Thursday, 24 December 2015

Festive Greetings To All Our Readers


Well investors 2015 is drawing to a close and the property world is beginning to go into Christmas hibernation, so I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all the followers of the blog for your support during 2015.

Your support has been much appreciated and I have enjoyed the debate the blog has generated with you all, the majority of whom have become good friends, as well as valued customers. It has been an interesting year for investors in the Penicuik property market, with increases in average prices combined with much new legislation to take on board; legionella testing, EICR’s, carbon monoxide alarms, changes in tax relief and LBTT rates, to name but a few.

Those of you who follow the blog know my views moving into the New Year and those of you with existing profitable portfolios in place have different challenges, to those just starting out in their property investment careers. As ever, I will endeavour to continue to post articles covering all investment opportunities in the property market in Penicuik, when I return to the blog the week commencing 4th January.

In finishing I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

If you would like to explore how I can help you with your property investments, or should you require any advice about investing in the Penicuik property market, wish to enquire about our Investment Analysis Reports, Property Sourcing, Residential Lettings or Property Management services, please do not hesitate to call us on 01968 674601 or email us on robert@thekeyplace.co.uk / linda@thekeyplace.co.uk.

Alternatively, please feel free to pop in and see us at our offices in Bank Street for a chat, the coffee is always on.


Don't forget to visit www.penicuikpropertyblog.co.uk to view back dated articles and deals from the Penicuik Property Blog. 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

The 12 Days of Letting . . .


As we come towards Christmas, property pickings have now completely dried up.  So today I have sought help from our friends at The Key Place to provide us with some festive cheer.  They have up with new words to an old favourite.  Go on sing it as you read it, it is Christmas after all! 
The 12 Days of Letting . . .
On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
A brand new rental flat key!

On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
Help with Landlord Registration,
And a brand new rental flat key!

On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC),
Landlord Registration,
And a brand new rental flat key!

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
A Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate,
An EPC,
Landlord Registration,
And a brand new rental flat key!

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
Smoke and Heat Alarms,
A Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate,
An EPC,
Landlord Registration,
And a brand new rental flat key!

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
PAT and EICR Certificates,
Smoke and Heat Alarms,
A Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate,
An EPC,
Landlord Registration,
And a brand new rental flat key!

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
Legionella Risk Assessment,
PAT and EICR Certificates,
Smoke and Heat Alarms,
A Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate,
An EPC,
Landlord Registration,
And a brand new rental flat key!

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
Some new draught free windows so the flat meets the Repairing Standard,
Legionella Risk Assessment,
PAT and EICR Certificates,
Smoke and Heat Alarms,
A Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate,
An EPC,
Landlord Registration,
And a brand new rental flat key!

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
A fully managed Landlords Agreement with The Key Place,
Some new windows so the flat meets the Repairing Standard,
Legionella Risk Assessment,
PAT and EICR Certificates,
Smoke and Heat Alarms,
A Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate,
An EPC,
Landlord Registration,
And a brand new rental flat key!

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
10 prospective tenants (from The Key Place),
A fully managed Landlords Agreement with The Key Place,
Some new windows so the flat meets the Repairing Standard,
Legionella Risk Assessment,
PAT and EICR Certificates,
Smoke and Heat Alarms,
A Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate,
An EPC,
Landlord Registration,
And a brand new rental flat key!

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
A fantastic fully referenced tenant for my rental flat,
10 prospective tenants (from The Key Place),
A fully managed Landlords Agreement with The Key Place,
Some new windows so the flat meets the Repairing Standard,
Legionella Risk Assessment,
PAT and EICR Certificates,
Smoke and Heat Alarms,
A Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate,
An EPC,
Landlord Registration,
And a brand new rental flat key!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
A flat with monthly rental income along with capital growth,
A fantastic fully referenced tenant for my rental flat,
10 prospective tenants (from The Key Place),
A fully managed Landlords Agreement with The Key Place,
Some new windows so the flat meets the Repairing Standard,
Legionella Risk Assessment,
PAT and EICR Certificates,
Smoke and Heat Alarms,
A Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate,
An EPC,
Landlord Registration,
And a brand new rental flat key!

Phew, now I can sit back and enjoy Christmas knowing that my investment property is in safe hands with The Key Place!

The Penicuik Property Blog wishes you a great Christmas and New Year period and we will see you in the New Year for another year of property fun!

Friday, 18 December 2015

A “Stocking Filler” For Penicuik Investors?


Well, the market is now officially entering the Pre-Christmas “Silly Season” and I am finding it harder to find what, I would consider, to be good investment opportunities that I would want to put my name to. I’ve been scouring the portals this morning and not surprisingly, rich pickings are very thin on the ground.

One thing that has surprised me though is the number of investor sales, many with tenants in situ, that are currently coming onto the market, some offering refreshingly sensible yields to the next investor, others, well I don’t want to use the blog to embarrass any fellow professionals, so lets just leave it there shall we?

This situation only reaffirms the importance for investors and sellers in general, in getting the correct market advice at the right time. Selling assets, including property, is all about demand and having an asset for sale at the price at the right time. The mobile sandwich company doesn’t do deliveries to offices after 2:00pm for a very good reason; they may have the best sandwiches in the world, made from the best ingredients, but if you have already had your lunch and are therefore not hungry, you will not see the value and buy!

I say to all sellers, whether they are residential or investment sellers, it is important to have this mind-set when offering property for sale. If you are selling a property with tenants in situ, you know that only investors will be buying.  You should be advised that investors are a different buyer. They are, like you, there is no heart involved in their purchase, so if you would be happy with a gross yield of under 5%, then fine, market the property offering this level of return.

I promise you though, and I say this to all my investor clients, when you are selling to investors, you have to leave something in the deal for the next investor, otherwise why should they invest? Investors are successful people, not fools, and you do yourself no favours in the long term in trying to sell a property with minimal yields.  Remember, if you wouldn’t buy, why should they?

The market can be a cruel mistress; I have been selling high value assets for over 25 years and the one thing all assets/commodities have in common is this:

 “The market is the market.  At no time can your personal or financial circumstances, or indeed the value of your outstanding mortgage, have any bearing on the value of your house!” 

Anyway, the above flat is being sold by our friends at Stuart & Stuart.  It is a well presented 2 bed flat at 7 Andrew Court in Penicuik, just off the Queensway and it has gas central heating, double glazing and a shower over the bath (all thing regular readers of this blog will know that I think are very important).


The property is on the market for a fixed price of £90,000.  It will rent for £600 which gives a yield of 8%.  However, the property has been on the market for a whilst now so a cheeky wee pre Christmas offer may secure the flat for a lower price – a price of £80,000 would get you to an impressive yield of 9%.


If you want some advice on this property, another property you have in mind or anything else property related, come and see us in our office (6 Bank Street, Penicuik), give us a call 01968 674601 or email either of us (robert@thekeyplace.co.uk; linda@thekeyplace.co.uk).

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Why should you consider buying to let in Penicuik?


We have mentioned in previous articles about the difference between Penicuik and the surround towns, such as Roslin and Loanhead, this always gets a response from people asking me lots of questions. This time, I wanted to highlight, why you should be looking at buying a property to let in Penicuik. 

Many people in our part of Midlothian, over the last few years, have seen the buy to let market become all about nest egg investment. It has been fuelled by pitiful interest rates on building society savings and reflects the fact that building society savings accounts are paying half a per cent interest and pension returns are struggling to match expectations, turning more and more people into landlords to secure their future. 

So what can you expect from your rental property investment? In the short term, rental yields are important, and in Penicuik, the average annual yield is in the order of 5.5% per year. However, that is based on averages, and as most landlords in Penicuik tend to buy starter home homes, apartments and terraced houses, the majority of which are achieving 6% to 8% per year depending on location and price in the town.

In the long term though, the question of capital growth is as important, if not more important (because if you have great short term yields, but the value of the property doesn't keep up with the rest of the market, you will have an asset that in real terms is dropping). As we mentioned in a previous article, average property values in Penicuik currently stand at £175,108. On the other hand, property investment is a long term game, so I wanted to share with you the research I did for a couple of Penicuik landlords. Property values in Penicuik have risen by 12.1% in the last 5 years. Roll the clock back 10 years to 2005 and property values have increased by 28.2% since then when.

So, not only can you get a better return on your investment with regards to the annual yield compared to savings accounts at the moment, you also have got the additional capital growth with a property. Penicuik is also still developing, with more properties being built and business opening and expanding. This, along with Penicuik’s close proximity to Edinburgh should make for a stable market, bringing new people to the area. This will also keep the demand for property high, which will maintain and grow the property prices further.

If you would like some advice about buying to let, whether you are a landlord with an existing portfolio or someone thinking of investing in the Penicuik rental market for the first time, call us on 01968 674601, email us on robert@thekeyplace.co.uk / linda@thekeyplace.co.uk or visit our office at 6 Bank Street, Penicuik, EH26 9BG for further details. The kettle is always on and we are always excited to get stuck into finding new Buy to Let deals in and around Penicuik. Let us take the stress away from you.

Don't forget to visit www.penicuikpropertyblog.co.uk to view back dated articles and deals from the Penicuik Property Blog. 

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Property of the week! 9.1% yield on Penicuik lower villa


Welcome back readers - I hope you have all had a fantastic weekend and not been too busy with last minute Christmas shopping, from what I have seen the shops have been busy!  On to today's beautiful "Property of The Week!".  It is a 3 bed, lower villa on John Street just along from the Angle Park Garage corner that is being sold by Allan McDougall.  John Street is the main drag into Penicuik.

There is plenty of accommodation including a decent sized lounge, a fitted kitchen, 3 bedrooms (2 good sized double and 1 single), a recently refurbished bathroom, gardens and on street parking.  The property is in lettable condition and, by the looks of the photos, it has been re-decorated and re-carpeted as well recently. 


Doing the maths. The price is £99,000.  Rent of £750 pcm or, at a stretch with housing benefit tenants, £800 pcm is achievable on a property like this which gets you to a 9.1% - 9.7% yield.


If you would like any advice on buying a property to let, feel free to pop into the office at 6 Bank Street for a chat, give us a call 01968 674601 or email us on (robert@thekeyplace.co.uk; linda@thekeyplace.co.uk).

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

To Buy Or Not To Buy? The Pre-Christmas Conundrum Facing Penicuik Investors!


I was with a local landlord recently and we were having a conversation that, 6 months ago, I couldn’t have imagined having. Being one of our investor customers, we are continually engaged in the sourcing of investment properties on his behalf.

We were discussing the strategy for the New Year and we were very upbeat.  The discussions surrounding today’s property adequately show why we are both feeling positive for investors going into the New Year.  As we reach dizzying heights on pricing, with good yields having been difficult to find, suddenly a few bargains are appearing on the market, and seasoned investors are beginning to smell blood!

I am on the portals and talking to agents every day on behalf of investors, and although I’m not involved with selling any of the properties I am blogging about, so I don’t know the “Ins and Outs” of the situation, some properties details have “Repossession” written all over them! This is causing "Relative Value” to creep in to the market and the gamble for investors is thus; is this just a Pre-Christmas market bringing a few bargains that must be snapped up now, or will a softening of values appear in the New Year, bringing some more financially rewarding opportunities to the market?

Unfortunately I don’t have a “Crystal Ball” but when asked to advise on the property above, my advice was thus; the important thing to remember about markets is that it is impossible to sell at the absolute “High” and to buy at the absolute “Low!”  There will always be another opportunity available, so always look at an investment purchase in the “Here and Now” and whether it suits your investment aims at the time.

Anyway, the property above is a 3 bedroom terraced house in Assynt Bank, off Eskvale Drive next to the River North Esk so within walking distance of the town centre and all the associated amenities. Recently refurbished, ‘easy to let’ property with a lounge as well as a separate conservatory, 3 separate bedrooms and a family bathroom, this property would make an ideal rental property that, presented to the market correctly, will let at a figure of £800 PCM.
It’s being marketed by McEwan Fraser at an offers over price of £214,950.  Given that the property is empty and part exchange is available on it, you should be able to negotiate a reasonable price on this one so let’s say it goes for £130,000.  The right tenants should pay £800 for a house like this so that’s a yield of 7.4%.  Given that it is an ‘easy’ buy to let property, that’s a good return.

If you would like to explore how I can help you with your property investments, or should you require any advice about investing in the Penicuik property market, wish to enquire about our Investment Analysis Reports, Property Sourcing, Residential Lettings or Property Management services, please do not hesitate to contact me on 01968 674601 or at robert@thekeyplace.co.uk.

Alternatively please feel free to pop in and see me at our offices at 6 Bank Street for a chat, the coffee is always on. 

Friday, 4 December 2015

Do all Penicuik properties make good buy to let investments?


Put simply, the answer is no!

Today’s Penicuik Property Blog is a wee bit different as it is focusing on a delightful property that will make somebody a lovely home but not a good buy to let investment.  This is with a view to highlighting some the key things needed for a good buy to let investment.

The property is a ‘C' listed extended spacious farm cottage near Howgate south of Penicuik that is spread over 3 levels. The generously proportioned accommodation is flexible in its layout and comprises stunning double height lounge, snug/family room, Minstrel Gallery/diningroom, breakfasting kitchen, master bedroom with en suite, three further bedrooms and bathroom. It has LPG central heating, double glazing, fully enclosed, landscaped gardens and single garage.

The property is on the market with Stuart & Stuart for offers over £395,000.

With my ‘dream house to live in’ hat on I would love this house .... in fact I am about to arrange a viewing .... but, for exactly the same reaons, with my ‘buy to let investors’ hat on, I would not touch this property with a barge pole. Some of the main reasons are:
  • The property is in the country – great if you like the country but off putting if you don’t.
  • The property is old – this means that it has great character but this is only you like old properties.
  • The property accommodation is quirky – great if you like the quirkiness but off putting if you don’t.
  • The property has a double height lounge – stunning to some but possible heat drainer to others.
  • The property has large gardens – a joy if you are a keen gardener but a milestone if you are not.
  • The property has LPG heating – you may put us with the hassle of this as it is part of the package of living in the country but, let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be many people’s first choice.

Overall, it’s a bit of a marmite property – you will either love it or hate it.  This is fine if you are looking to own the property and you love it but if you are looking to rent out a property you need to appeal to as wide an audience of people as possible.

Finally, there is the price.  I have left this one to the end as, even if the numbers did stack up, it wouldn’t be a good buy to let property given the above reasons.  However, the numbers do not stack up either.  Stuart & Stuart are selling it for offers over £395,000.  Rent levels on this property are hard to estimate if given its individual nature but even we push the boat out and go for £1,500/month in rent then that is only a yield of around 4% and on top of this you need to take into account that maintenance costs are likely to be higher for this property given its age.

So, I would love to live in this property but I would not have it as a buy to let

We hope you find our posts useful.  If you want some honest, straight forward, buy to let advice or anything else property related, come and see us in our office (6 Bank Street, Penicuik), call us on 01968 674601 or email either of us (robert@thekeyplace.co.uk; linda@thekeyplace.co.uk).

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Penicuik tenants feel the squeeze as rents continue to rise


As my regular readers know, my passion is talking about the Penicuik property market which I hope will be of interest to both homeowners and buy to let landlords alike. However, this week, I want to highlight the plight of the tenants of Penicuik as more and more of their wages are being taken up by ever increasing rents.

The cost of renting a home in Penicuik has broken through the £750 a month barrier as the average rent for a property in the town now stands at £770 per month which is around 6.8% higher than 12 months ago.

House price inflation has certainly eased in Penicuik from the heady days of 2014, but still with retail price inflation (for goods and services) reducing to 0% any increase in property values, no matter how small, means in real terms property is still getting more expensive. Meanwhile, many tenants have given up saving for a mortgage deposit as rents continue to take more and more of their wage packets leaving nothing to save for a deposit. That means, more and more tenants are deciding to rent for the long term and therefore the desire for decent high quality rental properties continues to exceed the available rental stock.

I would go as far as to suggest that rents are an ideal barometer to the state of the local economy as a whole and strongly believe that the recent increase in Penicuik rents are a sign that the Penicuik economy is picking up.

This means Penicuik landlords are continuing to capitalise on the Penicuik property market. The most recent Registrars of Scotland data suggests the annual property price rises in the town have eased over 2015, leaving property values 1.23% higher than 12 months ago – last year annual property price rises were running at 11.67%.  With property price growth easing off, the increasing rents mean that rental yields are strengthening for the first time in years to compensate. The mortgage market has become more stable after the mad months of May and June after the Tory’s got back into No.10, and so, everything is set to be good news for landlords; even with the Chancellors change of tax rules in the coming years for buy to let mortgages.

You can get some amazingly low mortgage rate deals at the moment, so with mortgage rates so low and returns still extraordinarily attractive, there’s rarely been a better time to invest in rental properties.

However, (you knew there would be a however!), it’s all about buying the right property at the right price. Not all property types are seeing equal rises in rents and capital growth.  Different parts of the town, different types of properties are experiencing quite different changes.  For example, the average length of time Penicuik one bed properties take to rent is 13 days whereas it takes on average 30 and 72 days to rent 3 and 4 bed properties respectively.
When you start comparing different parts of Penicuik, the numbers are even stranger!  The bottom line is that you must take advice and opinion. One source of advice and opinion is the Penicuik Property Blog. In the Penicuik Property Blog, you will see many more articles like this, discussions and even what I consider to be the best buy to let deals around, irrespective of which agent is selling it.

Whether you are a landlord, a ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ addict or just a homeowner who is interested in what is happening to the local property market, then please visit the Penicuik property Blog (www.penicuikproperty blog.co.uk), contact us for a chat (phone us on 01968 674601), come and see us in our offices (6 Bank Street, Penicuik) or email us (robert@thekeyplace.co.uk; linda@thekeyplace.co.uk).

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

A December Penicuik buy to let bargain!


Today’s Penicuik Property Blog buy to let opportunity is a 1 bed flat that has been on the market for a number of months so it may fall into the category of a possible ‘December bargain’ that I referred to in one of my blogs last week.

It is a fairly basic 1 bed flat at 4 Andrew Court in Penicuik, just off the Queensway, although it does have gas central heating and double glazing.  The description and pictures do not make it clear whether the bathroom has a shower or not so it would be worth checking this.  Also, the bathroom picture does not have a full shot of the WC so I am not able to see whether it has the tell tale sign of repossession – tape across the WC seat!  Again, worth checking this out.  Finally, the external picture shows that there is a defective communal down pipe and it is worth considering the difficulties landlords sometimes have in getting even simple communal repairs done.


The property is on the market with Stuart & Stuart for a fixed price of £70,000.  It will rent for £500 which gives a yield of 8.6%.  If you can negotiate the price down then clearly the yield will be higher.

We hope you find our posts useful.  If you want some buy to let advice on this property, another property you have in mind or anything else property related, come and see us in our office (6 Bank Street, Penicuik), call us on 01968 674601 or email either of us (robert@thekeyplace.co.uk; linda@thekeyplace.co.uk).