We are so excited to win Best Letting Agent in Cardiff South and West in the 2019-2020 British Property Awards!

After a series of mystery shopping exercises by the good folks at the BPA, Fortis Properties Cardiff was selected for our outstanding customer service in dealing with all manner of lettings enquiries. To succeed in winning Best Letting Agent, the various competition rounds thoroughly tested our local knowledge, as well as our experience in the property industry and our demonstration of excellent client care.

Anyone who follows us will know how much we value our clients, and the level of effort we put in to make sure each and every person feels valued and important, both to us as individuals and as a business. We strongly believe in the personal one-to-one service and going the extra mile for both our lettings and sales clients. We are simply thrilled to be recognised in this way (we may have done a little dance!).

We’d like to round off by saying a huge thank you to the British Property Awards and particular congratulations to Leanne, Isabelle and Linda for, once again, delivering above and beyond! Our award lasts for a year upon which time we’ll be back in competition with other Cardiff agents for the 2020-21 award! We’re told that in the new year, mystery shopping will commence for the Best Sales Agent award, which we are really keen to win. Having both awards for Cardiff south and west would simply mean the world to us. Wish us luck!

Best Letting Agent Cardiff south and west: Fortis Properties.

Promotional material for Best Letting Agent Cardiff south and west
property, kids flown the best, downsizing home

We love our kids, and to see them as fully-fledged, independent adults make any parent proud! Whether your offspring have gone to university or perhaps moved away for work or love, you have probably found yourself with an empty bedroom or two. So the question is: do you keep your spare rooms for guests, turn them into a gym or study, or do you decide to make a change and downsize your property? What are the pros and cons of downsizing and how might they affect you? Read on for our Top 5 Tips to bear in mind when considering downsizing your property:

reducing your bills, downsizing property

1. A Smaller property will likely mean lower monthly bills

Smaller properties are generally cheaper to run and so when making your decision, do think about the monthly cost of running your current home. More bedrooms generally mean higher heating costs. Your council tax will likely be higher, too. However, if you have less people than bedrooms in your home, you may be able to save money by installing a water meter.

money, saving money, pound coins

2. Could you make money on your spare room?
If the idea of having a lodger fills you with dread then skip this one, but if not, consider the benefits of the monthly rental income that a lodger generates. As well as this, it could also be someone to mind your home and pets when you’re on holiday. Of course, unless you know the person beforehand, you’re always going to be taking a chance with a new lodger, but if the person is clean and tidy, it’s a nice way to make extra money for very little effort.

property sale, househunting

3. A Smaller home in a better area?
This is one many folks are faced with. They have a sizable home but it’s become too big for them. However, they know that moving to a nicer area may mean sacrificing space. Think about how much of your home you actively use on a daily basis. 31% of homeowner’s waking hours are spent in the kitchen. If you’re not using one or more rooms in your house regularly, then that’s an expensive empty space.

helping kids with house deposit

4. Helping your Kids
It’s no secret that getting on the property ladder is tough for young people these days. By freeing up some of the money in your home you could help your kids with that all important first home deposit.

freeing up equity

5. The Trip of a lifetime
Have you always dreamt of visiting the Sydney Opera House, or perhaps seeing Vietnam by rail is more your thing? The money freed up from downsizing your home could fund an exciting adventure with memories that last for years to come.

Are you thinking of downsizing? Take a look at our free, quick valuation tool to get an idea of what your property could be worth https://www.fortisproperties.co.uk/value-my-home/

Estate Agent Cardiff

Cardiff landlord rent calculator

We all like to ensure we get value for money and of course, that’s true for Landlords in Cardiff, too. With several choices to make before renting out your property, how do you ensure you make the right decisions for the best return? Read on for our top six tips for saving money on your rental property and getting the best return on your investment:

Letting property, renting, Landlord, saving money

1. Choose the right Cardiff letting agent. Read their online reviews. Examine their fees and ask how they deal with maintenance queries and rent arrears.

Landlord mortgage, renting, property, Cardiff

2. Make sure you have the best mortgage product to suit your needs. We are in the best climate for buy-to-let mortgages since before the 2008 crash. There is lots more choice for Landlords now. Considering consulting a Mortgage Advisor to make sure you have the best deal.

Landlords, maximising rent, Cardiff

3. Occupation over rent pcm. Every day your property is empty is lost revenue. Be careful not to set your rent so high that you put off potential tenants. Consult your agent for setting the asking rent right in the first place and you’ll have an occupied rental property in no time.

tenant white goods, renting, Landlords

4. If you are considering providing white goods, include a fridge freezer. Tenants are not fond of small ice boxes in fridges and you’ll get a little extra rent for providing good cold food storage.

Simple Patio table set with fresh flowers on the top.  Rental property

5. Keep the outside space simple and easy to maintain. Not everyone has green fingers. A nice patio and a few pots will be much easier for your tenants to look after than an elaborate garden.

Landlords, rental property carpet

We hope this was helpful to you if you are a first-time or more experienced Landlord. We are a letting agency based in Fairwater, Cardiff and we serve Landlords all over Cardiff. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch!

For information on our services to Landlords, see here

Heather and Leanne

Cardiff Landlords, rental property, renting home, family

Cardiff Landlords

rental property, renting home, family

Cardiff Landlords: Have you noticed a difference in the type of tenants your property is attracting?

  • Almost 25% of new tenancies signed in the past year included children within the home.
  • The biggest number included a single child, followed by two children, then three, then four. This was consistent across the UK.
  • There are over five hundred more private rental homes with children living in them than back in 2010-2011.
  • In the years 2017-18 over 1.5 million privately-rented homes had children, up 37% from the years 2010-11.

So what’s causing this shift? Factors such as mortgage availability, rising house prices and availability of suitable properties are all contributors to these figures. The UK has a long-standing housing shortage, which may be pushing families into private rental accommodation. It is interesting to note that the highest figure is for families with just one child, implying that the eventual tenant ambition is to own their own home.

If you’d like to discuss the private rental market in Cardiff and surrounding areas, do give Heather and Leanne a call for even more focused information on 02920 561 111 or email info@fortisproperties.co.uk

property presentation

If you’re looking to sell your Cardiff home, then let us introduce you to the concept of home staging.  Home staging is the process of preparing your home for showcase in the housing market. It maximises your homes’ best features and tones down its flaws. Through careful styling and presentation, we can create that all-important emotional link between your home and the buyer. It’s about portraying a lifestyle that buyers really want and will pay more to have. Ultimately, people purchase with their emotions. Through staging, we can help the buyer achieve “that wow feeling” that inspires them to make an offer. Read on for some tips on staging your home:

 

Cardiff home

A bright, airy living room with good use of space

Homes need to be clean, bright, airy, and spacious. They should flow easily, have enough space to move around in, and not feel too ‘busy’ or claustrophobic. How you arrange your furniture and what accessories are in the room can make the difference between an ambient soothing room and one that a buyer can’t wait to get out of.

Top tip: If you struggle to move around a room easily, lose some furniture.

 

home staging with small accessories

Group together stylish accessories in key places

Styling and Accessorizing can be compared to putting on jewellery when getting dressed for a special party; it’s the little touches that make a big impact. Paying attention to numerous small details can join together to create something much more memorable.

Top tip: Group items in threes.

 

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. If you have a buyer right there in your home you’ve won half the battle, now give them something to invest their emotions and their money in. To put it simply, staging your home pays.

For a free, instant valuation for your home click here 

If you’ve watched TV programmes such as Homes Under The Hammer, you may be tempted to look for a bargain at a property auction.
It’s an increasingly popular idea.
In 2016, one UK property auction company alone sold more than £95 million worth of property.
Auctions are a place where you can pick up bargains if you’re prepared to refurbish and renovate houses. However, there are a few pitfalls.

Fortis Properties Managing Director Jamie Langley said: “You can easily get caught up in the emotion of the day and end up paying too much for a property.
“If you’re in a bidding war with another would-be buyer, it can be hard to let go and walk away. There is an understandable urge to beat them!
“If you haven’t done your research, it can also be easy to buy a property which will cost you far more than you had anticipated because of structural or legal issues which you didn’t pick up.”
Here are the top four dangers you could encounter by buying at auction:

1. You get auction fever and keep bidding past your limit.
This is so easy to do. You have a limit in mind, but someone else keeps on bidding, so you push through that limit to ensure you clinch the deal. The problem is this: You set that limit for a reason. Either you can’t afford more, or the property isn’t worth it. Either way, you’ll wake up with buyer’s remorse.

2. You don’t have time to view the property and end up with a money pit.
You see the details, you may even have a quick viewing, but you really need time to ensure you know exactly what you’re buying. Ideally, you’ll need to take a builder or architect with you to view it, to give you a realistic idea of the cost of renovations or repairs. They’ll also have an experienced eye which will pick up things you may not notice. Without doing this, a budget for renovations is in danger of being like someone sticking their finger in the air.

3. You don’t read the legal pack and miss something costly.
Whether it’s issues with the leasehold or freehold, problems with access, or disputes over boundaries, you need to be aware of all the potential issues. Renegotiating a lease could cost you thousands which you hadn’t anticipated spending.

4. You don’t get your finances in place speedily and end up paying out big bucks in interest.
If you don’t have all your finances in place before the auction, you could end up searching for a mortgage or bridging finance to ensure you don’t lose the property. This could be a very costly exercise. You’re not in the best position to find the best deals if you’re rushing this process.

Think auctions are your only option to get a property bargain? Think again! Local property experts will have an in-depth knowledge of the area which could help you find a property to renovate.
If you’re looking for a home in Cardiff, call our experienced team on 02920 561111.

On April 1, 2018, there will be significant changes to the tax system for house purchases in Wales.
A new Land Transaction Tax will replace Stamp Duty Land Tax.

The new tax will be payable when anyone buys or leases a building, depending on its value.
The aim is to modify and simplify the tax system, making it more relevant to Wales and making it fairer.
A series of bandings will make it a progressive tax. The higher the value of the property being bought, the higher the rate of tax to be paid.

The bandings also mean that the average first-time buyer will pay nothing in land tax.
For people buying a home up to £400,000 in value, all will pay the same or less than the current stamp duty tax.

Nine out of ten house buyers in Wales will pay the same or less under the new system.
Second home buyers will continue to face a higher land tax rate – at an extra 3% on top of the banding for the value of the home they are buying, the same as under the current stamp duty system.
For business premises, Wales will have the lowest starting rate of tax for purchases in Britain.
“From April, Wales will introduce the first Welsh taxes in almost 800 years, supporting first-time buyers and boosting business,” said the Welsh Finance Secretary, Mark Drakeford.

“The devolution of tax powers provides us with the opportunity to reshape and make changes to improve existing taxes to better meet Wales’ needs and priorities. I have always been clear that we will use these powers to help improve fairness and support jobs and economic growth in Wales…We are being bold but balanced and leading the way in creating a fair and progressive tax system.”

Fortis Properties Managing Director Damon Ormonde says: “The changes are likely to encourage first-time buyers into the marketplace, which is a positive move.

“The fact that Welsh land taxes for homes worth under £400,000 are less than for those in England, coupled with the planned scrapping of the Severn Crossings tolls, may also help encourage more people to widen their property search over the Welsh border and into Newport and Cardiff.
“However, the impact at the higher end of the market should be monitored.”

The residential land tax bandings:

Up to £150,000 – 0%
£150,000 to £250,000 – 2.5%
£250,000 to £400,000 – 5%
£400,000 to £750,000 – 7.5%
£750,000 to £1.5m – 10%
Above £1.5m – 12%

Non-residential bandings:

Up to £150,000 – 0%
£150,000 to £2m – 1%
Above £2m – 2%

The new system means the rate for non-residential leases will apply from a lower net present value threshold.
When it comes to freehold purchases and transactions with lease premiums, it is being forecast that 60% of taxable transactions will pay no tax.

How does this compare with England?

The clear winners are first-time buyers and those buying smaller homes – for example, downsizers.
Anyone buying a home worth under £150,000 will be £500 better off than those buying in England.
For anyone buying a £200,000 house, they will also pay £250 less than those buying a house worth the same in England.
For anyone buying a home worth up to £400,000, the tax is the same as in England.
Above £400,000, buyers start to pay more than their English counterparts.
For a £500,000 house, the difference is £2,500 more than in England.
For houses worth more than £750,000, the difference becomes more marked. A buyer of a £925,000 home in Wales will pay £17,500 more than a buyer in England.

Buying a new home in Cardiff after April 1, 2018? It’s vital you factor these tax bandings into your costs, especially if the property is worth more than £400,000. Get advice on the latest moves in the property market in Cardiff from our experts. Call us today on 02920 561111.

Saving up for a deposit on your first home in Cardiff can be a real struggle, especially if you’re on a low income.
There will soon be help at hand, though, with a new savings scheme created by the UK government, Help To Save.

What is Help To Save?

It’s a new government-backed saving scheme. The aim is to support working people on low incomes and help them build up their savings.
Over four years, regular savers can deposit up to £50 per month and could get up to £1,200 in tax-free bonuses.
It is open to people who receive working tax credits, and people receiving universal credit with a household income equivalent to at least £120 a week – 16 hours per week or more at the national living wage.
The scheme is administered by HM Revenue and Customs.

How does it work?

People can save up to £50 per month each.
Then, at the end of two years, a 50% bonus will be paid, based on the highest balance achieved during that time.
They can carry on for another two years and get another 50% bonus at the end of that.
So, anyone saving the maximum £2,400 over four years will get a £1,200 bonus.
The money can be withdrawn at any time, but that could affect the bonus being paid.

How can this help first-time buyers?

The savings scheme can be used alongside a Help To Buy ISA.
Like any other ISA, you can save into it monthly, up to maximum of £200 a month. When you’re ready to put your money into a deposit on your new home, the government will give you 25% of the balance of your savings.
In effect, you get £50 for every £200 you save. The maximum bonus paid is £3,000 for one person, or £6,000 for a couple who combine their savings.
You have to save a minimum of £1,600 in your Help To Buy ISA to qualify for the payments.
If you have a lump sum of up to £1,000, you can open the Help To Buy ISA with it in addition to the maximum monthly payment.
So, if you’ve been saving under Help To Save, you could put that amount into the ISA as your lump sum.
To qualify for the ISA, you must be a UK resident, aged 16 or over, and buying your first property.
The residential property you buy must be in the UK and cost up to £250,000 outside London or up to £450,000 in London. It cannot be a buy-to-let property and it must be mortgaged.
Your solicitor or conveyancer will apply for the bonus when you are buying your home.
You can only have one Help To Buy ISA, but can combine it with a partner’s, and you can transfer it.
They will be available to new savers until November 30, 2019. You must claim your bonus by December 1, 2030.
If your house purchase falls through, you will be able to re-open your ISA.

Damon Ormonde, Managing Director of Fortis Properties in Cardiff, said: “This is an excellent way to maximise your savings when you’re on a low income.
“It can take years to save a deposit for your first home, and it’s frustrating to see property prices increasing as you save,
“So, anything which helps reduce that time is a massive boost to first-time buyers. I’d encourage anyone who is eligible to take advantage of the Help To Buy scheme and the Help To Buy ISA.”

Are you looking for your first home in Cardiff? Call our local property experts on 02920 561111.

The media has been full of news about the Bank of England’s increase in the interest rate.
Announced by the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, it was the first rate rise since July 2007, as the past decade has seen an unprecedented period of ultra-low interest rates.
If you’re buying or selling a new home in Cardiff, or you’re looking to move, it’s important not to panic. Here’s what you need to know:

What is the Bank of England base rate?
This is the rate of interest set by the UK’s central bank. It’s an important tool to take inflationary pressure out of the economy.
It is used by lenders to set their interest rates. For example, the interest rates you pay when you borrow on a credit card, and the rate you pay when you take out a mortgage.
The rate is set by a panel of economists, the Monetary Policy Committee.
This month’s rise is widely seen as an effort to normalise interest rates after such a long period of abnormally low rates.

How will the increase affect mortgages?
The average home-owner has a mortgage of £175,000 taken out over 25 years. On one of the UK’s most popular tracker mortgages, the rate has risen from 2.25% to 2.5%.
What does that mean in monetary terms? The average monthly mortgage of £763 has risen to £785. That’s a rise of £22 per month.
For those with smaller mortgages, the impact is smaller too.
If you’re on a fixed rate mortgage, your mortgage payments every month will remain the same until the end of the fixed rate period.
For many people, that’s two years.
Unless interest rates fall in the meantime, the next deal is likely to be more expensive. So, it’s important to know when your fixed deal ends and to look for a new deal before you go onto the standard variable rate (SVR).
The SVR tends to be at a higher rate of interest than other deals.
Now might be a good time to review your mortgage with an independent expert to see what deals are on offer. You can always look at a fixed rate to insulate your pocket from any potential increases in the future.
Buy-to-let landlords, who tend to have interest-only mortgages, are seeing a slightly bigger increase. On a £200,000 buy-to-let mortgage, the increase is around £40 per month.

Will it affect the sale of your Cardiff property?
Most experts believe this is unlikely.
In October, there was a small increase in the average UK house price of 0.4% and the experts believe people were already factoring in an expected interest rate rise during that month.
The local marketplace remains buoyant. Cardiff is famed for its excellent quality of life, there is a vibrant mix of different industries to provide jobs, and there is demand for all types of property in the city.

What if you’re saving up for a deposit?
This could be good news for you. Although lenders aren’t forced to increase their interest rate for savers when the base rate goes up, several are already planning to do that.
These increases tend to filter through more slowly than changes to the mortgage rate, though.

Are you looking to sell or buy a property in Cardiff? Talk to our experienced team. Call us on 02920 561111.

Marketing Your Properties To Lawyers And Civil Servants

Marketing Your Properties To Lawyers And Civil Servants Moves by law firms and UK government departments into the Central Square development are cementing Cardiff’s place as a major centre for the law and civil service.

Legal firm Blake Morgan has taken an office at the site, and Hugh James will take on a 100,000sq ft office there in 2018.

Add this to the many law firms and barristers’ chambers in the city, and it’s no surprise that Cardiff topped the UK league for property deals involving law firms in 2016. Research has shown that 19% of Cardiff’s property deals involved legal firms.

It’s a substantial and growing sector.

Central Square will also become a major site for the civil service. Recently, HM Revenue and Customs announced it would move 4,000 staff into the development from Llanishen.

The UK government has taken out a 25-year lease on more than 265,000 sq ft of space at the site.

Other government departments such as the Office for the Secretary of State for Wales are also set to move there.

The civil service is a major employer in the Cardiff area.

The Welsh Government has more than 5,000 workers, many of whom are based in or near the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, an around 1,000 people work at Companies House in Cardiff.

What should landlords and sellers do?

It’s time for landlords to market their high-end rentals to lawyers and public servants, says Fortis Properties Managing Director Jamie Langley.

“This is a lucrative market for private domestic landlords,” he says.

“Professionals such as lawyers and civil servants make excellent tenants. They tend to have good salaries, can afford rentals in desirable areas, and often like the flexibility of renting. It allows them to move cities to further careers.

“For sellers, having potential buyers who have good incomes and a good career path in their chosen profession helps enormously when it comes to achieving the house prices they desire.

“Having two such excellent markets for properties in Cardiff is a boon for anyone renting or selling a domestic property.”

So, when you’re marketing your properties, Jamie says it’s important to highlight the benefits for lawyers and civil servants.

There are three easy ways to do that:

  1. Highlight the good transport links and the vicinity of properties to legal practices, barristers’ chambers, and courts, and the Senedd and Central Square.
  2. Advertise your properties in legal publications and legal websites and in publications read by civil servants.
  3. Use Fortis Properties’ expert marketing and legal contacts. “We have a deep understanding of the marketplace. Our business is established and has sold and rented hundreds of properties and we have excellent contacts in legal practices and among civil servants,” Jamie says. “Our experienced staff conduct viewings and will also get to know potential renters and buyers, finding out what they do. Our staff will then tailor their information to meeting the needs of those viewers, maximising your chances of a positive result.”

 

Do you need help renting or selling a property in Cardiff? Talk to our experienced team. Call us on 02920 561111.