Category Archives for Ask Matthew

Moving Overseas and becoming a UK landlord – Important Things You need to know

 

As you will be out of the country, I recommend using a managing agent. They will source and assess tenants, checking affordability and employment status. Meet a few local agents and obtain appraisals of your property to see what each can offer.

There are three key things you need to know. One, how do they deal with repairs, using an in-house team or subcontractors, and how bad does a problem have to be before they need to consult you? Two, how do they deal with out-of-hours emergencies? Three, do they guarantee rent even if the property is vacant? Some agents will include Rent Guarantee Insurance (RGI) free of charge for a desirable property. And, of course, ask what charges all this will incur.

It is important to note that since 2007 it has been a requirement to have an ‘Agent’ in the UK if you are not living here. In this case ‘Agent’ does not necessarily mean your high street letting agent, it can be a nominated individual, usually a relative, that has the authority to act on your behalf in your absence. A lot of people moving abroad, even for a short while, do not appoint an Agent and fall foul of this when the local authorities (LA) come knocking. Luckily most LAs will give chance to remedy this before acting in an official capacity.

You will also need to register with the Tax Office to have you rent paid without deduction of tax while you are away. Again a lot of Agents (including those on the high street) are oblivious to this, and can result in a big headache for you if you do not get this done before you leave. It normally takes about three weeks to get this done (it used to be called FICO registration), and nowadays it can be done online free of charge (click here for the government pages), so make sure you plan this into your schedule before you leave.

For more information and help on how to get an HMO done the right way, please complete the form.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Bucket List

My Bucket List – What’s on Yours?

One of the few films that I have yet to watch is ‘The Bucket List’ starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, and whilst any film with either of these acting heavyweights is sure to be a ‘must see’, I am told that the comical element is about as good as it gets.

When I first heard of the expression ‘My Bucket List’, I had visions of a Room 101 spin off that allowed you to dump anything that was surplus to requirements without the repercussions of dealing with your other half after having disposed of something that you dislike, but they have loved for years. But it turns out I was wrong; a ‘Bucket List’, is a string of things that you (or I) detail as a wish list to undertake before you ‘kick the bucket’.

Most people, since the film, presumably have undertaken this task with vigour, and I have seen lists that extend to pages, and have hundreds of items on it. My list is short and I have restricted it to under 100. That’s not to say I won’t add to it at some point, but in order to begin ticking off the list, you have to take action to actually get them done.

One of the ‘high’ level items on my list is to ‘Write a book’. Now this isn’t any ordinary book, and I have penned some property educational tombs (you can view them here , but this one is going to be different. It needs to be educational as well as factual, real life, nitty gritty, warts and all, you get the picture.

In order to get the best from the narrative I am wanting to produce, I have researched several areas of interest and spent hours scouring shops and internet on the best processes to achieve the end result.

I have found an excellent resource that actually teaches you how to write a book and gives you access to free tools to help you. The best bit is the course is FREE as well, courtesy of our friends at www.YouWillChangeTheWorld.com. Click here to get straight to the online course.

Here’s to your success, and ticking something of our Bucket List.

Let me know how you get on, or drop me a line if you need inspiration!

News - What News

Why You Shouldn’t Believe Everything You Read in the Press!

Isn’t it just typical – when you start your day, you open up your email (or Facebook or LinkedIn profiles) to see the latest tit-bits of information that will help you with topics for discussion with your networking later in the week and you see one article headline that tickles your interest, only to find another article further down your list that appears to contradict the first one!

Today was just such a day for me. What makes this particularly interesting is that they both use the same statistic to explain the headline;

Here’s the first one …

Just scan for the Rightmove data. And then the second article;

Here’s the second one …

Both articles quote a 0.9% drop in asking prices in the UK for July from Rightmove data, but one article states the ‘Market’ is ‘robust’ while the other blames ‘referendum uncertainty’ as the cause for the drop. The latter article then goes on to say that the drop is ‘within usual expectations’ for the time of year.

My point is that the ‘Media’ will make headlines whatever underlying statistic is used. Everyone can look at a piece of information and argue one way or another based on their own values and belief systems.

Can they both be right? Well, Yes ….. and No.

As one famous philosopher said, “Whether you think you can or you think you cannot; you are right”.

Sometimes, ‘lazy journalism’ has a lot to answer for. A drop in house prices of 0.9% isn’t significant in statistical analysis, it isn’t even a ‘blip’, but the media still want to make a story. By the very nature of that statistic, ‘average’ is not the same for wherever you choose to do your due diligence. The area you choose will be driven by local factors, not national averages. By definition, there is a positive for every negative where an average is used.

The trick is to find the positive, and leverage it to your advantage. Do some homework, don’t be led by the media, and get your power team in place, and start your journey.

For our own views on the Property Outlook this year, you might want to read our article

Pokemon

Why Is Pokémon Go like buying an HMO?

For those that are not aware of the latest hot app in the market, Pokémon Go is dubbed an ‘augmented reality’ app due to its video capture overlay technology. Nintendo, the owner of the original handheld game phenomenon, have teamed up with a third party software developer to produce the latest craze.

It has been such a hit that the NSPCC have written a series of guidelines for parents whose children have downloaded the game – click here to get them

So what is all the fuss about, and how can this possibly relate to Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

When Pokémon, the game, originally came out on the NintendoDS, it was aimed at children, and appealed to the same children that wanted to collect all the Figurini Panini Football Stickers to fill their albums, the idea being to go around and capture all different kind of Pokémon while travelling through worlds of discovery. This all happened within the confines of the on screen world.

Pokémon Go, is a resurgence of the original idea, but uses your GPS enabled device to show you where the Pokémon are so that you can go out and about and catch them. The really cool bit is that you can take photos of where you catch them, and trust me, they appear in all kinds of unusual places! This is the addictive bit, trying to catch the Pokémon when they appear.

And that’s the thing with HMOs, catching them when they appear. Sometimes, even when you undertake hours of research on search engines, property portals etc. you can never find any that seem to stack up, and then a ‘friend’ suggests a property just two streets away that is up for sale and you completely missed it. Some people call this ‘analysis paralysis’, others in Yorkshire say ‘can’t see t wood for t trees’.

Just like Pokémon Go, even though they appear to be visible, underneath they just aren’t there.

So how do you find the deals to get on with?

There are several tricks to finding the right deals, some are more basic than others; sending leaflets to all houses in a certain area where an HMO would see high rental demand, schmoozing estate agents to make sure they contact you first, employing a professional sourcer. The important thing to remember is that sometimes, like Pokémon Go you may need to try an alternative to the normal route to get what you are looking for. Jumping over a fence to catch a Pokémon in someone’s garden possibly isn’t the way to get to the next level, but then if sourcing an HMO was easy everyone would be doing it…..

Perhaps there’s an idea for a new app, the Pokémon HMO sourcer?

Or perhaps you need a few new ideas; our 5 ways to source an HMO is an excellent place to start.

Whatever your challenge, there is always help at hand. How do you source your HMOs?

Let me know.

Tax is not Taxing

Tax – What Tax?

You know how sometimes you can read between the lines and see the bigger picture?

Last week, George Osbourne, in an interview with the Financial Times made a definitive statement concerning Corporation Tax in the next few years. In it, he stated that he would reduce the level of tax to ‘below 15%’, meaning it would be the lowest rate amongst full EU members.

You have to ask, Why make a statement like this now?

In March this year, he claimed he would reduce corporation tax to 17% by 2020, and although this takes it one step further, no timescale was given.

So is this wishful thinking? After all, between now and 2020, there will be at least one general election, and in the current climate, no-one can say who will form the Government of the day. We may even be looking at another ‘Hybrid’ coalition.

So what can we read into this?

Someone quite famously said, ‘I want Landlords to squeal’ or something along those lines when introducing the current raft of income tax changes that affect landlords charging rent in the Private Rented Sector (PRS), and it has to be said that ‘Institutional’ investment into residential leases is not affected by these changes, so is this another way to ‘legitimise’ individual property portfolio building?

A recent Inland Revenue ruling stated that a landlord collecting rent on holiday lets would be deemed a business and should attract the same taxation treatment as a business in allowing expenses for any direct cost item to be taken off the bottom line. So is ‘he’ trying to force landlords to hold property in a structured way, via LLP or Ltd company?

The latest statement would seem to make this strategy more attractive. Essentially a 25% reduction in taxation would be good, although I would suggest that this will be done in a staggered way to avoid a big hole in the finances.

Suggestions are that he has made the statement in the wake of uncertainty in the market for business in general in the UK, to try and make the UK somehow more attractive to the outside world, and appease the big institutions who believe leaving the European Union will damage their ability to compete. Is that a bad thing?

In theory, now that we can look forward to setting our own limits on taxation, VAT, etc and by Mr Osbourne flexing his muscles, despite being a staunch ‘remain’ advocate, we should be pleased they are looking forward.

Or is he trying to make his job safe?

You decide.

If you need any help with how to maximise your income and minimise your tax burden, help is at hand – Just pick up the phone or get one of my free downloads

What Question?

I Don’t Have a Coach, Do You?

Tiger Woods has three, Andy Murray has one, Bradley Wiggins has one as well. Now apart from being famous athletes and winning world titles or grand slams, what else do they have in common?

Sometimes being on your own, running your business can be a lonely place. So why does having a coach make so much difference? For the sports stars, it has become a necessity, bridging the gap between natural talent and targeted strategy for winning.

So why don’t I have a coach?

Actually I do. I have several, and I regularly sound ideas and talk strategy with them – It is nice to get a different viewpoint.

So what should you look for when selecting a Coach for your business?

Is age relevant? Do you just look up ‘Business Coach’ on LinkedIn and start connecting?

Yes ….. and No.

It is always a benefit to your network of connections if you connect with others, where you perceive a potential value to your network, but be selective. A good profile will say loads about their ability as a coach.

Do you just take the first one that says ‘Yes I can help you’, or do you delve a little deeper, by asking probing questions. Honestly, you need to do some homework, as generally coaches do not work for free, and this may be a significant amount of money, especially to a small business, so you need to make sure you ask the right questions.

Here are some of the ‘recommended’ questions that you can ask:-

What industries have you coached?
The thinking behind this, is that you want someone that has experience across multiple sectors and not just yours to give a wider view of business, although experience in your chosen sector is clearly an advantage here.

How will you work with my company?
You want to know the level of commitment from your coach. At the end of the day, you want to know that they will hold you (and to a certain extent some key members of staff) accountable for your actions, but in a guided way.

Does your coach ask good questions?
No, this is not a question from you to them, it is a thought process you should be considering when talking to them. If they show a genuine interest in your company and business, and possibly give a few nuggets of information for free, then you are heading down the right path.

There are several important things to consider when actively seeking out your target; Influence, Experience, Testimonials, Speciality, and they are all important, but in my experience of helping individuals whether in a business sense or not,

Simple questions, that should really get to the points you want to know. All other questions will stem from the answers to these.

What have your experiences been – please let me know…

If you want to find out if you are selecting the right coach, then please download my ‘3 Ways Coaching Will Change Your Mindset’  tip-sheet, with my compliments.