Interview Consultant

With the job market becoming ever more competitive, candidates need to do whatever they can to secure an all-important edge. You can get someone to help with the application process, but what about the interview itself? Certainly there are plenty of books available on interview technique, but there’s no substitute for practice.

If you have experience of interviewing people, it seems there’ an opportunity to set up a service providing mock interviews. In fact you needn’t necessarily have the interview experience yourself. You could act as a co-ordinator – subcontracting the interviewing to specialists in the fields in which candidates are seeking work. So for example, you could recruit a panel of interviewers from the fields of accountancy, law, sales, marketing, engineering, retail etc who would be paid a fee to put your customers through a mock interview.

This is a service which could be set up without a great deal of outlay, and with minimal space requirements. All you’d need is a small office.

Property alert 5th June 2013

Land Registry Latest

An interesting press release has come in from the Land Registry. Let’s quote, ‘As of the 30th May 2013, Land Registry’s data tables based on over 17 million cash and mortgage sales are available as open data. The aggregated House Price Index (HPI) tables dating back to 1995 can be downloaded in CSV and Excel formats free of charge. From July 2013, they will be available in machine-readable linked data format.’

‘The tables will be published on the twentieth working day of each month as Open Data in Excel and CSV formats at and for use under the Open Government Licence. The next set of tables will be released on Friday 28 June. They will be published in machine readable format as linked data from July 2013.’ More to come.


London – Property Introduction

We have a property to introduce in London that cannot wait until the weekend…

This property, divided into three units, is situated to the south of Woolwich Arsenal DLR station and we are advised that the ground floor flat has been sold on a long lease (99 years from 1996) so you would receive the ground rent income of £400 p.a. from that. The other 2 x one-bedroom flats on the first and second floors are currently let on ASTs at £6,604 and £7,776 respectively. The total income is therefore £14,780 p.a. The vendors are looking for £180,000 but we know their agents very well so we are advised it can now be purchased at £170,000, possibly less, which would show a gross yield of 8.7 per cent.

Email back if you are interested and we will arrange a visit in the next 48 hours.


BTL Mortgage Update

Aldermore has ‘launched a new online service for landlords and brokers giving a single point of access to a wealth of information regardless of whether you want to finance a single property or a large portfolio. The service, believed to be the first totally ‘end-to-end’ buy-to-let proposition available to landlords, gives applicants one port of call regardless of the size or complexity of their application or whether it is for a residential or commercial property.’

The online facility, which is available on the Aldermore website – just put after it – ensures users have immediate access to an appropriate underwriter, as well as comprehensive resources which include technical knowledge guides, tools and calculators, specimen agreements and an ‘Ask & Answer’ customer forum.’ More to come; we are checking it out shortly.


The White House Chimney Sweep

Wisconsin Chimney Technicians have swept the White House chimneys (there are 35 of them) for the past 19 years, and they’ve never been paid.  It all started back in 1993 when Bill Clinton addressed congress about the state of the federal deficit. Jeff Schmittinger saw an opportunity (or wanted to help, depending on your view) and contacted the White House to offer to sweep the chimneys for free. He never expected them to take him up on it, but they did.

Now it might seem counter-intuitive to be doing work for 19 years for free, but think about it for a moment. If you were looking for a chimney sweep, might you be drawn towards one entrusted to sweep the chimneys of the seat of government and one of the most famous buildings in the world?

This has to be something to think about for any business. What high profile customer could you attract by offering to work for free, and then how could you capitalise on what you were doing?

Property Alert 4th June 2013

Home Building Signal

We’ve always said that if you want to see a market on the move, see if the housebuilders are back. Quite simply, they will not build where they cannot profit; and they cannot, generally, profit in a market awash with foreclosures that pull prices down to below cost levels; as we have seen in parts of the USA and Spain in recent times.

We note, from The Tampa Bay Times over in Florida, that ‘Florida luxury home builder WCI Communities Inc. plans to raise up to $150 million in an initial public offering. The Bonita Springs company, which designs, sells and builds homes along Florida’s Gulf Coast, said it expects to benefit from low interest rates and rising rents that have encouraged more Americans to buy homes after the housing bust.’

Looking here? Drop us a line and we will introduce you to ex-pat agent Andrew Batty who is active in this part of the world.
‘Golden Visa’ Update

Following on from recent news in Spain, where we reported that foreigners who purchase properties above €500,000 will receive residency permits, we note that Cesar Garzon of is being quoted in OPP Connect on the subject.

‘It will now go to public information and consultation of public and administrative bodies, as the Council of State, and shall be processed by way of urgency. In my opinion it will be passed before the end of the year but will come into force on 1 January 2014.’
Follow The Agent?

Fair to say that agents follow the money and many investors watch to see where the big agents are going as a heads-up of an expanding market. If that sounds like you, you’ll be interested to know that Winkworth, franchisor of the chain of residential estate agents, has signed a master franchising agreement in India with Narayanan Soundararajan.

‘The Indian property market has gone from strength to strength over the last decade and is now considered to be one of the most vibrant real estate markets in the world. We therefore hope that bringing our established and respected brand to this market will prove to be a great success.’ The plan is to have Winkworth franchised offices across all of the major cities in India. Food for thought.
Turkey – More News

There is, amongst many Brits buying overseas, the belief that only the British are doing it. Not so. New figures from the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry in Turkey reveal that Russian and British buyers are most active here but that, since the rules allowing foreign buyers were relaxed, there are now purchasers from more than 180 countries buying here. Where? In the last 12 months 14,599 foreign buyers have bought properties in Turkey. The province of Mersin is most popular followed by Izmir and Yalova. Surprisingly, Istanbul did not make it into the top 10 list.

Loxley McKenzie, Colordarcy’s MD, says, ‘The Turkish government has taken spending on transport and infrastructure to a whole new level this year. I think this goes some way to strengthening the case for Istanbul as a property investment destination, particularly considering the growth in tourism that the new airport will bring. Much of the money is being raised inside Turkey which suggests that the country is feeling confident enough in its long term future to encourage this type of investment.’

A Police Tip Off

An Oregon police officer who had a perfect spot to watch for speeders, was puzzled why he wasn’t catching anyone. Then he discovered the problem — a 12-year-old boy was standing up the road with a hand painted sign, which read ‘RADAR TRAP AHEAD.’ The officer also found the boy had an accomplice who was down the road with a sign reading ‘TIPS’ and a bucket full of money.

I’m not suggesting you copy this, but rather that you give some thought to the principle. These boys were providing a service/giving something away for free, and then creating an obligation in the minds of drivers which was paid off via the tips bucket. Is there some way that you could create an obligation in the minds of people in a similar way? Remember the principle – do something for free/give something away and then make sure that recipients of your good deed have an early opportunity to repay you.

Property Alert 3rd June 2013

Compulsory Landlord Licensing

We’ve long been offering members a heads-up on compulsory landlord licensing – we think it’s going to be universal within the next year or two. Money-maker or a necessary check on rip-off landlords? We’ll leave that to you to decide; either way, it’s coming.

According to new research by the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), eight out of 10 councils expect to take a more proactive stance in relation to the private rented sector in future.

‘Our research shows that councils were interested in many different forms of engagement, including voluntary accreditation schemes and better training and support for private landlords. However, a third of council respondents said they would consider introducing compulsory licensing in their local area in an attempt to reduce health and safety risks in properties and to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords.’

Tenants Improvements

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks reports that it has seen a wide range of ‘improvements’ being made by tenants between starting and ending a tenancy. These include; replacing lawns with gravel; installing ponds; assembling outbuildings such as sheds and greenhouses. GW LET’s Rob Denman offers some words of advice.

‘A tenant is legally obliged to maintain a rented property throughout their tenancy and return it to the landlord in the same, or similar, condition as it was initially let. This includes any outdoor space such as gardens and driveways. If a tenant does make alterations without your written consent and you are unhappy with these changes it is your right as the landlord to demand the tenant pays to return it to its original state.’

‘Alternatively, you could retain the tenant’s deposit to cover the costs. However, the success of your case is often dependent on the level of detail of your original inventory. While compiling an inventory is a time-consuming activity, it is an essential part of a landlord’s duties; neglecting it could, and is, costing landlords dearly. Recent figures from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) have revealed landlords won just over a third (35.8 per cent) of all disputes in 2011-12 with ‘insufficient evidence’ the primary cause for this low margin.’

Park Home News

It’s being reported in various specialist media that the owners of park home properties are free to sell their homes on the open market, including using estate agents, rather than having to do it via park home operators.

Housing minister Mark Prisk states, ‘For too long, some unscrupulous operators have made residents’ lives a misery, intimidating people and manipulating the rules to turn a quick profit. So we’ve closed the loopholes to root out the rogues and ensure that those who run an honest business will flourish. We’ve also given councils the power they need to protect the vulnerable, so park home residents who know their rights will be able to enjoy their rural retreats in peace.’

Given the new ruling, we are looking at expanding some coverage into this sector. Let us know if this interests you.