Thinking of becoming a Landlord?

Gareth asks ‘Are you a landlord or thinking of becoming one?’

Although open evenings at estate agents are a popular way to find out more about the buy to let market and becoming a landlord, many people have a lot more questions to ask which require an individual one to one discussion.

No matter how unimportant a question may seem to you – I will delighted to answer it.

Becoming a landlord is a major decision and requires knowledge of current legislation and an awareness of the many pitfalls involved. With over 30 years experience as a professional landlord and letting agent and, having experienced everything that could go wrong actually going wrong, I am now ideally placed to help and advise those wishing to make the first step into the rental market.

If you would like to have an informal chat with a seasoned professional I would be delighted to meet with you.

Please call the office to discuss your requirements or arrange a meeting.

Changing times for local estate and letting agents

This week MD of Cheshire and Co, Gareth Cheshire gives his views on the new on line world and how this will continue to change the high street agent.

As regular followers of the original NP property blogger will testify, The Chesh is not prone to moments of self-congratulation or uttering ‘I told you so’… on this occasion though, I do feel that it would not be in the public interest to hide ones light under a bushel (stop sniggering at the back).

When Cheshire & Co opened in 2011 in a small village outside the heaving metropolis of Cwmbran, many people questioned my sanity. They may still do so, but not because of our chosen business location. In the following 7 years other agents have opened in the town centre with the accompanying eye-watering rent – where are they now?

Buying, selling, letting or renting

Where The Chesh leads, others follow; increasingly cash-strapped ‘traditional’ estate agencies should consider abandoning their High Street offices to relocate to lower profile and more affordable alternatives opines Ben Taylor, managing director of Keller Williams UK. As consumer behaviour changes and increasing amounts of property transactions are conducted online, frequently outside office hours, the need for a 9-5 (is that Dolly Parton I can hear?) high street estate agency is increasingly reduced. Ben continues, ‘…people no longer need to visit a high street office when buying, selling, letting or renting… Agents sitting in an office waiting for people to come in are wasting valuable time’.                   Indeed they are Ben; did you lift that straight from one of The Chesh’s previous blogs?

Location, location, location

Keller Williams (KW) have been operating in the US since 1983 but is new to the UK. Interesting that it takes a Yank to point out what has been going wrong with a very un-American way of doing business. KW itself runs from serviced offices that it calls ‘market centres’ (I think this is akin in description to somebody needing to pee requiring a ‘comfort break’). These serve as bases for co-working office space, training and mentoring. Mr KW has again been reading The Chesh’s notes when he says that it is still important for agents to have office space to work from and meet clients in a professional environment. But crucially, there is no need ‘for an expensive presence on the high street’.

Trust The Chesh

This is referring to the estate agency office, not any property that they may be marketing. With the advent of online estate agencies offering a DIY low fee service, agents have been dragged into a fee war. If the base costs are lowered, then fees can drop accordingly and profit margins can be maintained, if not increased. Mark my words –said the Delphic oracle (classical studies was never top of the list at Fairwater Comprehensive) the next target will be the portals themselves. You want to buy a house? Everyone uses the behemoth that is Rightmove. In all honesty who, when wanting to buy a property, chooses one being marketed by a particular agent because of the ‘meet the team’ blurb on their website and how they sponsor the local Under 14 boys Croquet Club. Really? Trust The Chesh, the portals will be next.

Play nice now property kids

This week local estate agency owner and lettings specialist Gareth Cheshire gives us his views on players in the Property Portal business

Play nice now kids…….

To quote the late Charles Aznavour ‘Yesterday when I was young’  well when I was younger (it wasn’t yesterday, it was a few years ago) I would often enjoy a playground spat, this didn’t really change in my career with the corporates, ask a few of my ex line managers! Now, much like the late Sir Henry Cooper, I enjoy sitting back and smiling at you youngsters having a go.

Sit back and smile

What has brought the latest smile to my face? Well The Property Franchise Group (no, me neither) are a big listed company and are having a go at Rightmove another big boy in the playground. They want to refer Rightmove to the Competition and Markets Authority (all these long words!) and indeed have gone as far as instructing a barrister who specialises in these matters to give an opinion – well I suppose they wouldn’t instruct a barrister who specialises in traffic offences would they?

Anyway it appears that TPFG feel that Rightmove are overcharging agents, have a monopoly over the market and as a result can charge what they like. They want to form a Holy Alliance, not a court action yet, to persuade Rightmove to see the light and treat agents fairly. Well good luck with that then.

Competition in the property portal market

Only a few years ago a few big agents got together to form a mutual called Onthemarket whose aim was to bring big, bad, nasty, overcharging Rightmove down a peg or two and sort them out. Well we all know how that went.

The thing is that Rightmove IS very expensive but the public perception is that they are the daddy of property portals, and they are, and it’s that which is important – what the public think. Jo Schmo doesn’t give a monkey’s about Rightmove fees or their monopoly of the market, they want to know ‘When will it be on Rightmove?’. Simple as that.

If other big boys in the market place want to trouble Rightmove then they should make their product better and allow market forces to take control. We have seen it in Cwmbran where certain agents tell prospective vendors, not how good THEY are and what THEY can do for clients but come out with the classic ‘whatever Chesh says he will charge you, I’ll beat it ‘ – and good luck with that one as well.

Property Market Forces

Market forces will and do prevail and ‘Yesterday when I was young’ when Rightmove launched they gave it away and slowing but surely built up the brand and more importantly their strangle hold on the market.

Trying to get THEM to change rather than change the way you operate ain’t the way the change things.


**Cheshire and Co, independent estate agents and lettings agents, based in Pontnewydd, use Rightmove to advertise all their properties for sale across Cwmbran, Pontypool and Griffithstown.

**The Rightmove Property Portal receives, on average, over one hundred million hits on its website every month.

Property kerb appeal

We asked experienced estate agent and owner of Cheshire and Co, Gareth Cheshire, his views on whether a property’s kerb appeal is, or should be, a factor if you are buying a new house or getting ready to sell your home.

‘Is beauty only skin deep?

Now there’s a question! Over the years, and during many hours of TV property programmes, many of which I have appeared in myself, property presentation has become a hot topic.

The well-worn phrase ‘Kerb Appeal’ is one that is used over and over and it is relevant but to what degree? In my long and illustrious career, I have only once pulled up outside a house and refused to go inside. On many occasions I have gone inside based on what I have seen at the front and wished I had not due to things ranging from abject filth to the deceased vendor being sat in the front room. Or indeed the making of a movie of the ‘adult’ variety.

Judge a book by it’s cover

Never judge a book by its cover we are told, yet publishers spend millions on the design and presentation of the covers of books whether they are or become best sellers or not. The cover does not change what is inside and many a time I have given up on a beautifully packaged book because the contents were rubbish. So, does this theory apply to the property market? Well a well-kept front lawn and white washed walls will of course help but that will soon become forgotten when the dry rot, damp and subsidence rear their ugly heads.

Location, location, location

What I believe to be more important to remember is this, the right house in the right place at the right price will sell no matter what the front looks like. My favourite saying is this “buy the worst house in the best street and not the-other way around”. No matter how well presented the house is if it is between the abattoir and fire station (yes I have sold one of those) it will be harder to shift than that rambling over grown property set in the towns most desirable post code’.

Contact us

Gareth can be contacted, during office hours, on 01633 869 086.