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100% development funding available for key projects

Interesting meeting with Nigel Bowers specialist land and commercial finance specialist discussing ways to fund building developments in and around Leeds. In some cases there are ways to fund 100% of the build costs of the whole project.

HMO investor saved just in time!

Just saved a property investor a stack of cash and heartache! The investor from London was about to exchange contracts on a single house in the Headingley area of Leeds. His plan was to change the use from a family house into a HMO (house in multiple occupancy or shared house). He was unaware that there is a council/planning law (article 4 direction) requiring you to apply for planning permission to change the use. After checking the location for him I found out that similar planning applications had been refused on the basis of too many HMO’S on that particular street. I also noticed another planning application had been refused on appeal. Some advice to you, if you are thinking of investing in HMO’S in Leeds do your bl#@dy homework!!!!!

How to find property deals in Leeds

How to find property deals in Leeds

A property investor called me today to say that he could not find any discounted, below market value or profitable investment properties in Leeds. I said have you looked hard enough? He replied yes. I went on to explain to him that when searching for suitable properties he either had to find a motivated seller who wanted to sell quickly for a discount or he had to do what professional investors do which is to find a property where you can add value. For example a property that requires a refurb, increase floor size or like this small house increase the number of bedrooms. So when you are on the search for investment deals look to see how you can add value to the property

Article 4 Direction Leeds – What does this mean?

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Article 4 Direction Leeds, what does this mean?

If you are new to Leeds and are thinking about investing in student or shared accommodation known as Houses in Multiple Occupation HMO’s you must understand how the article 4 direction Leeds planning rules works.

Before 10th February 2012 you could purchase a single dwelling in any part of Leeds and convert it into a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) under permitted development. This means you didn’t need full planning permission.

However, since February 2012 Leeds City Council have used a delegated power within the amended Town and Country Planning order to give them the right to withdraw permitted development if you are intending to convert a single dwelling known as C3 class to a HMO C4 class.

This delegated power is called article 4 direction Leeds.

So why have Leeds City Council decided to use this power called article 4 direction Leeds?

National planning policy guidance (referred as PPS1 and PPS3) provide the context for local planning policy to ensure that mixed and balanced communities are developed in the future and to avoid situations where existing communities are becoming unbalanced by narrowing of household types towards domination by a particular type, such as Houses in Multiple Occupation.

Leeds City Council understand’s that HMO’s do provide an affordable type of housing and that they do contribute to the overall mix of housing types. However it is also recognised that high concentrations of HMO’s in certain areas of Leeds can result in numerous harmful impacts.

The government have conducted a report where they gathered evidence on how high concentrations of HMO’s can affect and impact on communities. These include:-

Anti-social behaviour, noise and nuisance
Imbalanced and unsustainable communities
Negative impacts on physical environment and streetscape
Pressures upon parking provisions
Increased crime
Growth in the private sector at the expenses of owner-occupation
Pressure upon local community facilities
Restructuring of retail, commercial services and recreation facilities to suit the lifestyles of the population

It is also recognised that in student areas of Leeds especially places like Headingley, Hyde Park and Kirkstall there is a huge demand for single family homes instead of HMO’s. I have also seen a migration of students from these areas to City Centre locations, student pods and the new student villages. This has caused an oversupply of HMO’s in these areas and that is another reason article 4 direction Leeds has come into force.

Having said this existing HMO’s located in good and convenient locations around Headingley, Hyde Park and Kirkstall will always be required for rental purposes. Although some students have migrated away from these areas there is a huge increase in demand for professional – shared accommodation as this provides good value for money and more importantly affordable living. Rental income and returns are very good especially if you make sure the HMO in Leeds is refurbished to a high standard and managed professionally.

What article 4 direction Leeds means in a nutshell is that if you are looking at buying a single dwelling and you want to convert it into a HMO then you have to apply to Leeds City Council for full planning permission. While gaining planning consent is not impossible you are likely to be refused planning permission as the council will use their delegated powers under article 4 direction Leeds.

Saying this though, if you find a dwelling which is already a HMO and you can prove that it is trading as one YOU DO NOT need to apply for planning permission.

What I see from article 4 direction Leeds is that existing HMO’s in Leeds will most certainly increase in value subject to market conditions as this type of dwelling will continue to be in demand.
In the long term I believe that this type of property will be a good investment.

If you require any further information about Article 4 Direction Leeds or about Houses in Multiple Occupation please feel free to contact me at any time contact me.

Back to back houses in Leeds a good investment?

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Back to Back houses in Leeds a good investment?

If you are looking to start a property portfolio in Leeds back to back houses are a good investment.

Back to back houses in Leeds are cheap, easy to look after and more importantly you can achieve a good rental return.

Back to back houses were built in the 19th century to provide affordable housing for employees who worked for large industrial businesses and mills. In Leeds there are still over 30,000 back to back houses that still house local people.

Back to back houses in Leeds can be found mainly in the South Leeds areas such as Holbeck, Beeston and Armley. Saying that there is still a number of these back to back properties in the Kirkstall and Burley areas which are currently occupied by families and students.

Back to back houses in Leeds are sometimes referred to as blind back to back houses as there are no rear windows or access. You will normally find especially in the South Leeds area that back to back houses in Leeds have no yard or garden at the front with the entrance coming off the front door directly onto the street.

A typical back to back house in Leeds comprises of a large front lounge or living area on the ground floor with a separate galley style kitchen just off it. In the kitchen depending on which area the back to back house in Leeds is situated you will find a door that leads directly down into the cellar. These cellars were used not so long ago as coal pits, where coal was delivered in order to heat up the house. Nowadays most back to back houses in Leeds have central heating.

On the first floor you will normally find a double bedroom with a sizeable bathroom complete with bath, shower, basin and toilet. Most back to back houses in Leeds have a second floor or an attic room which provides further bedroom space.

These back to back houses in Leeds are always in demand as rental properties with a variety of tenants such as housing benefit recipients, workers, professionals and students accommodating them.
In places such as Kirkstall and Burley the larger back to back houses have been converted into HMO, multiple occupancy houses to serve the growing demand for professional and student renters. A number of landlords in Leeds have converted the basements into extra living space in order to increase rental income and to provide bigger accommodation.

The main issues surrounding back to back houses in Leeds I see is that because they were built a number of years ago and the thinking at that time was to provide low cost housing the quality of build is not the best in can be. What I mean by this is that the external walls are normally single skin which makes the back to back houses in Leeds not very energy efficient.

If you are thinking about buying a back to back house in Leeds make sure you check for both rising and condensation damp. Both these issues can be overcome relatively cheaply through air vents and whole house air circulation systems.

Another note regarding fire safety, Leeds City Council encourage all owners of back to back houses in Leeds to install hardwired smoke detectors mainly because the only escape route is down the stairs through the lounge area. If you want more information about what type of smoke detectors to fit inside a back to back house in Leeds then please get in touch.

Overall be careful when you are buying a back to back house in Leeds. Make sure you buy the right house, in the right location at the right price.

If you are looking at buying a back to back house in Leeds as an investment then please get in touch – I am happy to give you any advice you need.

How to make money from property

How to make money from property?

This is an interesting question and is one that I get asked quite a lot. For this reason I thought I would give you my opinion on how to make money from property.

First of all, you do not need to be a rocket scientist to become a successful property investor or developer, what you do need though is an understanding of the property market you are entering, have finance options set up, contacts and a professional team around you and more importantly a can-do attitude.

Let’s presume you have these attributes and you are now ready to start investing. The most important part of investing in property is to buy at the right price. Nothing is more important than this as buying a property at the right price will reduce your risk and give you the best opportunity to make money from property.

There are number of ways of making money from property but the main two ways are either through rental income – cashflow or through capital appreciation which comes from buying at a low price and selling for a higher price. Of course in some areas of the UK such as the South East you can buy properties at one price and a short while later they are worth more because of appreciating market conditions.

If you are looking to make quick capital appreciation then I would look to buy ‘down south’ or around the London area as these areas historically rise because of supply and demand. Beware though because of the worldwide financial turmoil this is never guaranteed.

So what happens if you live outside the South East or around London, how can you make money from property?

As I said before the first way you could make money from property is to buy a property at a reduced price and then resell at a higher price. You do this by finding what we call motivated sellers. These sellers are looking to sell their property quickly for reasons such as divorce, separation, debt problems, probate or if they are simply looking to move away or move on with their lives.

There are many opportunities to buy properties less than the market value through Estate Agents, Auctions, Bank Repossessions and even directly through vendors themselves.

There are a number of property buying businesses out there who spend their entire time looking for motivated sellers as they know that because the seller must sell quickly they are likely to be able to negotiate a good discount.

This method is the easiest way of making money from property. Find a motivated seller buy for £100k and then resell on the open market or through an auction for £120K sometimes without doing anything to the property!

These deals are there but are getting harder to find especially now the housing market is improving. You will find it difficult to find motivated sellers around the South East as more people are looking to buy which means that if someone is motivated to sell then they can sell quickly in the normal way and without having to give a large discount.

So how can you make money out of property if you are unable to find a motivated seller? How can you make money from property if you want to invest in the North of England where property prices are rising much more slowly than properties in the South East?

If you are looking to buy a property as a long term investment and you keep hold of it for a number of years you will make money on capital appreciation subject to market conditions. You can also make money by taking rental income from the property each month.

For instance, if you bought a two bedroom house in a cheaper end of town for £65k you could obtain a rental income of £5000 per year. If you bought this house outright in cash then in 13 years you will have got your money back minus on-going costs. From then on as long as you look after the property you will receive rental profit each month while at the same the house may have risen in value to £90K plus. If you had 10 of these then that will be very nice cashflow and capital appreciation!!

Building a portfolio over the long term is my preferred way of making money out of property. It also gives you the opportunity to receive an on-going income even if you don’t go out to work! Even if you don’t have lots of money you can borrow through banks, organisation and private individuals you can create a property portfolio.

You can make money from property by creating value from a property. What I mean by this is that you find a property that you can alter or that you can gain planning consent for changing its use.

I have done this personally. In 2007 I purchased a number of redundant guest houses and hotels on the Yorkshire coast. Holiday makers do not go on long holidays to the coast as much as they did so these types of properties no longer work as holiday accommodation. The properties I bought were old victorian buildings that had 3-4 floors in each of them.

Through tough negotiations I managed to purchase these properties for a discount as the sellers were motivated to sell!!!!

Once purchased my architect and planning consultant went ahead and applied to the local council for planning permission to change the use from holiday accommodation to permanent residential units.
This process does take time so if you go down this route you must ensure you have enough funds to cover your finance costs and mortgage payments.

Upon receiving planning permission I then instructed my builders to follow the plans laid out by my architect and to start converting the property into three flats. If you have had any experience of dealing with builders and contractors you will know it is difficult and you have to keep your eye on them all the time!!

A number of years ago you could just put up dividing doors and walls and create flats quickly and easily. Not anymore, building regulations stipulate that the flats must be fireproofed, soundproofed and are energy efficient. This means that the cost to undertake the building work is higher than what it was. You must make sure your figures stack up.

In addition if you are creating more units out of one property and are thinking of selling them on in the future you will have to pay for individual utilities to each of the units. Ladies and gentlemen this is not cheap!

Building control from the local council will sign off the completed conversion at which time you can then create new individual leases for each of the units. By doing this you will if you have done your figures correctly find that the value of the property will have increased considerably. You can then sell off all the flats and make money from property or you could keep them and take the rental cashflow each month.

Another way you can make money from property is if you buy a property at the right price, refurbish the property maybe by adding extra or bigger rooms or by building an extension and then selling it on for a profit. For example a three bedroom house in a poor condition, you buy it for £110k spend another £30k refurbishing the house and then you sell it on for £160-£170K.

What is very important here is that you must ensure you do not go over your budget when refurbishing the property while at the same time you must know what the realistic selling price is once you have finished the project. You want to be looking at a net profit of 15-20% on the money spent.

A number of people I know buy pubs, offices, old industrial units located on brown field sites. What they do is then change the use by applying for planning consent to turn them into flats or smaller commercial units or even by building extra units on the surrounding area.

You can make money from property by increasing the square footage of properties. You do this by converting basements or attics into residential or commercial space. The more square footage the property has then normally the value will increase.

Shops these days are closing down especially in secondary positions so you can make money from property by changing the building into flats or you can leave the shop as it is and convert other areas of the property into residential space or if you prefer commercial space.

Land itself is a good way of making money from property. You can buy a piece of land apply for planning permission to build a property then either sell on without building it to a developer or you can build it yourself and then sell on for a profit.

These are just some of the ways you can make money out of property. If you would like to chat through your ideas on ways of making money from property then please feel free to get in touch.

For more information about investing property please contact me.

Second homes plan for former Leeds school

SECOND HOMES PLAN FOR FORMER SCHOOL

Leeds Planning Chiefs who met on September 4th 2014, considered a second proposal for the re development of the former Upper Wortley County Primary School, which is listed and dates back to 1876.

The proposal consisted of a plan to develop the main school building into 13 new homes, and for other buildings on the site to be demolished and replaced by 36 new homes.

Planning permission had been previously granted in 2008, when plans were submitted for 24 flats in the main building and 47 further new homes on the remainder of the site. This proposal was later withdrawn.
A decision was made by the panel on 4th September to defer and delegate to the Chief Planning Officer.

For more information about investing in Leeds please contact me.

Plans revealed for the old Yorkshire Post site in Leeds

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PLANS REVEALED FOR OLD YOURSHIRE POST SITE

A building which was previously owned by Yorkshire Post and used as their Head Quarters until they vacated the site in 2013, has been demolished to make way for a sizeable mixed use scheme.

Plans have been revealed, which illustrate the owners aspiration to develop four buildings on the corner of Wellington Street. The proposal is to accommodate 400,000 sq ft office space adjacent to a sixteen storey apartment hub. The apartments would be a mix of approximately 200 one and two bed units intended for the private rental market in preference to re sale. The roof space would provide amenity space for the residents.

The project is cleverly designed, to keep the residential accommodation away from the main road frontage, to prevent road traffic noise and air quality problems.

Interlinked hard and soft landscaped areas are proposed, with the soft area forming a triangular space fronting the river.

For more information about investing in Leeds please contact me.

Bargain property sold at a Leeds property auction

Abbey Avenue Leeds

I noticed this property for sale on Abbey Avenue in Kirkstall which is located on the border of Kirkstall and Bramley in Leeds.

It is a large four bedroom semi detached house on a quiet residential street with easy access in and out of Leeds City Centre.

The house I believe was put up for sale as part of a deceased estate which was entered into the Eddisons Leeds property auction this month.

I was intrigued to find out more about this property so I popped around to have a snoop about. When I arrived at the property the next door neighbour was trimming his plants so I went over and had a chat with him. He told me that he had been living next door since 1972 and the 80 year old lady who lived in the property which was for sale was born in the house and never moved.

Abbey Avenue Leeds

I looked through the windows and saw that the fixtures and fittings had not changed in her lifetime as the original features clearly stood out. The whole house looked in a similar state and in fact it looked like a scene from Downton Abbey!!

I walked around the back of the property to look at the garden to find to my surprise a huge garden. The neighbour told me that there were two brothers who once owned one half of the house and one that owned the other half. One of the brothers decided he only wanted a small garden so he gave his brother 75% of the garden. As you see from the images this garden is huge and has potential to be developed in some way.

Garden Abbey Avenue

This house went to Leeds property auction and was sold for £130,000. In my opinion someone has got a bargain here! I do hope though whoever bought it keeps the original features as it would be a shame to lose them.

For more information about investing in Leeds please contact me.

Haunted house in Leeds sold at auction

Haunted House in Leeds

Haunted House in Leeds

Do you believe in haunted houses?

I don’t really but after going to view this property for a client I might have to change my mind!!

The house is a large semi detached property located on Heathfield Terrace in Headingley close to the Cottage Cinema and is in a great location for access in and out of central Headingley where all the action takes place.

The house itself has land surrounding it and has enormous development potential for a full refurbishment, extensions or even has the potential to split into flats or small housing.

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It appears that this property has stood empty for a number of years as all the windows are boarded up or broken. Unfortunately I have not had the chance to look inside, having said that it looks really spooky so I am not sure that I would want to anyway!!

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The property sold through Auction House in their October auction for £247,000 from a guide price of £195,000 to £215,000.

For more information about investing in Leeds please contact me.

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About Andy

I’m an experienced Leeds-based property buyer and investor – and, over the years, I’ve built up a substantial investment portfolio both for myself and for my clients.
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