfortunately, accidents do happen and inevitably there is occasionally some accidental damage. Whilst this prevents our answer from being 100%, we do actually come pretty close to that figure. Our Facebook and Google Plus reviews from very happy tenants back up this point.
(3) Do You Take Commissions From Contractors?
Whilst there are agents that do charge commission on contractors' invoices, we do not. We are paid a fair amount for our services by our landlords and therefore we owe them a duty of care when looking after their property. This means we hire the most cost-effective contractors, not necessarily the cheapest but the ones who demonstrate the best value for carrying out the specific maintenance tasks. We have no financial interest in these transactions and we regularly review our contractors for both competitive price and quality of their work.
(4) Are You A Landlord Yourself?
It can be reassuring to know that the person you are entrusting the management of possibly your most expensive asset has the experience and knowledge of what is required to be a landlord and understands the necessity for cost effective property management and how to look after a property.
Our answer is yes, we have been landlords for 15 years, we understand the complexities and the benefits of keeping tenants happy. We only use contractors that we ourselves would be happy to use and we put forward tenants on the basis that we would be happy to rent to them. We also experience the same changes in government legislation, so naturally will always look at ways to help advise our clients to make the best decisions to make their portfolio work based on our own experiences.
(5) What Professional Qualifications Do You Have That Make You Suitable As A Lettings Agent?
Our response is that both qualifications AND experience are important. Nick Jones has worked in the lettings industry for over 20 years so knows the market very well. He has been a fellow grade member of ARLA Propertymark (the Association of Residential Letting Agents) for over 15 years. He is also a member of the NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) and Nicholas Jones Residential is licenced by both trade organisations. We are members of The Ombudsmen Scheme (Property) and are also the preferred Lettings Agent partner for the Oxfordshire PIN (Property Investors Network)
We hope these five questions will help you when choosing a lettings agent to look after your property and lettings portfolio properly. We also believe that our answers demonstrate that we are suitably qualified to meet the needs of today's landlords and exceed your business expectations and that we have the knowledge and experience to advise you appropriately on the letting and management of your property.
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After attending a recent industry meeting, it was interesting to observe the number of attendees who weren't only suited and booted but clearly dressed to impress.
Power suits and bold ties, more akin to the city finance sector, appeared to be the norm. This may be all well and good, particularly when attending a meeting in the city, but is this still the right image when visiting a landlord in their own home or showing a family or couple around their potential new home?
As ever, it is the context of the occasion and the question should be: what impression am I making?
People form their first impression within seconds of meeting a new contact for the first time. Even wearing an ordinary business suit may set up a barrier when visiting someone's home - chances are the person, who you are visiting, will not be wearing a suit. Additionally, it immediately makes you look as though you are trying to sell them something rather than helping them with the ongoing letting and management of their property.
At Nicholas Jones Residential, we will be smart, presentable and professional at all times. However, we lean towards smart casual simply as being more in tune with the people we are visiting - especially outside office hours. It's all about building a long-term relationship of trust with our clients and NOT about a buying and selling transaction. We aim to become our clients' trusted adviser - understanding their requirements for the business and using our considerable experience to help our clients achieve their goals.