Tag Archives: residential lettings

Gascoigne Halman Named Best Agent in the Cheshire & North Wales Region

Photo Caption (L-R): Stephen Mangan, The Gascoigne Halman Team, and Richard Tucker. Independent estate agent, Gascoigne Halman is delighted to announce that they have won Relocation Agent Network’s prestigious 2014 Best Agent Cheshire & North Wales Regional Award at the Network’s annual National Conference, held at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, London on Friday 14 November.

The annual prize gives the winning agency the title of ‘Best Agent in the Cheshire & North Wales Region’ and is awarded on a number of criteria measuring the agent’s overall contribution to Relocation Agent Network, their ability to achieve customer satisfaction, a strong market share locally and a proven record of helping relocating buyers move both in and out of the area.

The National Conference culminated in an evening black tie Awards Dinner hosted by acclaimed comedy actor, Stephen Mangan, best known for his role as the delusional and arrogant anesthetist, Guy Secretan in the hit Channel 4 hospital sitcom, Green Wing. Currently he stars in the BBC 2 comedy, Episodes with Matt LeBlanc. Stephen announced Gascoigne Halman’s award win.

John Halman comments, “We are really proud to be named the region’s best Relocation Agent Network member as it recognises the hard work and combined effort of everyone here at Gascoigne Halman. The award win clearly demonstrates to our buying and selling customers that we are one of Cheshire’s leading estate agents.”

Richard Tucker, Relocation Agent Network’s Managing Director said, “Gascoigne Halman’s outstanding customer service, independent business initiatives, local market share and commitment to our Network principles means that this award is thoroughly deserved. Congratulations to all the team at Gascoigne Halman.”

Information about Gascoigne Halman can be found by visiting their website http://www.gascoignehalman.co.uk/

Gascoigne Halman shortlisted for 2 national estate agent awards

Gascoigne Halman is delighted to have been shortlisted for two national estate agent awards.

The leading independent estate agent has been shortlisted in the Relocation Agent Network (RAN) 2014 Best Agent in Cheshire & North Wales and Lee Tickle from the company’s Stockton Heath office has been shortlisted in Relocation Agent Network’s 2014 Employee of the Year Award.

RAN is an affiliation of the country’s leading independent estate agents who together make up the most influential estate agency force in Britain. RAN is backed by Cartus, the world’s largest relocation company.

By being part of the RAN alliance, Gascoigne Halman has the first opportunity to access the large number of purchasers moving into the area from other parts of the country through over 620 offices nationwide.

The Best Agent award is an annual prize for the agent that has consistently made the best overall contribution to the Network throughout the year. To reach this stage of the award agents must demonstrate excellent customer service, independent business initiatives, local market share and a commitment to the Relocation Agent Network principles.

Lee Tickle’s award acknowledges individuals who go above and beyond to provide the highest levels of customer service in their estate agency.

John Halman, Gascoigne Halman’s Managing Director said, “We are delighted to be shortlisted, especially as the awards recognise the hard work and combined effort, commitment and enthusiasm of our entire team.”

The winners will be announced on the 14th November at the RAN Awards Dinner in London.

Rogue agents charging over-the-odds tenant fees

The Consumer Rights Bill was debated within the House of Lords on the 4th November. An amendment was laid by the opposition to prohibit fees paid to letting agents. Responding for the Government, Baroness Neville-Rolfe said that a blanket ban on letting agent fees could not be the answer to tackling a minority of irresponsible agents and that banning fees would lead to an increase in rent prices.

ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) supports the view that fees should be transparent and believes that better regulation is needed in the private rental sector to stop rogue agents charging over-the-odds tenant fees.

Their recent report on tenant fees* found that nearly three quarters (74%) of ARLA Licensed agents charge tenants no more than £250 in tenant fees. Overall, among the members surveyed the report found ARLA Licensed agents charge a reasonable £213 on average in tenant fees to cover the lettings process.

While many are concerned about tenant fees, David Cox, managing Director of ARLA, explains why they are needed: “Tenant fees cover the cost of essential items during the lettings agreement process such a reference checks, the drafting of the tenancy agreement, and the management of tenancy extension or renewal. All of these items cost the agent money to carry out, and in fact, provided the agent has a fair pricing structure, the agent will not make a noticeable profit on charging for these items. Renting a property is a big financial commitment and tenants should be made aware of what exactly they are being charged for and what they are getting for their money. ARLS supports openness and transparency when it comes to fees.”

Philip Chadwick, Gascoigne Halman’s Lettings Director agrees: “We are confident that our commitment to ARLA’s strict code of conduct demonstrably puts the tenant first. Openness, transparency and fairness are at the heart of everything we do. Clients should be cautious if dealing with agents who are not members of ARLA.”

*ARLA Licensed agents, based on 506 responses

Second successful seminar proves Buy to Let is popular as ever

P1050867 (800x600)Gascoigne Halman’s second Landlord and Investor Seminar proved that the Buy to Let market is as popular as ever. The event which was held at the Cottons Hotel in Knutsford on 22nd May, saw 100 people in attendance.

The idea behind the event was to arm potential and existing landlords with sound advice about approaching the lettings market and getting the most out of being a landlord. Supported by a panel of local experts from Baker Tilly, Aldermore and Chafes Solicitors, the event attracted both new and existing landlords, as well as those interested in finding out more.

Director of the Gascoigne Halman Lettings division, Philip Chadwick, commented, “I’m delighted that so many people were able to make it to our second seminar. There were extremely positive comments across the board and many of the attendees relished the opportunity to gain some inside knowledge about the Buy to Let market from our panels of experts both during and after the event on a one-to-one basis.

“With many people still unable to get on to the property ladder, rental demand is still very much on the increase and as demand from tenants continues, this has opened up the Buy to Let market to a much more diverse range of investors.”

Gascoigne Halman we will be holding their next Landlord & Investor Seminar in the Autumn and will be releasing details nearer the time.

Calling All Landlords! 

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According to a recent estate agency survey, now is a good time to be a landlord. Conducted by Relocation Agent Network, of which Gascoigne Halman, is a member, not only is it a strong buy to let market, but re-sale values have also increased in the last three years.

Relocation Agent Network, the national network of independent estate agents asked its members whether the re-sale value of a typical two bed investment property has increased or decreased in the last three years. A third indicated the value has increased by up to 10% and another fifth reported a 15% rise.

The national survey also looked at what prospective tenants consider to be the most important factors when looking for rental accommodation. The majority of survey respondents (46%) cited location as the top priority, followed closely by the cost of a property (37%).

Gascoigne Halman’s Lettings Director, Philip Chadwick, said, “This survey brings good news for current landlords and those considering becoming a buy to let investor. Not only is it a strong rental market, you’re also getting capital growth as well as rental yields.

“If you have a property to let, contact us today. We’re Relocation Agent Network’s appointed Local Expert for Cheshire, South Manchester and the High Peak, which means we have access to out of town tenants moving into the area.”

Successful seminar proves Buy to Let market is here to stay

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A recent seminar hosted by Gascoigne Halman has proved that the Buy to Let market is stronger than ever, with the 120 available places at the Landlord & Investor Seminar being snapped up in just one week.

The idea behind the event was to arm potential and existing landlords with sound advice about approaching the lettings market and getting the most out of being a landlord. Supported by a panel of local experts from Baker Tilly, Nationwide and Chafes Solicitors, the event which was held at the De Vere Village Hotel in Cheadle, attracted interested individuals from across South Manchester and Cheshire.

Director of the Gascoigne Halman Lettings division, Philip Chadwick, commented, “I’m delighted that so many people were able to make it to our first seminar. There were extremely positive comments across the board and many of the attendees relished the opportunity to gain some inside knowledge about the Buy to Let market from our panels of experts. 

“With many people still unable to get on to the property ladder, rental demand is very much on the increase and as demand from tenants continues, this has opened up the Buy to Let market to a much more diverse range of investors.”

Gascoigne Halman we will be holding their next Landlord & Investor Seminar at the Cottons Hotel in Knutsford on Thursday 22nd May. For further information or to book your place please contact Christine McDougall on 01625 460 344 or email: seminars@gascoignehalman.co.uk

What’s happening to the value of your home?

John Halman of Gascoigne Halman

At long last there is some improvement in the level of confidence and activity in the housing market. Gascoigne Halman is represented by seventeen offices across the region and, as such, our activity levels provide a useful barometer for what’s happening with the property market in your local patch.

I am sure you will be pleased to read that last month we saw not only increased enquiries but also the highest number of agreed sales since 2008.

Rightmove, the country’s most popular property portal has recently announced that average asking prices in England and Wales have passed £250,000 for the first time.  They have also stated that this is a 2.7% increase on a year ago and a 1.2% increase from the month before.  This was the sixth consecutive monthly rise.

Rightmove statistics also indicate that whilst prices in the South East were racing away climbing 14.8%, those in the North, which not only reflect our area but the wider region, rose by 9.2%. Rightmove said that this represented the possibility of a broader housing market recovery and this has certainly been reflected by the activity levels and number of sales generated across our offices in South Manchester, North Cheshire and the High Peak.

The good news for home buyers is that prices have adjusted significantly and, according to the Nationwide Building Society, have fallen 20% in real terms since the autumn of 2007. According to Oxford Economics and the Institute of Fiscal Studies’ Green Budget, prices are now below their long term trend.  They also point out that this is further backed up by the House Price Earnings Ratio which has fallen a quarter since the crisis and is now in line with its average since the period of low interest began in the 1990’s.

One of the recent factors that has had a positive impact on the market has been the increased competition among many lenders enabling more competitive mortgage deals for first time buyers and those requiring a high loan to value. These groups have been penalised over the last few years and this in itself has been a factor in slowing down the property market.

So we are seeing welcome and noticeable improvements in the property market but there are words of caution.  The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association says that post-recession home ownership levels have fallen dramatically and transactions are still operating at only 60% of those at the peak.  As a consequence it is likely that the private rented sector will continue to satisfy a significant part of our housing needs over the coming years.

The future sees the introduction of the Government’s Help to Buy Scheme for second hand homes next January and this is a 95% tax payer backed mortgage scheme.  Whilst this has attracted some criticism as it could provide an artificial stimulus to the market and cause prices to rise, it appears that some buyers are pre-empting any potential scheme-induced price rises by doing a deal now.

After several years of having to deal with a significant slump in confidence in the housing market, and with a lack of available funding, this commentator is certainly relieved that on this occasion there appears to be sound reasons for optimism for the market in our area.

John Halman

John Halman is Managing Director of Gascoigne Halman, an estate agent with seventeen offices in South Manchester and is the North West Regional Residential Spokesman for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

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