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Letting property

Property investment services

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Some property investment services will gladly take you through the whole process and acquire an individual property or a whole portfolio on your behalf. Much of the time these investment services are affiliated with a lettings or property management company, as there are obvious synergies involved for them. They are maximising their effectiveness if they can charge you a fee for providing investment services that lead to you buying property through their estate agent, then using their lettings agent to find a tenant for you and manage the property!

Apart from the activities that are normally covered by lettings agents or property management companies, property investment services will usually offer you specialist personal advice on the following areas, often with the option of picking and choosing which services you opt (and pay) for:

Some people are loathe to use the financial advisors that are affiliated with estate agents and other property companies, as they have had something of a bad press for selling products that are not always the most suitable. But the reality is that they are no more guilty of this than most other types of financial adviser. The chances are that you will be better off getting the advice of a financial adviser who specialises in property investment, than you would be by speaking to a general high-street IFA.

Buy to let requires special knowledge of the marketplace, mortgage products and insurance options that are open to you. A property investment adviser can help you arrange your mortgage, explain and discuss the different choices you face and how suitable they are for you, get quotations and push through the fulfilment on your behalf. Having someone take care of your mortgage application for you, filling out all the forms, liasing with the lender and going on to complete the process, can be a real relief for some people.

Search & acquisition
In the same way that a relocation agency will find you a property to buy or let, a property investment service will find you a suitable property, or portfolio of properties to buy to let. They will advise you on the local market conditions, recommending a particular size, type and location in order to choose somewhere that is favourable in terms of local tenant demand.

They will then create a shortlist of properties for you to view from their own books and those of other estate agents, often making recommendations as to which they feel are most appropriate. Many will handle the negotiation on your behalf, working within fixed financial parameters that you set. They will normally instruct a solicitor or conveyor on your behalf, as well as requesting a survey and reviewing the findings.

It is worthwhile knowing how much solicitors fees and surveys normally cost in the open market, to make sure you are not being overcharged. Mind you, these days estate agents and investment companies can put so much business in the direction of the service professionals that they are often able to obtain preferential prices, meaning you actually get service more cheaply than you would on your own.

Furnishing & preparation
Most investment companies will help you to fit out the property to the correct standard of decor and furnishing. They will work with you to identify necessary work and then prepare a schedule of recommended improvements, decorations and repairs. With your consent, they will then handle the contractors, negotiating with them and taking care of payment. They will also manage the acquisition of any contents for your property, including furniture, appliance, fittings and so on. They will probably be keen for you to spend quite a lot, as they usually work on a commission of the total amount that you spend.

Portfolio management & performance analysis
Most investment companies try to build a long term relationship with you these days, to maximise the possibility of your future custom. They will help you manage and track the performance of your investment portfolio, providing you with an annual statement of accounts, financial summaries, performance analysis and appraisal, as well as advice and consultation on your past, present and future strategy.

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