Friday, 23 December 2011

Going Countrwide means increased sales

Great News for us this month - we have agreed terms with working with Countrywide  - the UKs largest estate agency branch network with 1200 branches.

We have to sift through an awful lot of properties when selecting for investors and it becomes a time consuming and frankly wasteful process at times because we have to discard 70% of all the sites / properties we see; often because they are in the wrong location or they aren't going to generate enough yield for an investment deal to stack up.

So in 2012 we are now able to represent some of our developers who want extra marketing by selling via the Countrywide branch network nationwide. This is a major milestone for us at Midas because , though the properties might not stack up for an investor, they can make perfectly good homes and it now means we will be engaging at a national level for most of the properties we get sent - and revenues will obviously be driven north by virtue of working in partnership as a corporate client of the nations largest asset management and estate agency business.

So we are looking forward to marketing our properties in the 3rd week of January 2012 and look to grow the partnership further with plenty more on the table to discuss. More to announce in due course.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Sunday Telegraph: East End of London attracts lots of investor attention

The Sunday Telegraph posted a great piece this weekend on the rising boom in investor interest in the East End of London with particular attention drawn to the development in Lett Road Stratford and Isle of Dogs which Midas has access to with fantastic discounts.

Here is a copy of that piece.

For more information on the Stratford development click here: and feel free to call us to discuss in more detail on 0117 9117590 

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Oxford United and Leyton Orient do business with Midas

Great News we have 2 new Property School partners in Oxford United and Leyton Orient who are both becoming business partners with Midas and hosting schools at their stadiums - promoting the events to their corporate and football fanbase for Midas. Its a great win win situation for Midas - because we now have fantastic venues to host our events as well as the credibility of league football clubs as advocates.

We are also excited to about all of our other negotations with other sports clubs including premiership rugby clubs and national property businesses - soon to be announced.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Work with Midas - The Introducer training

  Today marked a special occasion - our first introducer training session for those people who have caught the Midas Buzz and want to understand exactly how the Midas business works and how they can work for us in finding clients.

We had 4 sessions:
1.   I gave the opening session on how to work the real estate business from an estate agents point of view
2.   Robin gave his overview on the introducer numerous tools and resources available and a full explanation on how he uses networking and internet marketing to attract clients
3.   Phil Clark , one of our preferred mortgage brokers gave an insight on what was possible for investors and how to understand the basics of buy to let investment mortgages
4.   Andy Dillan our lettings manager explained all about the Lettings market and how to find new investors.

Here was a view from the car park at the new office.

Here was the team enjoying their lunch and getting settled back down into the afternoon session.

Here were some comments from some of the attendees

Rob Tolchard - Plymouth
Today's training has allowed me while listening to the great presentation to think of the points I'd been missing out on and I think there are a number of avenues I can now attack and build my Midas introducer business

John Doherty
I have been aware of Midas for a few months now and had already spoken to a couple of people but today it was good to get a good overview of the business, a greater in-depth knowledge of the model and the type of properties and the lettings and the backup service and the knowledge of all those elements helped me explain more fully to the people I talk to -its a really good model

Jawad Ahmed
I think the biggest thing I found today is that there is a lot more equity in your property that  you realize especially if you are self employed and the other thing I found useful was the source of leads and different ways of contacting people and also getting an update on the back office tools available

Paul & Sian Mayer-Haart
It clarified a lot of things and answered a lot of questions and also a lot of things we would never have thought of ourselves. Helpful to meet other people and to get other perspectives - also the questions aren't necessarily occur to us. We found it equipped us for the future

Tony  Ward
There are numerous things -  the first thing I got was trust in the people that set up the business so I have confidence in their experience and what they can do has been proven. Now they have put it altogether in a simple presentation the client must understand its just there for them.

Mike Beckley
Its really interesting - there are a lot of questions you get asked when presenting the concept of property investment and the session today answered all those objections.

Robin asked Kevin Crook from London and Tamas Lakos from Bristol what they got from the sessions

Thanks for coming guys - we hope you can now go off and build a business that enables you to further your own investment plans

Saturday, 10 September 2011

London School in Infiniti showroom Piccadilly

We had a great Property School this week at the London Infiniti Showroom in Piccadilly. Such a good setting for people to get to and Paul and Andy at the showroom let all our guests sit in the cars and have a look at all of the models.

Our new improved content was well received and we had plenty of questions at the end which we hope were all covered satisfactorily.

Here are some of the photos of the event.

We hope to be bringing the school to London much more frequently in the future. Thanks to all those that attended.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Thanks so much Malcolm!

What a lovely surprise this morning. Malcolm Wilson our client from our previous blog posting who kindly gave a video testimonial has also just sent us this lovely gift pack from Betty's tearooms in Harrogate. Lots of chocolate goodies and biscuits with this lovely message inside.

Thank you so much Malcolm - glad we could help you and not sure we can make those goodies last all week!!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Trip to London to see one of our clients

My business partner Robin made a trip to London yesterday to make an important stop to meet one of our valued clients, Malcolm Wilson from Chepstow who kindly took some time out of his day to give us a testimonial on video.

Here is what he said.

We are obviously keen to tell people how our customer service values are important to us but Malcolm did a much better job than us.

Thank you to Malcolm for your kind words. We are very grateful.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

7 Secrets os a successful property investor - Secret #7 Exit Planning and Review

Exit planning & Review
Before you start building your portfolio you should consider your exit strategy because it’s important to plan with the end in mind.

Here are some case studies for different age groups we put together to help show the typical starting scenarios.

You can then plan your exit – here we have some exit strategies for you to consider.
You should discuss your plans and aspirations with your mortgage broker so that he or she can apply for the mortgage products which fit your timescales and flexibility.

If you want a free discussion with us on this planning stage of building your portfolio then please give us a call and we’d be happy to help you get started, regardless of whether you use us or not.

Every 6 months you should look at your portfolio from 3 angles:
  • Rents and whether you can increase rents – your letting agent should be writing to tenants 2 months prior to the tenancy end date if you are adopting secret#5 and so its important that existing tenants are notified of an increase in rent with good time for them to move out if they are unable to pay. You should conduct a rent survey on the property again in good time for you to determine whether your rents can be increased. Failing to do this every 6 months can cost you a lot of money – especially if you have a lot of properties.
  • Mortgage reviews – make sure you are talking to the same mortgage broker about your portfolio. He or she will be right up to date with the latest mortgage products and the market changes and because they understand your goals , they will also be able to recommend which products are going to be reduce your monthly payments and give you the flexibility to move onto your next property in the planned time frames. Therefore it is really important that you build up a strong relationship with the broker so they are able to come alongside you at any time. We recommend you look to review your mortgages every 6 months.
  • Equity review With Secret number #2 – Carry out a valuation of your portfolio. You will also be receiving all rental profits and paying them into your buffer (i.e. rainy day account , cash approximately 15-20% of money invested should be in cash) With the rent reviews complete and the mortgage review complete you will be able to see how much you can borrow and top up your buffer) All of our investors in keeping with their overall exposure – so the bigger the portfolio the bigger the buffer.
For more information on what we do please click here

7 Secrets of a successful property investor - Secret #6 Reducing Risk and Tax Planning

One of THE most important principles of property investment is to have a Buffer. You might ask what is a buffer?
It’s your nest egg!

Or insurance against the following things happening across your portfolio
          Mortgage rate increase (buy to let or main house)
          Lack of rental
          Repairs to property
          Flexibility on rentals

Without a buffer you run the risk of running out of cash and getting wiped out.
We recommend 5% of your property value should be held in your rental account for such circumstances. So with 200k property, hold 10k as a buffer. 

As your portfolio grows then so should your buffer. Our clients with 6 or 7 properties have buffers with 60-70k. Now some of this money can be held in a high interest account but you should have ready access to some of it to keep yourself safe. You must stay disciplined on this at all costs – we had one client who spent some of her buffer on a holiday and new clothes and on her review we asked for her rental account statements and asked her to put the money back or else we would resign her as a client.

You Must Plan from day 1
Income Tax
          Compliance - HMRC dictates that as soon as you receive income you need to declare it.
          Non Compliance - Failure to comply could result in fines, penalties and records going as far back as 3 years
          A tax specialist can register you, and liaise with HMRC and the client to cut down red tape and confusion
          They will inform you what you can & cannot claim, when this is done, the frequency and any updates to legislation through budget changes etc

Capital Gains Tax
          Sale of your home
          a property that you've bought as an investment, for example a buy-to-let property
          a second home, for example a holiday home in the UK or overseas
          business premises, such as a shop or a factory
          land, such as agricultural land
Capital Gains Tax is paid through the Self Assessment system and will be calculated as part of your Self Assessment tax return.
You should keep any records and information that might help you work out your capital gain or loss. If you've made a loss on a disposal you'll need to claim it in order to set it off against your gains.

If you would like to be referred to our preferred supplier for all tax issues then please contact us
For more information about what we do please click here

7 Secrets of a successful property investor - Secret #5 Managing your properties

Once you have a tenant in place you should ensure that your agent adopts the following practices.
The agent doesn’t have to be a local agent because you have now marketed the property on a find only basis using a local agent and now you can be really fussy about which agent you instruct to manage the property for you. These are some of the things we do for our clients which you may find useful in selecting your own letting agent.

          Take control of referencing process
To ensure the best possible tenants are secured and credit checked. References are taken from employers and landlords to qualify the tenant.

          Video Inventory checking.
We also carry out a full video inventory check on all items in the property to ensure all damage or loss is documented and costs recovered from the deposit. Date-stamped evidence at the beginning and end of the tenancy is vital for protecting the landlord from loss or damage to the property and contents.

          Rent guarantee policy
We also introduce a rent guarantee policy on every tenant which guarantees your rent when a tenant falls out of work or becomes made redundant. We also implement a £25'000 legal cover policy which covers the costs in the unlikely event of an eviction.

          Never allow contract to expire in a dead time
We never allow a contract to expire in a dead time i.e. We do not allow a 6 month contract in July avoiding the possibility of a property coming available in December and having it empty for months or a serious reduction in rent to secure a new tenant.

          Never charge landlords for re-signing tenants
We never charge landlords for resigning current tenants, potentially saving landlords up to 50% of the 1st month's rent each year.  We also take care of any changeovers in tenancies instructing agents in the area of your property to find tenants.

          Use a 2 month notice period on all tenancy agreements
We contact tenants 2 months before the end of the contract to find out if they are resigning and making the property available again with all the agents if they are moving out.

          Conduct regular rent reviews
Midas will then always conduct a rent review 2 months prior to the end of a contract to see if an increase is possible. This gives us the maximum advertising time to secure new tenants ensuring as little of a gap as possible between tenancies, a real money loss for landlords.

          Single point of contact with one management company
Having a single agent for the management ensures you are dealing with one management company and not having to deal with lots of different practices and procedures and therefore standards.

          Nationwide maintenance team
Midas employs a quality management team of over 50 experienced staff covering every aspect of maintaining your property throughout the UK 365 days of the year. We pride ourselves on being able to respond to all repairs and maintenance queries on our clients behalf and we stay in touch with our clients to authorize all costs.

          Landlord dispute service
We have access to an expert legal team who have an extremely cost effective service. You should identify an expert in landlord disputes to be able to deal quickly and effectively.

For more information on what we do please Click Here

7 Secrets of a successful property investor - Secret #4 - Finding tenants quickly

Finding tenants quickly for your property
The 4th secret I am going to share with you is how we find tenants quickly in any location in the UK.

·         Firstly with 2 months lead time to exchange on your purchased you should survey the property for its rental potential – so email as many letting agents in the area and tell them you have a property to let – proving the square footage and the specification for the property.

·         You will get a variety of emails back providing a mixture of rental figures – you should now consider the ones that came back to you in the best available time and talk to each one and get a feel for their professionalism on the phone – you are aiming to select the best 4 agents from your list. Choose a rental figure in the upper 25% of the range you are given from the agents and don’t place it too high or you will price yourself out of the market.

·         Once you have chosen 4 hungry agents who have been professional courteous you will instruct all 4 of them to market the property for you. Tell them that you are instructing multiple agents so that they are aware of the competition. This is critical for ensuring that they are going to work for you.

·         Tell the agents you are an investor and have more properties to let and if this works out you will be bringing more in to them. Ask them if there is anything that they can do for you in terms of discount.
·         Provide keys to each agent you have instructed and wait for your tenant to be found.

Using this method you are not limiting yourself to one agent and being left behind several other landlords during peak times and you should be able to negotiate down your finders fee.

Secret #5 will explain how to manage your properties once you have a list of suitable tenants in place.

For more information on what we do please click here

7 Secrets of a successful property investor - Secret #3 - Negotiation

The 3rd secret I am going to share with you is how to negotiate with a developer on price for your property and here are the  questions I go to them with:
  • Ask the developer - How many have you sold to other investors? Because if you hear that 20% or more have been sold to other investors you will be competing on completion and this could impact your rental potential and you should leave this development alone.
  • Ask the developer to be shown a surveyors report for the valuation of the property. You want an independent valuation from a professional - not just what he tells you.
  • Ask the developer also to be shown that Joe public has paid the market price declared to you. You want to make sure that any discount you are being offered is genuine discount. Evidence of true value again here backs up what the market value is.
When you have all this information you are now ready to negotiate.
·         Tell him you are ready to go to exchange in 4 weeks, with no chain, cash buyer.
Now before you can claim this you will need to have your finance in place so it’s a pre-requisite that you have spoken to a good mortgage broker – if you haven’t got one then please ask us to recommend one our bank of preferred brokers. The mortgage broker will need to know that these timescales are required because he or she will know the lenders that can turn around an application in 4 weeks. For a list of benefits of using a dedicated mortgage broker click here  – and then you will also have to “prime” a good lawyer to do your legal work in equally quick time – so talk to a lawyer in advance of your conversation with the developer.

Then ask the developer how much discount he will offer you and tell him you are able to exchange in 4 weeks  – you have no chain and you are buying as an investment.

He will then be very motivated to offer a discount. Depending on the location and the demand for that location. Some extremely high demand areas will only bear small discounts but it is worth trying for as much as you can get.
For more information about what we do please click here for our full service

7 Secrets of a successful property investor - Secret #2 Research, Research, Research

Research tips for your portfolio
Another common mistake made by some investors is not carrying out enough research. I am amazed at some of the stories from investors who have bought without even visiting a site. People sometimes even buy properties online!
Having established a good location you are going to need to roll up your sleeves and do put in some time to single out the best properties and sites to buy. Here are the questions we ask developers before we make any decisions:
  • Find out where the university is - close is best to bring strong rental demand.
  • Find out where the best schools are - again close to large schools is best to bring extra rental demand.
  • Visit the location during the day and go to the cafes, pubs and restaurants and get a feel for the place- what kind of people frequent them? These people are going to be your tenants.
  • Go back during the evening and find out what its like then.
  • Go to the schools and ask parents what its like living here – you’d be amazed what they tell you. try and tease out the issues by asking open questions like "how much crime is there in the area?". "What do you like best about the area?". "What would you change if you could?"
  • Where are the local authority housing estates in the area? - in the nicest possible way - we need to be further away from LA housing.
  • Ask about the developments in the area and seek local opinion of them. Your locals will dish the dirt on local developers and the issues that come up. You may get a heads up on the developer which will serve to warn you off.
Once you are satisfied that you have found a nice area in a good location and your research is complete you are ready to start negotiating which we will cover in Secret #3.
For more information about what we do please click here for our full service

7 Secrets of a successful property investor- Secret #1 - Location, Location, Location

Finding the right location
The most important part of any property investment strategy should be location. A common mistake made by investors is to think that by employing the “Zulu principle” they can become experts in their own area and build a portfolio of properties wholly in the same area. I have no doubt that over time this strategy will identify the bargains in plain sight and also the better properties in the area – but this strategy has a big weakness.

Your potential for growth is limited to the strength in your area and when the market takes a rest, then so does your portfolio. Why not identify where in the UK the greatest strengths for growth are?
We look for 3 key themes in any area – a. Education – ie a university town, b. employment – good jobs market strength and business centres c. tourism – proximity to popular tourist hot-spots. This year we have identified these specific locations as good investments in the long term

247 flights per week
Jamie Oliver and Rick Stein (celebrity chefs) boast prestige restaurants in the area
Fabulous beaches with surfing all year round
People seeking a duel lifestyle can commute use Newquay as the weekend location
Waterfront locations command the best rents and become the best for capital growth

The Cotswolds
Extremely popular destination for UK and overseas tourists gets 1 million hits per month from overseas web visitors. Tourist hot-spots in the area are Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold and Moreton-in-Marsh.
RAF Lineham closure lead to 200 families being relocated to RAF Brize Norton which is in the Cotswolds – We believe Rissington is a hotspot for the extra demand bearing on 2 and 3 bed properties. 

London - Muswell Hill
In good locations 10 minutes walk from a tube station and you are in the centre of London
Up and coming area becoming very popular with young professionals

London – Stratford

The London Olympic games brings £2 billion investment into the area with 30,000 new jobs being created and a complete face lift of the site for the stadium. There is a new shopping centre destined to be the largest in Europe called Westfield and this will boast all of the high street brands. The new stadium will be the London Premiership club West Ham’s new ground. With 2 stops to Canary Wharf and the West End close by too – this location is too good to miss with the Olympic 2012 games just around the corner. Growth is baked into the cake.

The second weakness of building a portfolio solely in one location is that you are not diversifying into the strengths of different areas which have periods of growth. It is about identifying those periods of growth and buying into the growth story that gives you the most capital growth and if you have many properties in different locations you are spreading the risk of a downturn or lull in the market for a specific area.

For a full list of the properties we recommend grab some ideas from our website click here
Look out for Secret #2 - Research, Research, Research