Employing the services of a specialist lettings agent such as Belvoir is imperative in a competitive market…
Media reports of landlords and letting agents asking potential tenants to make sealed bid offers in order to secure a property could be the result of initial undervaluing, say the experts from Belvoir, which was recently voted the UK’s number one lettings agency franchise 2010*.
“There is a continued national shortage of rental properties, and initial under valuing of a property by an inexperienced or non-specialist agent could be a possible cause of sealed bids,” says Belvoir MD Dorian Gonsalves.
“Sealed bids is not something that Belvoir agents have been asked to oversee, probably because Belvoir is a specialist agency that provides a comprehensive appraisal for landlords prior to marketing and then advises on an achievable rental valuation.
“The problem with sealed bids is that there is always the danger of tenants securing a property and then realizing they are paying over the odds for it. And, if tenants put in sealed bids on properties they have not actually viewed they may quickly discover the property is not ideal and vacate after six months, leaving landlords to incur extra tenant finding fees.”
In order to help redress the national shortage of rental properties, Belvoir is calling for further Government intervention to help support the private rental sector (PRS).
“Belvoir is issuing a rallying call to mortgage lenders to put more funding behind buy-to-let (BTL) because demand is incredibly high,” says Dorian. “This will create a near perfect environment for long-term investment landlords and encourage them to increase their portfolios.
“However, it is critical that landlords speak to a specialist agent such as Belvoir prior to purchase so that we can direct them to the nation’s rental hot spots. We have over 140 offices nationwide and are well positioned to help landlords secure a property that has the potential for minimal voids and very healthy levels of rental returns.”
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Craig Walker, owner of Belvoir Camberley says: “I have not yet been asked to go to sealed bids over a property, and to be honest I would not want to go down that road. Belvoir prides itself on running a high-quality transparent business and as a professional lettings agent I always negotiate the rental fee directly with the landlord prior to putting a property on the market. Once we have taken a deposit for that property the tenant has secured it and cannot be gazumped.
“Having said that, there is definitely more tenant demand than there are properties, and landlords are just not investing at the moment because mortgages are not readily available.
“I am an investment landlord myself and haven’t bought anything for about a year because even though prices are going down, lenders are still asking for deposits of 25-30%, compared to 15% a couple of years ago, and the criteria for lending is so much stricter. Because of this the rental stock is not available and yet Government spending cuts mean tenant demand is extremely high. The PRS definitely needs more Government support and the banks must do something to help improve the situation.”