Published On: Wed, May 28th, 2014

GFW Lettings bolsters opportunities for rural landlords

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5 Garden Terrace, Alnmouth[4]North East letting company and property specialist, GFW Letting, is offering advice to landlords on future-proofing their rural property investments, in light of recent changes to the lettings market.

With significant shifts in the North East rural rental market in recent years, in order for landlords to stay ahead of the game when it comes to their investments, maintaining properties to a high standard is of even greater importance.

Landlords must now meet tougher energy efficiency obligations which can impact on older properties and should be addressed in order to meet Energy Performance Certificate requirements and ensure all properties are fit for the future. Assessing every property on an individual basis, GFW Letting is able to advise on the best ways to update your property, which will also greatly benefit the experience for tenants – from improvements to insulation to adding double glazing.

Rising costs are also changing perceptions of life in the countryside, especially in light of heightened fuel prices meaning the cost of the daily commute from the country into the region’s towns and cities, often isn’t sustainable.

Tenants are therefore drawn to locations which offer good transport links such as the more ‘urban’ areas of Northumberland for example, Alnwick, Berwick, Hexham and Morpeth, where you are within walking distance of all the local amenities and train and road links are easily accessible. Similarly, areas just outside of these towns are also proving popular and some of the smaller towns and larger villages like Warkworth and Alnmouth present attractive investment opportunities. All offer thriving communities and job opportunities in themselves and often attract families looking to embrace the benefits of life in the country. For those tenants travelling into the towns and cities of Tyne and Wear, train and bus passes can often provide a more cost effective option.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALorna Morris is the Lettings Manager for Northumberland at GFW Letting, part of the George F. White Group of rural property specialists. She said: “It’s important to recognise that country living is a fantastic option for many people and the rural rental market still presents an exciting opportunity for investment. The flexibility renting offers is still embraced by many people today.

“In many respects, we’re noticing an upturn in lettings in parts of Northumberland. People are looking to settle and put down roots and often they’re still priced out of the sales market so renting a quality country home becomes a viable option for them. They’re also close to convenient transport links, so for example, someone living in Warkworth can benefit from being close to the sea, river and beautiful countryside whilst being just five minutes from Alnmouth train station and great links into the city.

“GFW Letting works with landlords who want to find the right tenant for their property; people who will care and look after it like it’s their own and similarly, we require quality properties that will meet our tenants’ needs.

“Key to success for landlords, is having a clear idea of what you want to achieve and being flexible with your investments. The price of rentals will always be reflective of the current market situation. Sometimes if a location isn’t as popular or as convenient for tenants, it is better to slightly reduce the monthly cost and minimise the chances of longer void periods where the house is empty and no income is being generated. Buy-to-let is still a good option because prices are still relatively low and strong rental yields can be achieved – if the location is right. These are all areas we are able to advise on; as a regulated agent we are constantly assessing the shifting market conditions.”

Lorna acknowledges that thinking longer term is increasingly important especially in view of the current trend for staying in homes for longer periods of time.

She said: “We’ve noticed a shift from shorter term holiday lets in Northumberland to longer term rentals where people want to stay somewhere for longer and make it their home.

“A lot of our landlords are farmers with large property portfolios, all of whom know the area well and the type of tenant they want to attract. As part of the George F. White Group, GFW Letting has excellent links with farmers, land owners and tenants and can advise on the best ways of maximising rental opportunities. Our approach isn’t a one-size-fits-all method – we offer bespoke packages looking at individual circumstances and designed to attract the type of tenant each landlord is looking for.

“We are also noticing a significant rise in ‘accidental landlords’ or people who have become landlords because the property they’re trying to sell has been on the market for a very long time. Our property management option can help people move where they need to and get on with their lives whilst their property is still in safe hands and can be seen as an investment.”

GFW Letting specialises in both urban and rural property lettings. The company recently merged with Newcastle letting agent, Davis Keep Ltd., and has an expanding property portfolio spanning the North East from Northumberland through to Tyne and Wear and County Durham.

To find out more about the services offered to landlords through GFW Letting, visit www.gfwletting.co.uk or call 01665 511989.

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