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Property For Let

Nina Said:

Do you have to pay letting agents to list a property to let?

We Answered:

Bona fide ones shouldn't. Yes, they have a scale of fees (normally from 10% for just finding a tenant to 15% for full management - both exc. VAT)

Not the same as when you put your house on the market with two + agents. You sound like a first-timer. Get all the info you'll need and keep an eye on things whoever's taking a cut. Remember: no on will care about your property as much as you will.

Cassandra Said:

If I own a buy to let property in one town?

We Answered:

Even if you swap one house for another, you will still be selling one and buying the other. This would lead to 2 potential tax liabilities. Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), commonly known as Stamp Duty.

You will be liable for CGT on any gain in value of the property you are "selling". The gain will be reduced by any costs such as legal fee associated with the purchase or sale. You can also reduce the gain by the cost of any improvements (but not general maintenance) made to the property.

You have an annual CGT exemption of £10,100, so if the gain is less than that you will not have any CGT to pay. There are also a number of reliefs that might be available. Most likely is roll-over relief which effectively means the gain is transfered to the new house and you defer your CGT bill until that is sold.

You will also have to pay SDLT on the value of the house you "buy" this is currently nothing if the value is less then £175,000; 1% if over £175k and less than £250k; 3% if over £250k; or 4% if over £500k.

Lauren Said:

Can a trustee of a living trust let property deteriorate?

We Answered:

I think it depends on how the trust is written. Apparently there are two trustees. Does the trust require both trustees to be in agreement, or can either trustee act independently? By all means you should consult with an attorney. If it is a revocable living trust and your co-trustee is willing to let the property deteriorate, perhaps the trust needs to be revised.

Veronica Said:

I need a gas certificate for a student let property?

We Answered:

Its is more than a cheap plumber you need for require a CORGI or GAS SAFE registered engineer.Look in telephone book.

Johnny Said:

How do I advertise my holiday let property?

We Answered:

You advert is noticeably the most expensive on Faial, charging more for sleeping 4 and some places sleeping 6 cost.

I realise that your place is high-specification, with wireless internet, air-con, and DVD, but marketing a "high-end" product is a bit different to marketing a "cheap" product, and the downside of those sorts of listings is that people can easily compare your rates to those of your competitors.

I have a marketing client who owns several UK holiday rental places - for her, we set up a blog and a mailing list so that anyone who had expressed an interest in her properties got a monthly email newsletter about her area.

With her, we set up a competition for people to register for the newsletter - with one subscriber winning a free weekend each year (no strings attached.)

Clearly, a free weekend rental may be less attractive in the Azores than in the UK, but some initiative to get people to sign up to receive regular information from you is definitely recommended.

That may be overkill, or too much work for a couple of apartments, but a blog (hosted free on somewhere like could be good. Regular information about the kind of things happening in the area, could lead you to a higher Google ranking for searches for things like "Faial holiday let".

The idea is that, once a week, you'd add a post about something related to the area, or new features (DVD library now available) etc...

You may, offline, also like to consider things like club magazines. There are regular classifieds in the Morgan Sports Car Club magazine for holiday lets, and its noticeable that some are advertising as classified there, year-in, year-out, so it must be working for them! The Morgan Club may be the wrong market (the holiday properties that are advertised there tend to be ones people can drive to on a "European Car Tour"), but other clubs may be of interest.

Your local Church may produce a magazine that has low advertising rates.

Never underestimate the power of postcards in newsagent windows.

The bottom line though, to any succesful property marketing campaign is that there is no single "magic bullet" - you need to be concentrating on multiple avenues.

What you MUST do, at the very least, is keep in touch with past clients - send them a monthly/quarterly newsletter through the post... offer them a "return stay" discount of 10%, or offer them a £50 "thank you" if they recommend a friend who ends up staying.

Vickie Said:

What is the best type of mortgage for my buy-to-let property?

We Answered:

For the sake of your cash flow go for the lowest possible monthly payment. You can always pay more, but if you have a vacancy you might need the extra wiggle room made possible by a lower minimum payment. A fixed rate would be better than an adjustable for this just because it makes you annual planning easier. I used to own a couple of apartment buildings and know that being able to fix as many or your payments as possible can make life easier in a crunch.

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