Morgans Bolsters Team With Nine New Appointments

New appointments at Morgans City Living

Nine new members of staff have been appointed at City Living Specialists Morgans. The portfolio managers, sales negotiator, lettings negotiator and new business development manager are based across the firm’s Dock Street and North Leeds offices.

This comes on the back of a cracking year so far, with both our rentals and sales teams performing extremely well as the market continues to thrive. This raft of new appointments will strengthen our teams and ensure our clients continue to receive the high levels of personal service our business is renowned for.

Portfolio managers Charlie Lampkin, Gemma Johnson, Katie Radcliffe and Kirsty Helliwell are all based at the company’s City Centre office on Dock Street. All four are the main point of contact for landlords and they are also responsible for handling maintenance queries, carrying out contracting and referencing as well as check ins and check outs for tenants.

Graham Gomersall joins Morgans as a sales negotiator and Felix Hook has been appointed as a business development manager. The pair are also based at Dock Street.

In the North Leeds office, rental portfolio managers Amy Buckle and Amanda Humphrey and rentals negotiator Ellis Cann join the existing team, who all operate from our offices on Otley Road providing tenant, property investor and landlord services across North Leeds.

Our business has successfully negotiated the property downturn and we have had our best nine months in terms of lets, sales and occupancy figures since 2007. Business in both our City and North Leeds offices is up by around 10% in comparison to the same period last year and as we continue to grow and the market improves, it’s essential that we attract the right people like Charlie, Gemma, Katie, Kirsty, Graham, Felix, Amanda, Amy and Ellis to deliver industry-leading standards of customer service to highly valued clients.

From Generation Rent to Generation Buy

David Cameron waited until his closing address at the Conservative Party Conference last week to set out his crusade around affordable housing and immediately incurred the wrath of Shelter, who rarely appear to have any constructive or viable suggestions and Generation Rent, who have taken on a crusade of their own.

Prior to the last election, both parties courted the rented sector unashamedly, and perhaps mistakenly assumed that this was a unified group with a common experience and set of values. As it appears to have transpired, there appear to be two distinct elements of the group – the crafty urbanite, probably single or pre-marriage renting happily in one of our key cities, and the less flexible family group who are currently finding it difficult to buy and who are having to make difficult life choices particularly around schooling.

No-one yet knows what the long term impact of the recent housing slump will have on the scale and longevity of the growth in the rented sector. The percentage of the population currently in rented property has undoubtedly grown significantly over the last five years, but it is in the context of scant mortgage availability, dismal levels of housing supply and the after effects of a disastrous period of economic decline, unprecedented in its scale and depth. This is the experience of many of those who make up ‘Generation Rent’.

It seems likely that the vast majority of British people would still prefer to rent or buy – the Conservatives cite a survey which claims that this is the case for 86 per cent of ‘Brits’- and will do so again if market conditions allow.

The essence of Cameron’s Crusade appears sound – unlock lending, speed up land release and simplify the planning process- it makes no sense in the context of a market starved of supply that authorities are still able to slow the process to a virtual standstill.

As to whether this is a viable crusade or a false dawn, it remains to be seen.

 

Six top tips for dealing with a letting agent

Want to make the most of your letting agent agreement? Read our top six tips for dealing with a letting agent:

1. Work within a target range for rent

When your agent first quotes you a rent, don’t rely on an absolute figure. Your rent will fluctuate over time and as market conditions change, so work within a target range.

2. Don’t lapse onto a periodic tenancy

Make sure your agent doesn’t allow your tenancy to lapse onto a periodic tenancy at the end of the fixed term. In our view, a periodic tenancy puts you at greater risk of a void on the property.

3. Avoid an empty property at all costs

A no brainer, but avoid an empty property at all costs – in real terms, it’s way cheaper for you to reduce your rent than it is to have your property empty. Not only will you be losing your rent, but you will have the mortgage and council tax to pay.

4. Don’t pay mark up on maintenance

You may not realise it, but you may well be paying a % mark-up on the maintenance works being organised by your agent. We believe that maintenance is an implicit facet of the range of duties your agent should be carrying out on your behalf and that this should not carry an extra cost. Be a fair landlord and treat your tenants as you would wish to be treated. There is a clear relationship between the condition of your property and the rent you receive over time.

5. Instil responsibility in tenants

Tenants are householders too and have a responsibility to care for the property and not to simply pick up the phone to the agent every time there is a minor issue. Make sure your agent shares this philosophy as it needs to run right through the agent/tenant relationship.

6. Make sure your fee structure is transparent

Your fee structure should be simple and transparent and should not, in our opinion, contain endless lists of bolt-ons and extras. Fees need to be fair and equitable so that you are retaining as much of your income as possible, but also so that your agent is able to properly resource their business and make a reasonable profit.

 

For more advice and information, visit www.cityliving.co.uk

Landlords: What should you expect from your letting agent?

With literally tens of thousands of letting agents to choose from nationally, and a high street (and virtual high street) full of local options, how do you begin to choose who to entrust with your investment property and what should you expect from your letting agent?

We’ve compiled a checklist of four key things to look out for when choosing a letting agent. If the answer’s no to any of the below, you might want to reconsider who you currently let with.

 

  1. Has the letting agent got a shop front?

Your experience as a landlord will be partly determined by how well your agent manages the relationship with your tenant – so the credibility and stature of the agent you choose is important.

We believe that you should work with a business that has a physical presence, ideally pavement fronting. Tenants will take confidence from the fact that they are able to walk into the agency should they have an issue to report or if they are not getting an appropriate response.

2. Do they have experience and track record?

In busy times in the property market, agents will pop up all the time, tempted by a booming market and the promise of easy fees. Don’t take a risk on a start-up agent unless the principals have years of industry experience with other agencies. You need to be able to get the very best local market knowledge and the certainty that the relevant legislation will be observed.

3. Have they got happy clients?

Unless your agent is able to show you testimonials from clients whom they have acted for over a number of years, you are taking a risk. Landlords are incredibly loyal to their agents, due mainly to the perception that there is a massive risk in changing agents. However, it is not necessarily the case that long-standing clients are happy with the service they are getting, it’s just fear of change / lack of time and knowledge that prevents them swapping agents. Ask to see written testimonials.

4. Are they on top of recent laws and managing properties well?

Agents are now under all sorts of legal and financial obligations (quite right, too), and as they will be acting on your behalf, you need to be certain that they are both aware of and adhering to the latest legislation.

At the same time, they need to be able to demonstrate that they have systems and procedures in place which will ensure that your property is well looked after, properly maintained, rented at the right price and empty as little as possible.

 

For more advice and information, visit www.cityliving.co.uk.

By George, What A Great Team

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When we talk about City Living in Leeds, most of the focus is on the stunning range of apartments available and market trends, but it’s important to remember that there are also a number of people living rough in the City who need our help.

I have been involved with the well-established Leeds charity St George’s Crypt for over 10 years, the charity is based within the thriving church of St George’s in Leeds and has been at the frontline of support for homeless, disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Leeds and its surrounding areas since 1930.

This month myself, and a number of others who want to make a difference, have come together to launch a new property development company with a board of directors that is made up of some of the city’s leading property and construction experts.

St George’s Crypt Development Company will provide homes and community facilities for homeless and disadvantaged people throughout Leeds.  The company’s directors include Mark Henderson from Brewster Bye Architects, renowned quantity surveyor and project manager Richard Cavadino, Joel Owen from The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Maggie Gjessing, Executive Regeneration Manager at Leeds City Council and Reverend Jonathan Clark from St George’s Church.

Our first site that St George’s Crypt Development Company plans to develop is located next to Saint Hilda’s Church in Cross Green. It will offer 20 homes as well as a range of community facilities.  Our company is also hoping to redevelop and expand a hostel on Regent Terrace in Headingley that currently offers accommodation for 10 men who are dependent on alcohol.

We hope to build on the great work that The Crypt already does in supporting the homeless in Leeds and the objective of St George’s Supported Living is to provide safe, managed homes for clients of The Crypt as they leave their addictions behind and work towards independence.

The sites in Cross Green and Headingley both offer great potential and we’re already considering several other sites across the city. It’s therefore a really exciting time for the charity and for all of us who are involved. The new company will help St George’s Crypt to provide inspirational environments for those in need who are wanting to make positive changes in their lives, which is incredibly rewarding for everyone involved. Visit www.stgeorgescrypt.org.uk/charity/ for how to get involved.

Leeds City Centre Apartment Prices Hit The High Note

Research by Morgans shows that Leeds city centre’s apartment values have recovered to the pre-crisis peak they hit in 2008.  However, the gap between prices in core areas, compared to those in fringe schemes, is now wider than ever.

Values per square foot can now differ by as much as 50 per cent when comparing apartments in premium developments in very central locations with properties located less than a mile away on the outskirts of the city centre.

Buyers will pay a significant premium for a high quality, well-designed apartment in a very central location and this applies to both new-build and resale properties.  Values of these types of apartments have generally held up much better than lower quality apartments following the downturn.

We are selling high quality properties, in core locations, for the same prices that we achieved at the peak of the market in 2008, with interest coming from both investors and owner-occupiers.

There is also a lot of potential for further price growth because Leeds is still behind the likes of Harrogate and York in terms of residential values, which is distorted when you consider and compare the economic profiles of the three.

A major lack of development in recent years has resulted in a shortage of supply, but there is now a raft of new developments on the horizon, which is also welcome news.  Forward thinking developers recognise the importance of quality so there’s some real thought going into the latest generation of schemes which is good for both the market and Leeds as a whole.

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Saxton Hasn’t Let The Grass Grow Under Its Feet

It’s hard to believe almost four years have passed since work completed at Saxton.  Today the development still stands out from the crowd and both homebuyers and investors once again have the opportunity to buy an apartment that is unlike anything else in Leeds city centre.

The development, by renowned regeneration company Urban Splash, sits within an established community in a leafy area in the East Bank area of Leeds and is just a short walk from The Calls, Leeds Dock and the city centre.

Saxton consists of two buildings that were completely refurbished to create 410 apartments surrounded by six acres of land complete with a one-acre private park, sun terrace, residents’ gym with classes, on-site caretaker and advanced recycling provision.  There’s also lift access to all floors, a video entry system, intruder alarms, energy efficient heating system and there are even allotments and sheds available by separate negotiation.

The whole development is finished to an exceptional standard and every apartment offers extremely generous living space and floor to ceiling windows providing lots of natural light and far-reaching views.

Morgans has been closely involved with Saxton from the outset, successfully managing and letting apartments within the development from day one.  We have now just been appointed to sell a portfolio of apartments in the scheme that offer both owner-occupiers and investors a fantastic opportunity.

The properties we are marketing start at £105,000 for a one-bedroom apartment through to £140,000 for a two-bedroom home with parking.  For investors there are several years worth of rental history available and some apartments are available with both the tenant and furnishings in place.

When you consider the size of the living spaces and the overall quality of the development, these apartments offer some of the most attractively priced apartments available anywhere in the City.

Further details are available by calling 0113 3980098 or emailing sales@cityliving.co.uk

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Crypt Factor Is Biggest Yet

 

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This year’s Crypt Factor, which is an annual singing competition that brings together leading companies from the region’s property industry to raise money for two great charities, was the biggest ever!

This year’s event broke every record in its nine year history and saw 10 budding singers and groups swap their day jobs in property for a night on the stage, and perform in front of a huge audience of approximately 700 people at Elland Road.

In total, the event raised more than £64,000 for two charities- LionHeart and St George’s Crypt and it’s a great delight that Morgans is a headline sponsor and organiser alongside Bond Dickinson, Bruntwood and Town Centre Securities Plc.

LionHeart offers all types of help and support to the property industry’s RICS members and their families who face problems in their lives that are often completely unexpected.

St George’s Crypt is a fantastic local charity based within the thriving church of St George’s in Leeds and has been at the frontline of support for homeless, disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Leeds and its surrounding areas since 1930.

The charity has previously spent the money we raise on all types of initiatives including its hugely successful ‘Growing Rooms’ programme, which houses and supports people as they break alcohol and drug related addictions.  The money has also gone towards helping people to improve their self-confidence, make positive decisions and ultimately move back into society and gain employment.

St George’s Crypt costs £1.5-million to run each year and relies heavily on donations to operate and offer vital services that benefit about 200 people every day.  You can find out more about the great work of this longstanding local charity by visiting www.stgeorgescrypt.org.uk

Property Industry Will Raise The Roof At Crypt Factor 2015

 

Damian Connelly

March is always a great month for the region’s property industry because, as spring approaches, it’s not just the birds in the trees that are singing!

Every year, around this time, all the leading companies from the region’s property industry come together to raise tens of thousands of pounds for two very deserving charities, at the annual singing competition known as The Crypt Factor.

Now in its ninth year, the event takes place on 19th March 2015 and will see 10 budding singers and groups swap their day jobs in property for a night on the stage, as they perform in front of an audience of approximately 700 people – which is no mean feat!

This year’s event is already on target to raise well over £50,000 for charities LionHeart and St George’s Crypt and it’s a huge honour that Morgans is a headline sponsor and organiser alongside Bond Dickinson, Bruntwood and Town Centre Securities Plc.

The level of support we receive grows every year and this time we have been inundated with singers from a wide range of leading companies in the property industry and tables are selling extremely well, which will make Crypt Factor 2015 a superb event.

The charities we support both do fantastic jobs under difficult circumstances.  LionHeart offers all types of help and support to RICS members and their families who face problems in their lives that are often completely unexpected.  St George’s Crypt is a charity based within the thriving church of St George’s in Leeds and has been at the frontline of support for homeless, disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Leeds and its surrounding areas since 1930.

You can find out more about The Crypt Factor and offer your support by following us on Twitter @CryptFactor.