1. Please introduce yourself. Say a bit about yourself and your company
I’m Alison Persson, a property consultant working for my own business called “The Home You Want”. I work with clients to help them get their property ready to sell or let out, find clients their new home or investment property and project manage clients’ home improvements.
2. How did you first become involved in property?
My Dad was a structural engineer and he used to bring old drawings home so my sister and I could use the back to draw on. From the age of five I remember learning about different roof structures and on walks would discuss the merits of different styles of windows or the need to repair the guttering on properties and much more!
This obsession continued and in 1988 I was able to buy my first property with my partner. Living in properties and doing them up became a way of life. We purchased our first buy-to-let in 2000 and have build up a successful portfolio.
3. What do you think is your greatest achievement so far?
Greatest achievement is being able to share with others the property and investment knowledge I have gained.
4. Do you or your company have any exciting plans for the future?
Exploring social media for a new business development.
5. What do you think are the greatest problems facing the private rented sector today?
Over the next year, tenants losing their jobs and not being able to pay their rent and benefits not covering the rent, will be a real issue for some landlords. However there is good news for private landlords with rents shooting up in certain parts of the UK.
In Surrey and London it is common for potential tenants to go to sealed bids to determine the rent and who gets the property. Investors though need to take care as rents go down as well as up and any mortgage taken out against an investment property should be based on lowest rental income for the type of property in the last two years.
If investor takes out a mortgage based on high rents, then the landlord could have problems when s/he come to remortgage and the rents are back to more sensible levels. In two to three years time could see landlords being forced to sell properties if they have taken out mortgage based on current high levels with resulting problems for tenants.
6. What do you think are the greatest opportunities?
Established landlord investors can still get mortgages and take advantage of the current mortgage difficulty that others face. There will be “bargain” or “distress sales” coming to the market that can be purchased at a lower than average price. There seems to be a long-term need for more rental properties which is good for those who are landlords.
7. We have a new government. What would you like them to do for the private rented sector?
I would like to make two requests to the government. Firstly the government to ensure that landlords with tenants on benefits are paid directly, instead of the payment going straight to the tenants. This would encourage private landlords to stick with the benefit market especially where there are guaranteed rental agreements in place for two years.
Secondly do not force private landlords to make green changes to their property. Idea is good but have grave concerns about how this might be enforced and feels like another tax ahead.
8. Do you use social media (blogs, twitter, LinkedIn etc)? What place do you think it has in the future of the property industry?
I use twitter, blogs, and LinkedIn and now consider social media as essential as having a mobile phone and having access to email. Social media will become the norm for sourcing and selling or renting out properties. Buyers and sellers and tenants are now more informed and this will continue.
We now expect information to be instant and to get a quick response to our needs. Property businesses with traditional based offices will need to find a new benefit to justify why an individual should use their services. Businesses using social media are now becoming the leaders in their field and this is happening in the property world.
9. What is the most important lesson you have learned during your time in property?
Pick up local knowledge and do not leave all the homework to others when purchasing a property. Walk the area where you are considering purchasing a property. Remember to visit the area at different times of day and different days of the week to get a proper feel of the area. Chat to as many people as possible including local estate agents, letting agents, locals in cafés, pubs, shops, library, etc. Ask them where they would like to live or rent in “this town” and why. Check out facts for yourself. Due diligence is essential.
10. What advice would you have to someone thinking of entering the property industry today?
Ask yourself what life changes do you expect in the next five years and how will this impact on you, especially on your finances. Property is a long term investment of a minimum of ten years so do not use your savings as a deposit if you know you are likely to need the money in the near future for something else.
Be realistic about what you can afford and know why you are buying a particular property. Seriously consider why you are buying in an area and why you are purchasing a particular property. Buy the type of property your tenants want, not the property you would like to live in.
Thanks Alison, all good points.
To find out more about Alison, visit here website The Home you Want.