Questions, questions…

Are the lady dancers on Strictly Come Prancing really wearing more than in previous years or is it a sort of ‘dress-my-dolly’ in reverse; as the season progresses and the glitterball gets ever closer, do the costumes become more revealing? Week 1, think maiden aunt; the grand final, think a strip club in Vegas. I will be monitoring the situation closely-all in the public interest of course. Continuing on the prancing front, what did/does Len Goodman have against last year’s winner, Jay? Does Craig have a personal sponsorship deal with Max Factor or possibly Pollyfilla? Who ever thought that the deeply unpleasant Team Brown henchman Ed Balls would ever be repatriated into society through the medium of dance (although others-Craig/Trade Descriptions-might struggle to find that it should be classified as such)? With that very tenuous political link, I do wonder whether the Governor of the Bank of England (BOE), Mark Carney, will fall foul of Mrs May’s determined bid to remove all those who formed part of the Cameron posse. Gideon has gone and as he made his best mate head honcho at the BOE, one does wonder whether our Canadian friend will be seeking alternative employment. If he does, what will happen to the property market? Despite all the pontificating and somewhat self-indulgent debate, nobody knows. It’s 50/50, it either goes up, or it goes down. Thanks Chesh for pointing out the blindingly obvious, but the amount of drivel written and spoken recently on the matter does create-deliberately I think-the impression that the issue can only be resolved by applying some incredibly scientific formula akin to splitting the atom, combined with the wisdom of Solomon.

Biblical pansophy aside,as regular followers of the blog will know, here at Cheshire & Co we do have issues with journalists adopting the role of Gypsy Rose Lee and spreading their opinion of what the future holds. A recent article by Victoria Bischoff in the Daily Mail had an hysterical headline screaming indignantly about loopholes that allow landlords to dodge the soon to be imposed curbs on buy-to-let properties. One question: why is actual law deemed to be a loophole? In the article, Ms Bischoff explained how it would be more tax efficient to own buy-to-let properties through a limited company. Hello? Earth calling Planet Bischoff? Having blogged on this subject back in Spring 2015, is Ms Bischoff resorting to going through back editions of the original NP property blog in order to write her articles?

Another question: when are they going to give up on the doom-mongering over Brexit? Change the record jockey. ‘Brexit fears’ and ‘Brexit winners and losers’ will eventually lose their attraction as headlines-I hope. Many tears are apparently being shed by those who are deemed to be victims of the currency crisis, another tragic result of the Brexit fear that is sweeping the country on a par with rabies in a dogs’ home.Yes, I accept that if you are about to buy your euros to go to Lanzarote, a £1000 will give you 200 euro less than on June 22, but is that enough to force you to cancel your holiday? The driving associations also get their moment in the sun with a spokesman for the AA-amongst others- sucking his teeth  whilst explaining that as petrol prices are linked to the dollar (no, really?), the cost of refuelling the family car will increase by £7 a month. This is the motoring equivalent of King Herod’s purge of baby boys-apparently. Come on kiddiwinks. Mark-whilst he still has the gig-or more specifically the Monetary Policy Committee has dropped interest rates to 0.25%. Maths was never my best subject, but a 0.25% reduction on a £200,000 mortgage saves £500 a year, or just over £41 a month. So if you are a mortgage holder who uses a car-a fair chunk of the demographic I would bet, then you are about £34 a month better off. Why has no one written an article on this?



“Get out of my dreams….

…and into my car” That was the line that we gave the ladies back in the day; a comment that is likely in today’s world to get you a. an opportunity to sample the hospitality of the Gwent or b. arrested and locked up. So grooved a certain Billy Ocean (better known to his friends and family as Leslie Charles-but with that name he was never going to make it as a happening chart topper). This was the era of great tunes and dire clothes; think leg warmers, shoulder pads and finger-less gloves. It was also the time when we first saw people camping outside estate agents in an attempt to secure a property when it came on the market the following day. Yes, you did read that correctly, camping, and this was way before the have tent, will travel, Glastonbury-induced, wear-braids-in-my-hair-even-if-I-am-over-40 festival vibe, took hold with the tenacity of Japanese knotweed. What caused me to reminisce about the days when I had hair (no braids) was the reporting last week of people camping outside an estate agent to hopefully put their name down for a property on a new-build estate in Dartford, Kent. The desperation was as a result of Dartford being one of the few places where homes are semi-affordable and London is still within commuting distance (one hour).

Being old enough to remember the last three property crashes, I see frightening similarities in these ever repeating cycles and buying a tent is only a small part of it. Property news this week has been full of details of how the big boy estate agents (i.e. corporate groups) are buying up lots of smaller, often independent estate agents. I must point out that they are not rushing to purchase the solely online agents. On that note, I read that PurpleBricks  has now launched in Australia. Financial analysts, Jeffries, report that during the period November 2015-March 2016, PB only sold 14% of their listings; a conversion rate that would see most estate agents seeking alternative employment. But as PB gets paid up front, do they care? So one should perhaps recognize them as a listing company as opposed to an estate agent, but nice work if you can get it Shep.

The predecessors to the likes of Connells, Countrywide and William H Brown included Lloyds Black Horse, Abbey National and the Halifax Building Society; all of whom paid casino money for estate agents. Was this to earn from selling houses? Of course it wasn’t, it was to protect and grow their lending book. How times have changed. Some ten years later, the original vending partners of many of these agents bought them back for around 10p in the pound. My point is that just after these acquisitions in the 1980’s and booming prices, the market crashed. I bought my original Cheshire Towers for £87,000 in 1988 and sold it ten years later for…£87,000. It sold last month for £220,000. I refuse to drive past it.

Fast forward to 2006 and people were channeling their inner Ray Mears and camping outside a development on the old Black Cawson smelting works site in the dock area of Newport. Similar vignettes took place around the British Isles and yes, you’re right, the market crashed. In my lifetime, stampedes to buy new homes at the same time as mass purchasing of estate agents have led to one thing only, trouble with a capital T. In fact, stampedes of any kind don’t usually end well; just ask John Wayne, he made a career out of stampeding disaster.

I am not saying that we are due a crash. If I could make successful predictions, I would be blogging from my private island in the Caribbean. I do though keep telling the young bucks on the real estate scene in the NP postcode that experience never goes away. In 2004, 5 and 6, I said to any young agent that would listen that prices can actually go down as well as up. Then, as now, I am met with the, ‘£$%& off grandad’ look. Ah well.

There are always though fresh lambs to the slaughter. Not least when it comes to accepting the b$%ll£ks put out by certain members of my property agent brethren. Even this morning the delightful Sarah Beeney (I have met her and she is indeed most beguiling), was advertising that her company Tepilo sells 250 houses a month, Well done Sarah. Out of interest, how many have you not sold from the instructions that you took on board? What the ever lovely Ms B does neglect to elaborate on is the cost involved. If you choose to part with the seemingly very reasonable ‘pay now’ fee of £495, you must realise that  if you want a board to advertise that your property is for sale, that will be an additional £60, photos are £120, a floor plan is £75. A premium listing on rightmove is £75 (come on Sarah, we all know that they cost £20), a video will be £90 and an EPC a further £90. So a grand total of £565 on top of the original, ‘great value’ listing fee. So that is £1060 before you start, not forgetting that you do your own viewings and negotiate your own sale. Well played there Sarah, I doff my cap.

Cheshire & Co – The “Pet Friendly” Letting Agent

Finding a property to rent when you own a pet can be very difficult because not all Landlords are willing to accept your furry friends, but here at Cheshire & Co we are proud to announce that we are embracing pets and becoming one of the first Letting Agents in the NP postcode to become “Pet Friendly”.

We have recently employed a new Head of Pet Relations who will be on hand to answer all your pet related questions and give you top tips on how to approach finding a property to rent when you have pets.

Pets are a major part of our modern lives and millions of us nationwide now own a pet of some description, with it being thought now that one in three homes own a dog!

Being “Pet Friendly” is a important move forward for us here at Cheshire & Co, because there are hundred’s of pet owners either currently in rented accommodation or actively looking for “Pet Friendly” accommodation across the NP area.

The ultimate decision on whether a property accepts pets is at the discretion of the Landlord themselves, but here at Cheshire & Co we try to ensure that all our Landlords are fully informed on the pro’s and con’s of having pet’s in their houses or flats.

Typically we would ask the tenants presenting with pets to be flexible in their search for a property and ideally we would recommended they begin their search at the earliest opportunity in order for them to be matched with the most suitable property to meet their needs and the needs of their pet.

Ideally you should also consider creating a CV for your pet; which includes details of their last vaccinations, flea treatments, worming treatments and even previous landlord references for your pet (if they are available).

Many Landlords think of the worst-case scenario when they think about pets in their property, so as a tenant with a pet, you need to think carefully about how you present your pet to your potential new landlord and we would strongly recommended the Pet CV.

Owning a pet is a rewarding experience and here at Cheshire & Co we would like to help you make finding a “Pet Friendly” property as easy as we can.

For more information please visit or call us on 01633 869086