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Moving home with your family is a momentous time, especially when it involves changing schools. And although it can be challenging for everyone, it can also be an exciting new chapter.

Nonetheless, whether it’s switching from primary to secondary, not liking a current school, or changing location for work or more space, there’s plenty to think about, including:

  • securing a place at your preferred school
  • preparing and supporting your children
  • getting your timing right
  • packing up and moving in 
  • settling into your new neighbourhood

Managing all of that is no mean feat!

Selling and buying a property usually takes between 4 and 6 months, which makes spring the time to get your home on the market for a move in the summer holidays before the new school year.

So let’s explore how you can coordinate selling your home, finding a new one, and changing schools to make the whole process a smooth and swift success.


You’ve probably already got your child a place if they’re starting a new school this September, but if they’re going to a new school next year, it’s time to start planning to meet the application deadlines.

  • As well as getting recommendations from other parents and teachers at your child’s current school, ask local estate agents as they or their clients may have children in local schools.
  • Check out local school websites, league tables, Ofsted ratings and inspection reports to narrow your search to the best options.
  • Contact each school on your shortlist to confirm the availability of places and any catchment area restrictions, then visit them with your children so they can ask any questions.
  • Application deadlines differ slightly between England, Scotland and Wales, but count on January of the same year for primary school, and October/November of the previous year for secondary school. The most popular schools will be oversubscribed and have waiting lists, so get in early!
  • You can still apply after the deadlines and make in-year applications because local authorities are obliged to find every child a place, but it may not be at your preferred school.
  • Catchment areas make getting a place tricky if you don’t live there yet, so it’s never too early to plan, even if your children are a few years away from changing schools.

Finally, don’t forget how your children will get to school. Whether you’re driving them or they’re making their own way, research routes and probable journey times by car, cycle, public transport and walking to make sure it’s a practical choice.


Moving to a new home and changing schools can challenge even the most resilient children, and worrying about how they’ll cope and settle into their new environment is natural. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to help them feel more comfortable and confident.

  • Involve them in the family move by helping them pack their belongings and asking how they’d like to decorate their new bedroom.
  • Encourage questions and be honest and open about why you’re moving and what to expect.
  • Talk about the places to visit in your new neighbourhood by looking at pictures online, playing with Google Earth, and making plans to visit somewhere fun.
  • Help your children keep in touch with their old friends and arrange playdates – thanks to technology, staying connected is easier than ever.

With the right support and preparation, you’ll find that children can quickly thrive in their new school and neighbourhood, making new friends and discovering new interests.


Obviously, the least disruptive time to move your children from one school to another is during the summer holiday, but when should you get started? Well…

  • March and April are the perfect months to get your home on the market to have enough time to secure a buyer, find a new home and complete the legal process without stressing about dates.
  • Get valuations from two or three local estate agents so you can work out your budget for your next home, then get ready to sell with the tips in our Spring Viewings blog.
  • Use our Smooth Moves guide to pick the best estate agent and strip out potential delays, then hit the market asap to catch the spring activity.
  • Contact agents in the area you want to move to and cultivate relationships to be first in line when suitable homes come up for sale.
  • Confirm the last day of term and first day back with schools to know your moving window well in advance.

By following these steps and allowing enough time for the selling and buying process, you can confidently navigate your family’s move without interrupting school.


Moving house can test your logistical skills in more ways than one, even more so with children and a change of school involved. How you pack and unpack can make all the difference, and we recommend the mantra of ‘start early and start small’. So try these handy tips while enjoying an uplifting playlist.

  • Start the packing process early so you can declutter, put away anything you don’t need right now, and remove the time-panic later.
  • Pack by room wherever you can and use smaller boxes – they’re easier to hide while your home is on the market, they’re lighter to carry, and they make loading more efficient.
  • Once you’re in your new place, prioritise unpacking the things that will make your children comfortable, including their bedrooms, clothing, toys and TV.
  • Aim to flop on the couch as a family with a takeaway treat the night you move in, so your children feel that life is just as it should be.

Finally, and because it’s the most popular time of year for families to move home, contact a few removal companies now to see how much notice they generally need for bookings in the summer holidays. 


One of the most exciting things about moving home is exploring your new neighbourhood and finding all the best places to go. We all love adventures, so why not treat your move as an exciting opportunity for your family to discover what’s on your new doorstep?

  • Take a walk, cycle or drive around the area to get your bearings and see how your new home fits into the neighbourhood, including local parks, playgrounds and woodland.
  • Pound the high street for local gems like quirky vintage boutiques, independent bookstores, or cool coffee shops, along with hair salons, barbers and pubs – remember to stop for treats like hot chocolate, ice cream or pizza.
  • Check out community noticeboards and social media for upcoming events, activities and local groups to meet new people with similar interests and hobbies.
  • Research local services such as doctors, dentists, gyms, yoga studios and anything else around health and wellness.
  • Save the places you like the look of in Google Maps, so you can pull them up whenever you want without having to remember where they all were.

By exploring your surroundings, meeting new people and immersing yourself in your new community, you’ll soon become part of your new neighbourhood and feel right at home.

Are you looking to move before the new school year starts?

Then we need to talk! If you own a property in Leeds, we’d love to show you how we can sell your home and help you make your family move a smooth and pleasant experience.

Call us on 0113 460 2416 or drop us a line at to arrange a time to meet and get your plans underway.

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Although rents are going through the roof, yields are getting higher, and there’s massive demand from tenants, many landlords are selling their rental homes. For some, it’s part of their long-term plan, but for others, it’s a reaction against changing rules and taxes.

Even so, not every landlord who’s selling up is getting out. Some are using the climate of stalling house prices, rocketing rents and levelling-up proposals to reset their buy-to-let business for the future. 

But what about you?

Are you hanging up your landlord hat for good? Swapping an older home for an energy-efficient modern one? Or converting to a company for tax advantages and easier inheritance planning?

Whatever your reasons, there’s plenty to think about before taking the plunge:


  • Is selling the best move for you?
  • How much is your property worth? 
  • What are the costs and tax implications of selling? 
  • When should you tell your tenant? 
  • Should you sell to another landlord, or will a homeowner pay more?


That’s a lot to unpack, and our handy guide is full of answers. So let’s explore whether selling your rental home would be a costly mistake, or the best thing you can do.


Unless you’re selling your rental property as part of a long-term plan (perhaps you’re retiring and want to release funds), it’s worth a quick game of devil’s advocate. If you’re selling up because of changes in lettings law, interest rates or tax policy, consider the following factors first:

  • The landlord exodus has exacerbated the shortage of rental homes and caused rents to rise, increasing the yields for landlords who stay.
  • House prices have stalled, and now may not be the most profitable time to sell. In fact, many landlords are taking the opportunity to nab themselves a buy-to-let bargain.
  • As part of Government proposals for a minimum EPC rating of C for every rental home, landlords may be offered financial incentives to lower the cost of upgrades.

So while your heart might tell you to sell, it makes sound financial sense to decide with your head. By digging a little deeper, you’ll reach the right decision for your business and future.



As well as estate agents and legal fees, you’ll need to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on the profit when you sell your rental property (unless you own it as a company and leave the funds in the business). So before you jump in, work out how much selling up will cost you.

  • Some landlords have decided to swallow the Capital Gains Tax bill, but if you’re planning to reinvest, think about whether you’ll recoup the amount you pay.
  • When working out your CGT, you can take off all the costs of selling AND buying the property, like stamp duty, surveyors, conveyancing and estate agency commission.
  • You can also claim back the cost of any improvements that didn’t qualify as allowable expenses in your regular tax return.
  • You get a personal tax-free CGT allowance of £12,300 per year, and for jointly-owned properties, every owner can use their allowance on the same sale.
  • If you’re selling more than one rental property, you could be better off spreading the sales over different tax years to use your annual CGT allowance each time.

Given that selling up can run into tens of thousands of pounds, it’s essential to have a crystal clear picture of all the costs involved to avoid nasty surprises and later regrets.


Legally speaking, you can sell your rental property to another investor without saying anything to your tenant at all. The tenancy simply continues, and it’s up to the new landlord to serve notice about the change of ownership.

However, the reality is that most home buyers and investors want to view before making an offer, which means you’ll need to arrange access with your tenant. So here are some things you need to know:

  • The tenancy agreement should have a provision for allowing viewings during a notice period, so if your tenant is already leaving, all you have to do is agree on when viewings can happen. 
  • Otherwise, given that tenants don’t have to allow viewings before giving or receiving notice, it pays to keep them in the loop out of courtesy for easier access and marketing.
  • Tell your tenant that you’re open to selling to another landlord, so they won’t necessarily have to move out.
  • You can also settle your tenant’s nerves by reminding them that sales usually take a good few months to go through, and that you won’t serve notice until you’ve exchanged contracts.

Get this right, and you should be able to avoid holding an empty property without a buyer, while keeping your rental income flowing until you complete the sale.


A major factor in deciding whether or not to sell your rental home will be how much it’s worth. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need to disturb your tenant just yet, as there’s more than one way to get an idea of the current value before asking estate agents to visit.

  • First, check online sites like Rightmove and Zoopla for recent nearby sales of similar homes to get a general idea of what buyers are paying.
  • Next, speak to local agents for a more informed estimate and their thoughts on the current market for a property like yours – they may even have an investor waiting in the wings!
  • Finally, if the figures are promising, arrange a suitable time with your tenant for estate agents to visit for a precise valuation and asking price.

If you do get estate agents to visit, ask them to let you know if you can do anything to improve the value or saleability of your property. There may be some things you can do that increase your chances of selling and how much you achieve without inconveniencing your tenants.


If you sell your rental property to a homebuyer, you’ll need to line up the notice period with exchanging contracts, the completion date and the concerns of the buyer’s solicitor. That’s ok, but we’d suggest exploring other options first.

  • Start by seeing if your tenants would like to buy your property – it’s potentially the smoothest possible outcome and a great way of making them feel valued, whether or not they go ahead.
  • If your tenants say no, ask your existing or other nearby letting agents if they have any landlords looking to buy (but check first that your deposit protection and safety certificates are valid).
  • For selling on the open market, use an estate agent who handles both sales and lettings to widen your market of homebuyers and landlords.

In terms of who’ll pay more, there’s no definitive answer because so much depends on the makeup of a property. As an example, fire doors and lobbies mean more costs for homebuyers to remove them, but they could be a convenient time-saver for landlords. So ask agents for advice.

What’s your next step?

If you own a rental property in Leeds that you’d like to sell or make more profitable, we’re here to help.

To find out if one of our landlords wants to buy your investment, or how you can increase your yield, call us on 0113 460 2416 or drop us a line at for a chat with our team.

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Spring has been the most popular season to buy and sell a home for as long as we can remember, and with good reason.

Plans are often hatched around the beginning of the year, and as the weather warms up and nature bursts into bloom, those plans swing into action.

Perhaps you want to move your family in time for the new school year to minimise disruption to your children. Or maybe you just love the idea of being in your next home by summer.

Whether it’s more space, a bigger garden, somewhere with room for an office or even downsizing, spring inspires many a move, with sellers and buyers coming out of hibernation.

Of course, as more homes come up for sale, the competition to secure a buyer gets stiffer. So with spring just around the corner, now is the time to prepare your home to stand out in the new season.

With that in mind, our blog this week is packed with tips for successful spring viewings to give your home the edge, and find a buyer fast.


Everything bounces back to life in the spring, and you can embrace that feeling in your viewings with some simple planting to fill the air with freshness and connect with nature. Every buyer notices how a home smells, so why not give their senses a treat?


  • Classic spring flowers include tulips, pansies, crocuses, hyacinths, alliums and, of course, daffodils, and they all look great either indoors or out.
  • Outside, and whether or not you’ve got flower beds, use boxes, pots, and baskets to add instant seasonal life and colour to your windows, porch and garden doors. You can even get them ready-planted if you’re short on time or talent!
  • Inside, fill a vase or two with a bunch of spring blooms for the dining table or kitchen worktop, and choose single, short-cut stems for classic bedside styling.

Plants are such an easy and natural way to add beauty to your home with an extra inviting touch that’s always in season and appeals to everyone.


To shake off the last remnants of winter, nothing beats a deep and rejuvenating spring clean and brush-up. As well as finally vacuuming behind the sofa and dusting the backs of cupboards, turn your attention to these essential areas:


  • At the front of your home, tidy the garden, jet wash any winter moss off pathways, and clean the paintwork on your front door and window frames, repainting where necessary.
  • Look up at your roof for any slipped or missing tiles, and check if the gutters are blocked with leaves or mulch.
  • Banish dowdy decor inside with a fresh coat of paint – seasonal colours include sage and pistachio greens, cool lilacs, powder blue, and rose.
  • Declutter by selling, donating or chucking anything you’re not keeping when you move, then clear the floors to make your rooms feel bigger and neatly file away any lingering paperwork.
  • Don’t depersonalise! Character sells homes, and beautifully arranged shelves and bookcases look homely and welcoming for photos and viewings.

If you’re unsure what to keep on show and what to put away, ask your agent for advice. As an example, if you’ve got a gorgeous Dualit toaster or Kitchenaid, don’t cramp their style with a month’s worth of post.


Selling your home in spring means later sunsets and more evening viewings when it’s light, which helps buyers to make their decision faster. Here’s how you can make it even easier for them.


  • Fling the curtains open as wide as possible to expose more glass and maximise the levels of natural light.
  • Clean your windows for sparkling panes inside and out, then watch as the light instantly improves.
  • Polish your mirrors, glass surfaces, ceramics and any reflective accessories to bounce the light around your rooms. Don’t forget metal switches, sockets and door handles – it all counts!
  • Check your rooms at sunset to see whether any need the lights on and if any corners could do with a lift from floor or table lamps. Swap any cold white bulbs with soft-tone replacements.

Along with floor space, natural light is right at the top of the list for most buyers, and they’ll notice if your home feels darker indoors than outside. So it really pays to reflect and amplify as much natural light as possible to make the most of what you’ve got.


We wrote a whole blog on 2023’s interior design trends at the beginning of the year, but here are some quick tips for a swift booster of stylish spring moments that you can take with you when you move.


  • Check your favourite stores for their spring collections of cushions, bedding, throws, towels and rugs for a cost-effective update of soft and touchy textiles.
  • Introduce organic forms and opulent materials, from glass bubble lighting and sculptural ceiling pendants to brass and marble finishes for accessories and occasional furniture – think mirrors, side tables, pot stands and trays.
  • Use botanical art to transform plain bare walls into gorgeous hanging gardens with a dash of biophilic design – bring the outside in, with no need for watering!

With just a weekend of your time and a fairly small investment, you can not only evoke the upbeat feeling of spring, but also give potential buyers a fresh and on-trend viewing experience that keeps your home at the front of their minds.


The culmination of all your preparation for spring viewings, and the key to getting the best enquiries, is the photo shoot. Homes are really photogenic at this time of year, and here’s where the right staging with the right photographer taking the right combination of photos becomes invaluable.


  • Ask agents whether they use professional photography, and check their listings to see if you’re inspired. Some giveaways of poor-quality photos are wonky pictures where walls and horizons aren’t straight, cameras pointing at the floor, and insufficient or uneven lighting.
  • The day (or morning) before the photo shoot, pick up some fresh-cut spring flowers from the florist (and not the petrol station) for a vase or two that you can move around for different shots, and some fresh herbs for the kitchen.
  • As well as whole-room photos, ask the photographer to take some close-up vignettes of your furnishings and accessories that reflect the spring for some alluring magazine-style marketing.

How’s your home looking for spring viewings?

First and lasting impressions count, so if you’re thinking of selling your home in Leeds, we’d love to show you how we can help you sell for the best price – and fast – with perfect preparation for spring viewings.

Call us on 0113 460 2416 or drop us a line at for a chat with our team – we can’t wait to spring into action and get your move started!

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How many tax allowances do you think you can claim from owning a rental property? The truth might pleasantly surprise you.

Being a landlord is a business, but from our experience, not every landlord knows what they’re entitled to.
As well as the obvious costs like mortgages and maintenance, there are many smaller expenses that can soon add up and make a real difference to your bottom line.

Believe it or not, HMRC wants you to claim and even accepts digital copies of receipts to make it easier. Simply take photos of your paper receipts and put them in a folder on your phone, then keep any digital receipts in an email folder. This streamlines the job of retrieving them later on.

So, just what can you claim? Well, there are five main areas of allowable expenses, and we cover them all in this week’s blog. We’ll guide you through everything you can claim so that, instead of leaving wasted money on the table, you keep more in your pocket.


Keeping your property up-to-date and in good condition is how to attract and retain the best tenants. But more than that, looking after your investment is highly tax-efficient with plenty of expenses you can claim back, including:

  • Repairs and replacements to the property structure and exterior, such as the roof, windows and walls, together with permanent interior fixtures like sinks, toilets and radiators.
  • Decorating costs, including paint, wallpaper, flooring and contractors.
  • Buying and replacing furniture, curtains and blinds.
  • General upkeep and maintenance, such as gardeners and cleaners.
  • Safety checks for gas, electricity and smoke alarms.

Any expenses you claim must be for maintaining and repairing your property, rather than updating it. Improvements are only tax deductible when they are incidental to a repair, like swapping a broken single-glazed window for a double-glazed unit, or replacing worn-out old-fashioned appliances.


Adequate insurance cover is essential to protect your investment property against any unexpected damage or loss. Every landlord should have the following five types of cover: some are included in other policies, and all are allowable expenses.

  • Building insurance protects your property against damage from fire, storms, floods and leaks, with cover for the structure and exterior as well as permanent interior fixtures such as bathroom fittings, kitchen units, and wall tiles
  • Contents insurance is essential, even for unfurnished properties. It covers appliances, floor coverings, curtains, blinds, and other fixtures, fittings and furnishings in case of damage or loss caused by your tenants or intruders.
  • Liability insurance protects you if a tenant takes legal action against you for injuries or damages caused by your property. The cost is usually just a few pounds per month, but check your Landlord’s Contents policy to see if you’re already covered.
  • Rent protection guarantee insurance covers you if your tenants stop paying the rent, and the insurance company will also help you regain possession of your property.

Insurance might feel unnecessary, but it provides peace of mind and cover for when the unexpected hits, which it will do at some point. Ask an independent insurance broker to scour the market for the best deal, and then remember to claim back all the costs on your tax return!


There’s a surprising amount of allowable expenses for the general running of your rental property. These costs can really add up over time, and you’re entitled to claim back all of the following:

  • Direct costs like advertising for new tenants, phone calls, and stationery you use to run your rental property.
  • Water rates, council tax, gas and electricity for either void periods or if you include them in the rent.
  • Travel expenses such as petrol or public transport costs from visiting your rental property, buying goods and managing contractors.
  • HMO License fee for Houses in Multiple Occupation.
  • Ground rents, service charges and any residents association or management fees.

These expenses must be wholly and exclusively related to your rental property. If part of the expense is for something else, you need to apportion the cost. As an example, if you drove to IKEA and bought a light fitting for your rental property and another for your home, you could claim 50% of what you spend on petrol.


There are various services that make it simpler, easier and far less time-consuming to get the most out of your rental property. The good news is that the costs of all the following industry professionals are fully tax deductible.

  • Inventory clerks create comprehensive lists of all the items in your rental property to prove its condition at the start and end of a tenancy in case of a dispute.
  • Accountants help you track your rental income and expenses, handle your tax return and stay on top of changes to allowances to ensure you claim what’s yours.
  • Managing agents oversee the day-to-day of your rental property, and we handle rent collection, repairs, maintenance, tenant relations, safety checks, periodic inspections and emergencies.
  • Letting agents find the right tenants for your property. We look after all the advertising, photos, viewings, referencing, and creating the tenancy agreement.
  • Credit check agencies investigate a tenant’s credit history and assess their financial situation and ability to pay the rent.
  • Solicitors help you regain possession of your property in case you need to evict your tenants.

While every landlord should maximise their tax efficiency and profits, remember that a truly passive income comes from valuing your time as much as the rent you receive. The more time you have, the more you can live a life you love.


The way landlords can deduct their mortgage payments from their taxable income has changed relatively recently, so here’s an outline of what you can claim, along with a useful loophole.

  • From April 2020, the amount you can deduct from your taxable income is fixed at 20% of the mortgage interest. The remainder of the interest and capital repayments are no longer allowable expenses.
  • Lower-rate taxpayers were unaffected by the change, but you’ll now pay more if you’re in a higher tax band, either through existing earnings or by the new allowance increasing your taxable income.
  • The change only affects individual landlords and doesn’t apply to limited companies, who can still deduct their entire mortgage interest. Useful if you’re looking to expand your portfolio.

These changes make it all the more important to stay on top of available mortgage deals in case you have a fixed rate coming to an end. By staying one step ahead, you can seamlessly switch to a new deal without moving to a more expensive variable rate.

Are you claiming all your allowable expenses?

If you’re a landlord in Leeds, we’d love to help you improve the performance and profit of your rental property. Whether you’re looking to attract high-earning professionals, maximise your income or claim back everything you can, it’s what we do all day.

Call us on 0113 460 2416 or email us at for a friendly chat with one of our team.

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Of all the reasons for moving home, downsizing can be the most overwhelming. It doesn’t matter if your home has become unmanageable or even if you know that moving to a smaller space will improve your life: just thinking about it can be incredibly daunting.

A lot comes down to the fear of leaving memories behind and giving away treasured possessions that have been part of your life for a long time. If you’ve lived somewhere for decades, raised a family there or have wonderful neighbours, saying goodbye might feel like a wrench.

At the same time, downsizing can open up new friendships and interests, produce substantial savings in running costs, and help you feel freer, more alive and less stuck. But how do you go from putting off the decision to getting things going without an anxiety attack? Well, you need a vision, and a plan.

So whether you’re retiring, relocating or having a reboot, our blog this week takes you through the steps to stress-free downsizing and finding the perfect new home.


A fantastic way to start clearing the fog around downsizing is to form a clear image in your mind of the life you could live if you downsize. By focusing on the positive future that awaits, you’ll make the transition to a smaller home more enjoyable and less stressful.

  • First, picture your new home. Do you see a cosy cottage, a pretty bungalow, or a modern apartment with a porter? Is it time to swap a period home for a new one with guarantees? Do you still want a good size garden, or do you dream of a maintenance-free balcony with a view?
  • Next, picture your new neighbourhood. Think about discovering new parks, walks, shops, cafes and whatever else makes you feel like you belong.
  • Lastly, picture your new lifestyle. Are there any hobbies you want to continue, or some new activities you’d like to explore? What gives you a sense of excitement and anticipation for the future?

The first hurdle for many people is seeing beyond where they are now, but having an inspiring vision of your ideal life could provide all the motivation you need to start making your future a reality.


Are you holding off downsizing because you’re unhappy about paying Stamp Duty again? You’re definitely not alone, but when you’re doing the maths for moving, don’t forget the financial benefits of a smaller home, because it doesn’t take long for the ongoing savings to eclipse the initial costs. 

Make sure you include the following in your sums:

  • Council tax

In most areas, moving from a Band G home to Band C would slash your annual bill by almost 50%, freeing up funds that you can redirect towards other expenses or to your savings.

  • Utility bills

According to Usave, the average gas & electricity bill for a five-bedroom house in 2022 was £3,483, which drops to £2,252 for a two-bedroom home. With April’s upcoming price hike, this annual saving of £1,231 is set to rise to £1,477.

  • Maintenance and repairs

Smaller homes are simpler to care for, cheaper to insure, easier to decorate and much quicker to clean – not a bad combination!

Finally, and possibly even more attractive than the cost savings and conveniences, downsizing can open up funds to start transferring some of your children’s inheritance to them early. As well as lowering their eventual tax bill, you can give them a more financially secure future, and extra opportunities today.


Saying goodbye to the years of happy memories and beautiful things you’ve accumulated can feel impossibly overwhelming, but there are some strategies to relieve the pressure and help you identify the things that matter most to you.

  • Begin by clearing the rooms you’re no longer using, as you’re likely to find things you’ve either forgotten about or don’t want to keep. Start now, and with easy one-hour sessions.
  • For children’s toys and keepsakes, think about whether they’re destined to be on display, or for life in a dusty suitcase. If they’re moving from loft to loft, maybe it’s time to let them go.
  • You won’t be able to take all your furniture with you, so take a realistic view. If there’s anything you haven’t sat on, slept in or used for a year, you’ve already been living without it.
  • Take photos of your current home and any items you might miss, then create a physical or digital album to revisit moments and memories whenever you want.
  • For any belongings you can’t decide whether to keep or let go, rent a small storage unit near your new home for one or two months to see how long you keep thinking about them.

Although it can be tricky to start, it gets easier as you realise how many things you never use or see. Most people experience a tipping point where a future that’s free of forgotten or unused belongings begins to outshine the fear of letting them go.


If you’re making your last move, you’ll never have to worry again about the possible tastes of future buyers. As soon as you pick up the keys, the only person you’ll need to please is yourself.

  • If you love being surrounded by your favourite things and photos, you can fill your shelves and window ledges with whatever you’ve collected over the years. You don’t need to become a hardcore minimalist; downsizing is about keeping your most cherished things around you.
  • There’s no need to follow and adopt any of the latest interior design trends – you can decorate exactly as you want, to your taste. Whatever makes you feel at home.
  • Use every room precisely as you wish, without needing to fit the template of home staging for viewing and photographs. That dedicated room for painting, pottery, snooker, or even a vast collection of succulents, can be yours.

You probably already know this, but it’s worth a reminder that downsizing isn’t about compromise; it’s about making life better, more manageable and tailored to exactly what you need from your home.


As well as an opportunity to declutter and simplify your life, downsizing is also the chance to live in your dream location. Maybe that’s moving closer to family and friends, or perhaps there’s somewhere you’ve always wanted to have a home.

Depending on how you’d like your new life to look, think about the following:

  • To feel part of a community, look for areas with social and interest groups to join. As an example, the University of the Third Age has classes and activities for older adults all over the UK.
  • If you want to stay active and explore your new surroundings, choose a location with interesting walks, a bustling centre or a thriving cultural scene.
  • Do you love to travel? Pick somewhere with easy access to an airport or major train station for discovering new destinations.

Whether it’s living by the sea, in the middle of the countryside, or in the centre of a city, a great way to discover whether somewhere new could be right for you is to spend a few days there to soak up the atmosphere and see if it’s a place you’d like to call home.

What’s your next step?

Whether you’re thinking of downsizing in Leeds or further afield, we’d love to help you make the process easier and more enjoyable.

Call us on 0113 460 2416 or drop us a line at for a friendly chat with one of our team.

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Your tenants have moved in, you’ve protected their deposit, and the first month’s rent is in the bank. So what comes next?

Following on from Part One of our Landlord Lingo Buster, Part Two is all about effective management to keep everything running smoothly, legally and profitably. 

Regular inspections, health & safety laws, claiming all your tax allowances and reviewing the performance of your investment are the foundations of being a successful landlord, while serving notice the right way is essential for getting your property back when you want to.

There’s a lot to get through, and whether you’re a landlord in Leeds or elsewhere in the UK, our jargon buster is here to ramp up your knowledge and boost your confidence. So without further ado, let’s dive in!


As well as health and safety laws to stick to after your tenants move in, you should also make regular visits to your property during the tenancy. These are called Periodic Inspections, and they’re essential for spotting potential problems early, building relationships with your tenants and, if they’re leaving, seeing if there’s anything you need to prepare or repair for viewings.

A successful mid-tenancy check procedure includes the following:

  • Periodic inspection clause

To have the right to access your property during the tenancy, you must include a clause within the tenancy agreement.

  • Inspection checklist

Take a checklist with you to ensure you don’t miss anything – the Landlord Vision website is excellent.

  • Inspection report

After your visit, it’s good practice to send a report to your tenants with your findings, including any actions they need to take and anything you intend to repair.

Even if you’re entitled to inspect your rental property, you must give your tenants at least 24 hours’ notice, and you cannot enter without their consent. The inspection also needs to be at a reasonable time of day, which means no spontaneous midnight visits after a curry!


Rent reviews can be a touchy subject, particularly with the rising cost of living. But a rent review isn’t only about rent; it’s also about keeping your property competitive with the local market as a sustainable investment. A typical process includes:

  • Annual rent check

A good managing agent will review your property every year and advise on whether or not the rent should rise, using evidence of nearby comparable homes. They should also suggest any upgrades to help you increase the popularity, performance and longevity of your investment.  

  • Section 13 notice (England & Wales)

In England and Wales, if you wish to increase the rent, the initial Assured Shorthold Tenancy term must have ended, and you must serve your tenants with a Section 13 notice at least one month before the rent is due to rise.  

  • Landlord’s rent-increase notice to tenants (Scotland)

In Scotland, you’re allowed to increase the rent of a Private Residential Tenancy once a year, and you must give at least three months’ notice. There’s currently a moratorium on rent increases until 31st March 2023.

Of course, not all landlords increase rents to their maximum level every year, particularly if they have great tenants they want to keep. At the same time, most tenants accept that rents do go up, and realistic increases are generally not seen as unfair and are far less hassle and costly than moving home again.


You should keep a regular eye on the ongoing performance of your rental property to get the most from your investment. But although gross yields are usually quoted in adverts, the figures to focus on when projecting income and profit are net yield and capital growth.

  • Gross yield

The gross yield is the annual rent expressed as a percentage of the purchase price. For instance, a £100,000 property rented at £5,000 per year produces a gross yield of 5%. This tends to increase over time as rents rise. 

  • Net yield

This figure tells you the real profit of your rental property, because it considers all your costs, like mortgages, maintenance, fees and repairs, before working out the percentage. Simply deduct these from your income, and divide the remainder by the purchase price.

  • Capital growth

As a property increases in value, the capital growth is the amount the price increases expressed as a percentage. A price increase from £100,000 to £110,000 represents 10% capital growth, and landlords often use this extra equity to fund the deposit on another rental property.

It’s good practice to review the yield of your rental property every year, and to check if there’s anything you can do to improve its performance.


Tax legislation for lettings has changed quite a bit in the last few years, and it’s left some landlords, and would-be investors confused about what expenses they can and can’t claim. So here’s a quick rundown of the things you need to know:

  • Tax relief

Since 2020, the amount you can claim back against any mortgage secured on your rental property is fixed at 20% of the interest payments.

  • Allowable expenses

The costs you can deduct from your income on your tax return, including repairs, safety checks, agents’ & accountants’ fees, references and inventories – check the full list on the website.

  • Capital expenses

Improvements and upgrades to your rental property (including modernisation and major renovations) are classed as capital expenses and are not tax deductible.

When improvements are incidental to a repair, the lines can blur because they often qualify as an allowable expense. Examples include replacing a broken single-glazed window with a double-glazed unit, and like-for-like replacements of baths, wash basins and toilets.


If you want to regain possession of your rental property, getting the paperwork right is essential to minimise the risk of complications and delays. There are different ways of serving notice depending on where your rental property is in the UK, and these include:

  • Section 21 notice (England & Wales)

You can serve a Section 21 notice (also known as a ‘no fault notice’) anytime after either the end of the initial fixed term or the break clause date. At least two months’ notice is required, and you must have protected the security deposit.

  • Section 8 notice (England & Wales)

If you have a legal reason to end a tenancy, like serious rent arrears, damage or illegal behaviour, you can serve a section 8 notice at any time. The notice period is just 14 days.

  • Accelerated Procedure for evictions  (England & Wales)

If your tenants refuse to leave, you may need to start the eviction process, which can be lengthy and costly. However, with a Section 21 notice, and if you’re not claiming any rent arrears, you can apply for an Accelerated Procedure, which doesn’t require a court hearing.

  • Notice to leave (Scotland)

North of the border, there’s a list of 18 valid grounds to end a tenancy. You must give your tenants 28 days’ Notice to Leave if the tenancy has either run for six months or less (or if the tenant has breached the agreement). Otherwise, 84 days’ notice is required.

  • First-tier Tribunal (Scotland)

To begin the eviction process, you must apply for an eviction order from the First-tier tribunal.

  • Wrongful Termination Order (Scotland)

If your tenant feels you misled them into leaving, they can apply for a Wrongful Termination Order, which carries a penalty of up to 6 months’ rent. An example would be telling your tenants you intend to sell the property but then rent it to someone else.

To avoid being invalidated, your notice must include your tenant’s name(s), the full address of the property and the date the notice period ends, and all spelt correctly. You must also have supplied your tenants with a tenancy agreement and valid safety certificates.

Many landlords come unstuck when serving notice, so if you’re unsure how to proceed, do get in touch.

Do you have any questions about landlord lingo?

We’re here to answer any questions about being a landlord in Leeds, so why not get in touch? Call us on 0113 460 2416 or drop us a line at for some friendly, expert advice.

And in case you missed it, you can read part one of our landlord lingo buster here which covers all the steps in getting your property let and setting your tenancy up the right way.

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Not every home sells for its full potential value, and that’s often because the finest features are either hidden or under-presented. But you can add many thousands to your sale price simply by showing off what’s already there.

Even though furniture and styling play their part, buyers are ultimately paying for the fabric of your home, and that’s how estate agents, mortgage lenders and surveyors will appraise the value of your property.

So it makes sound financial sense to make the most of what you’ve got by highlighting all the existing character and space. When you get it right, it’s a surefire way to wow your buyers, from stunning photography online to a fantastic viewing experience. And in this week’s blog, we’ll show you how.


When buyers arrive outside your home, those first few moments can truly make or break a sale. So focus on highlighting the natural external character to start your viewings off on the right foot. 

  • Try the Victorian art of creating a more expensive look by painting external woodwork in rich deep tones – it’s a trick that works on any style of home, old or new.
  • Clean the brickwork and either restore the stonework or paint it with a realistic stone-like masonry paint like London Stone or Stony Ground from Farrow & Ball (or have them colour-matched to a different brand at a paint-mixing centre).
  • Uncover and renovate original pathways, jet wash between pavers and tiles, and tidy up the front lawn and plants.
  • Make your front door feel special by cleaning and repairing any glass panels to increase the natural light in your hall, and polish metal finishes like letterboxes, locks and handles.

These first impressions really do count, so don’t miss the chance to get your buyers excited about what’s waiting inside.


Buyers automatically look down when they step into a home, which means your floors get a lot of attention. How they look and feel underfoot makes a big difference to the viewing experience, so give yours plenty of attention to put the spring in their step!

  • It’s hard to go wrong with wooden floors, particularly original floorboards and parquet that look fabulous when stripped and oiled.
  • Could you have some original tiles waiting to be rediscovered beneath the flooring in your entrance hall or kitchen? Revealing and renovating them will definitely win you fans.
  • Give any carpets a deep clean to rejuvenate their pile, restore their colour, and remove dark dust lines around the edges.

Finally, don’t forget about visible floor space. The more there is, the bigger your home will feel, so clear the sightlines to windows, get clutter off floors, lift plant pots onto stands, and play with moving or removing furniture. One small change can make a massive difference.


Something we notice all the time on viewings is how people gravitate towards the windows. Light is a big factor for buyers, and the way you dress and present your windows has a huge impact on someone’s experience of your home.

  • Make sure any curtains open beyond the width of windows and patio doors to show more glass and pull in more light.
  • Replace any cracked or broken panes, then get cleaning – it’s incredible how much brighter everything feels with daylight streaming through sparkling windows.
  • Use mirrors to give your rooms extra depth by reflecting the outside while amplifying the natural light even more.

Of course, viewings can also happen when it’s dark outside. So if you’ve got any cold white lightbulbs in your ceiling lights or lamps, swap them for soft-tone LEDs to make every corner feel more inviting, and your buyers feel extra warm and cosy.


Although a modern kitchen and bathroom are major selling points, buyers will also pay more for a home packed with features from when it was built, whether that’s the 1850s or the 1950s. So leave no stone unturned in looking around and see what you can discover.

  • Look for any interior doors that may have been panelled over to see if you can reveal their original style. You could even swap old wooden panels for etched glass to increase the light flow around your home.
  • Uncover hidden features, beams and interesting pieces of structure by removing any lowered ceilings.
  • Bring out the details in decorative coving and ceiling roses by unclogging layers of paint with a light wire brush, then add a stylish pendant or chandelier from retailers like Next and John Lewis, or head to auction houses for a vintage find.
  • Skirting boards, picture rails, architraves, window frames, doors, and original cupboards don’t have to be painted gloss white. In fact, colour-matching them to your walls can exaggerate the size of your rooms while adding a sense of calm.

Finally, a very simple measure that doesn’t require any decorating is to give your woodwork a really good clean – sometimes, all it takes is a good old scrub to transform and revive its appearance.


Unless you’ve got underfloor heating, the chances are you’ve got radiators and perhaps even a fireplace or two in your home. But are you making the most of how they look?

  • For traditional fireplaces, strip the paint from any marble, cast iron, timber or tiles to reveal their full glory, then make sure they’re an eye-catching centrepiece. Choose logs and fire tools for a working grate, or style with candlesticks, art, plants or even books.
  • Contemporary glass-fronted fireplaces are designed to be accessory-free, but placing a low-level shelf in front with some well-chosen glassware, ceramics, and coffee-table books can create an elevated and artistic display.
  • Got boring radiators? Give them a designer touch by rolling on an oil-based paint in a striking contemporary colour, or match them to your walls to disappear into your decor.

Remember: warmth doesn’t just come from the heat of your fireplaces and radiators – it also comes from how you present them and how they add character and style to your home.

What’s your next step?

Would you like to know how you can realise the full potential value of your home? Or what buyers are looking for in a property in Leeds? Then drop us a line at or call us on 0113 460 2416 for a chat about maximising your sale price and making your move a success.

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Do you know your ARLA from your elbow? Or how about a GSR from the TDS? If you don’t, you’re not alone.

Just like every industry, the lettings world has its own particular lingo to master, with plenty of phrases, abbreviations and rules to keep in your head.

From staying on the right side of the law to protecting your property and keeping your tenants safe, there’s a lot to know as a landlord, and plenty of responsibility too!

While you’re probably familiar with ARLA (The Association of Residential Letting Agents, just in case!), how much further does your knowledge stretch? Even experienced landlords can lose track with ever-changing lettings laws.

So with that in mind, and whether you own a property to rent in Leeds or somewhere else in the UK, we’ve put together a two-part blog with all you need to know to bust lettings jargon. This week is about starting off on the right foot to set your tenancy up the right way and keep your property legal.

Knowing the jargon is an essential part of being a landlord, and there are some general terms you’ll come across quite regularly. These are some of the most common:

  • Fixtures and fittings
    The items you supply at your rental property (even if it’s unfurnished) including curtains or blinds, floor coverings, light fittings, kitchen units and appliances.
  • Holding deposit

You can take up to one week’s rent from a prospective tenant to reserve your property as you take up references, and this must be returned through the rent or security deposit at the start of the tenancy, or refunded if the tenancy doesn’t proceed.

  • Inventory
    A report on the contents and condition of your property at the point your tenant moves in. Essential for winning disputes if you’re unhappy with how your property is returned when the tenancy ends.
  • Joint & several liability

If you have more than one tenant, they share responsibility for the property and paying the rent. So if one of your tenants stops paying their share, the others are responsible for making up the shortfall.

  • Permitted and prohibited payments
    The Tenant Fees Act 2018 made it illegal to charge tenants for references, credit checks and preparing a tenancy agreement. However, you can charge for lost keys and amendments to the tenancy agreement after it’s started.
  • Security deposit

You can take up to five weeks’ rent (or two months in Scotland) as a security deposit against damages.

  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme
    Also known as the TDS, this mandatory Government scheme requires landlords to register and protect any security deposits they receive.

As with any profession, having a handle on the vocabulary will help you sound like a real professional and meet your obligations to run a successful business.


A legally-enforceable tenancy agreement is not only essential to give you the full protection of the law; it will also be a condition of any rent protection insurance or buy-to-let mortgage offer.

Here’s some common tenancy agreement terminology for England, Scotland and Wales.

  • Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)

The standard type of private residential tenancy in England and Wales, with a guaranteed right for the landlord to regain possession at the end of the term in the agreement.

  • Break clause

Typically for AST tenancies of a year or more, a break clause allows the landlord or tenant to end the contract from an agreed point before the initial term ends by giving (usually) two months’ notice.

  • Non-housing act tenancy
    Residential tenancies which don’t meet the criteria of the Housing Act 1988 are known as Non-Housing Act Tenancies. Examples include company lets and renting rooms to lodgers.
  • Periodic tenancy

In England and Wales, an AST automatically becomes a periodic tenancy if it runs beyond the original term, and notice can be given at any time (one month for tenants, two months for landlords).

  • Private Residential Tenancy

The name for new tenancies in Scotland from December 2017. These are open-ended and last until the tenant wishes to leave, or the landlord gives one (or more) of 18 grounds for eviction.

If you’d like to see a typical tenancy agreement, you can download examples from the and websites.


Before you move any tenants in, your rental property needs to meet specific health and safety standards to avoid hefty fines, a criminal record and even imprisonment. Some of the most important ones are:

  • Gas Safety Check and Gas Safety Record (GSR)

A gas safety check must be carried out annually by a registered engineer on every rental home, with a supporting document to show the property has passed.

  • Electrical safety
    Rental homes in England must have an electrical safety check by a registered engineer every five years. For the rest of the UK, the recommendation is for a periodic inspection.
  • Smoke alarm safety check
    Every rental home must have a working smoke alarm on each floor with living accommodation. Landlords must ensure and provide confirmation that the smoke alarms are in full working order on day one of each new tenancy.
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

An EPC rates a property’s energy performance on a scale of A-G, with A being the best. Rental homes must have a rating of at least E, and the certificate must be renewed every ten years. 

Although it can seem a bit boring and time-consuming, remember that the law is there to protect everyone, including landlords. A safe property means less risk of accidents and liabilities, while an energy-efficient home will always be more popular and attract a higher rent.


Thorough referencing is a crucial part of setting your tenancy up to ensure your tenant (and any guarantor) is a suitable candidate and financially able to pay the rent. The process includes:

  • Credit check
    A report on a potential tenant’s credit history, including any late payments, default notices or County Court Judgements, usually carried about by an external agency (you need the tenant’s written consent first).
  • Proof of income

Confirmation from a tenant’s employer of their work and income, often backed up with 3-6 months of payslips. For self-employed tenants, get an accountant’s reference, their latest tax return, and/or 3-6 months of bank statements.

  • Guarantor

Someone prepared to guarantee the rent payments if your tenant cannot pay. A guarantor should also go through an income and credit check.

  • Identity check

This can include photo ID like a passport or driving licence, otherwise proof of address from bank statements, utility bills, or memberships. 

  • Landlord reference

A statement from a tenant’s existing landlord confirming whether the rent was paid on time, the property was well looked after, and if the landlord would rent to them again.

  • Right to Rent check (England only)
    In England, landlords are legally required to confirm that a potential tenant has the Right to Rent, either through being a British citizen or having permission to stay with valid documentation. This doesn’t apply to the rest of the UK.

Never let anyone move into your rental property without sufficient referencing. No matter how well you get on, and even if they’re recommended by someone you know and trust, references are your greatest safeguard in getting the very best tenant.


Not everyone needs a managing agent, and if you’re a full-time professional landlord with an experienced team around you, a tenant-finding service may be all you need. But if you’re busy elsewhere, or you prefer to be more hands-off, here’s a quick rundown of the different levels of  services letting agents provide:

  • Let only

Your agent carries out viewings, finds you a tenant, takes up references, prepares the tenancy agreement and inventory, and then hands everything over to you after the tenants move in.

  • Rent collection

As well as including everything from the Let Only option, this service covers taking over collecting the rent, chasing up late payments and getting things back on track.

  • Full management

Your agent handles everything, including safety checks for gas, electricity and smoke alarms; repairs, improvements and emergencies; mid-tenancy inspections; dealing with disputes; serving notice; and helping you get your property back.

Not sure what’s right for you? Think about whether you’re calm in a crisis, up on lettings law, time-rich and have a circle of trusted contractors to call on. If you don’t, treat yourself to a managing agent – you’ll definitely thank yourself!

Do you have any questions about landlord lingo?

We’re here to answer any questions about being a landlord and owning property to rent in 

Leeds, so why not get in touch? Call us on 0113 460 2416 or drop us a line at for some friendly, expert advice.

And remember! Part two of our landlord lingo buster is released on Monday, February 13th. It’s packed with tips on managing your tenancies, reviewing rents, handling disputes and serving notice correctly – so pop a note in your diary to check back here!

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How do you feel about the property market right now?

It’s peak prediction season in the press, with daily claims from experts that house prices are about to fall off a cliff, stagnate or even slowly rise. We know that most of these predictions will be wrong, but which ones?

The first thing to remember is that asking prices and sale prices are not the same thing. If a home is 10% overpriced and then reduced by 10%, that isn’t a fall in sale prices. And if asking prices increase, like Rightmove says they have this month, it doesn’t mean sale prices have risen as well.

So what is actually happening? 

One thing we can say for sure is that house prices have stalled, and the market has changed. But how does that affect you if you’re planning to sell your home?

Well, you probably won’t have queues of buyers down the street, or multiple offers over your asking price. But then, you’re unlikely to face that on the home you want to buy – an absolute godsend compared to the stressful scrums of 2022.

The best time to move is always when it’s right for you, but in case you feel you missed the boat by not selling last year, here are five reasons why you could be better off selling your home when prices cool.


It’s more expensive to move home when prices are rising if you’re upsizing or upgrading to a property with a higher value than your current one, and here’s why:

  • Let’s say your home is worth £400,000 and the one you want to buy is £600,000. If you wait to sell until prices go up by, say, 10%, you’ll sell for £40,000 more, but you’ll pay an extra £60,000, leaving you £20,000 worse off.
  • That could mean higher mortgage payments and debt, and less money to spend on improvements that increase the value of your next home.
  • You could also discover that the forever home you’d set your sights on has increased in value beyond your reach.

So if, like most people, you’re moving home to trade up, the best financial outcome for you doesn’t rest on selling at the top of the market. It rests on minimising the gap between your selling and buying price to maximise your gain.


When prices rise, it’s natural to think it’s the perfect time to sell because the value of your home has never been higher. It’s a feeling that grips the nation, but there are some advantages when you don’t follow the crowd.

  • There are usually fewer homes on the market when prices cool because many sellers let the lower valuation of their home cloud the opportunity to move on up for less.
  • When your home has less competition, it gets more attention from buyers on the property portals and also your estate agent’s website and social media.
  • It’s just nicer – any agent will tell you that it’s possible to have too many enquiries, viewings and sales to manage, and that moving in a calmer market can be a much more relaxed experience.

Just remember to focus on getting a sale, rather than holding out for the last possible penny. To profit from the smaller gap between your selling and buying price, you need to have a buyer in place to boost your bargaining power on your next home.


Buyers act very differently depending on the state of the property market. When it’s hot, they feel they should jump at whatever home they can get. When it cools, they take their time to get a better understanding of what they really like. And there are some real benefits to this slower approach:

  • offers that are really well thought through and based on the certainty that your home is ‘the one’.
  • less chance of buyer’s remorse, when the euphoria of winning the bidding turns into doubt around paying too much for the wrong home.
  • an acceptance that, even if property prices fall in the short term (including while someone is buying your home), they’ve always recovered and risen far beyond their previous levels.

All of this gives you more confidence in having a smoother move with a fully committed buyer, rather than someone who’s keeping an eye on the market for a home that might suit them more.


One of the biggest problems you face as a seller in a rising market is getting to view a home you want to buy if your own home isn’t already sold. Estate agents are overrun with enquiries, and you simply can’t compete with an ocean of buyers who are ready and waiting to go.

This can be extremely frustrating and frightening. “What if I sell my home and can’t find one to buy?” is something we heard constantly last year, and a quieter market can offer some relief.

  • Homes often sell as soon as they hit the market, and sometimes before that, when prices are rising. With multiple buyers fighting for every property, anyone with a home to sell goes straight to the back of the queue.
  • When the market changes, many people decide to hold off buying until prices rise again, which is what’s happening now and why the rental market is so expensive and competitive.
  • With more manageable numbers of buyers, estate agents can be more flexible around viewings with people who haven’t yet found a buyer, giving you a chance to see more homes and make a considered choice.

It’s a strange paradox that it can be harder to buy in a booming market because of the sheer volume of competition. Yet when things calm down, you often have more time to find and secure your dream home.


Accepting an offer is cause for celebration as the first milestone of your move, but there’s still a long way to go before any keys change hands. First, you need to get through the legal process, and that’s where a booming market can get clogged up.

  • Massive sales volumes can swamp solicitors with cases, slowing down the speed of every transaction. Last year, the average time from an offer being accepted to moving day hit five months – the longest we can remember!
  • The same thing happens in the mortgage market as lenders groan under the weight of applications, resulting in delays to processing times, valuation appointments, and issuing mortgage offers.
  • Expiring mortgage offers can leave buyers in limbo if their lender won’t simply extend their offer – they may need to start all over again, perhaps with a new lender, or even a different home.

None of this happens when the market slows down, because the legal process speeds up with a lower number of moves. Who knows what 2023 will bring, but if estimates of 25% fewer sales in 2023 come true, your solicitor and mortgage lender will be able to work much faster.

One last thing

When prices cool down, you need your agent to keep you ahead of the market to get you sold so you can negotiate the best deal on your next home. So quiz them thoroughly and ask for evidence to show how much homes like yours are actually selling for right now. 

We’d love to help you make the most of the current market, so drop us a line at or call us on 0113 460 2416 for a chat about your plans and getting your move underway.

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2022 saw the highest proportion of property sales to investors since 2016, with landlords accounting for 12.2% of the market. Surprised? Well, it’s not so unbelievable when you look at what’s happening.

  • Interest rates have dropped since their spike after the mini-budget, with buy-to-let mortgages now available from 3.09%.
  • House prices have fallen back, giving landlords a much better shot at getting a great deal with an instantly higher yield.
  • Rents have risen sharply because of intense competition among tenants.

Many existing landlords are taking the opportunity to expand their portfolios again, and if you’re reading this blog, you could be thinking that 2023 is the year you begin your buy-to-let journey. But where do you start?

Well, there’s plenty to learn, from raising the money to having the right people around you, avoiding classic mistakes and picking the perfect rental property. But don’t worry: we’re sharing everything you need right here to build a portfolio of your first five rental homes, and beyond!


Building a successful buy-to-let portfolio isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, but it is a reliable way to build personal and generational wealth (as a look at any rich list will tell you). 

To start and stay on track, it’s essential to have a vision that pulls you forward, whether it’s early retirement, financial security for your family, or a cliff-top house with a Porsche parked outside. Here are some tips to start you off:

  • Write a 1, 5 and 10-year plan for short, medium and long-term goals, with a reward for meeting each one. Hang it where you can see it every day, or save it as the wallpaper on your phone.
  • Fast-track your learning by reading books from successful property investors like Property Investing Secrets by Rob Moore, Buy Low, Rent High by Samuel Leeds, and Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.
  • Prioritise your buy-to-let business – if you wait a year for that luxury holiday or new car and buy a rental home instead, you’ll get a lasting sense of accomplishment that beats short-term gratification any day.

As with any new business, some things won’t necessarily go to plan, so clearly displaying your goals will help you deal with any bumps in the road and keep your vision alive.


There’s no escaping the fact that you’ll need money to buy your first rental property, but cash flow is also critical to the success of any business. Try these tips for getting started and staying solvent:

  • If you own your home, or have savings or other investments, you could release some of their value to cover the deposit, legal fees and any renovation costs of your first buy-to-let.
  • Team up with trusted family or friends to raise the funds and share the costs by going into business together – make sure you have a legal contract to protect and respect each other.
  • Ask a financial advisor about mortgage lenders who will take your personal income into account alongside the property’s rental income. This is known as top-slicing.
  • If you don’t own a home, you could buy your first one as a buy-to-let, saving you from the second home stamp duty surcharge until you buy the next one.
  • Or buy a property to renovate and sell on. You’ll get a higher loan-to-value mortgage if you buy it as your home, your profit will be tax-free, and you could pay zero stamp duty if it’s your first purchase. You might even make enough to cover the deposit on more than one rental home.
  • Use a spreadsheet to calculate buying costs, income projections and annual maintenance: don’t overpay and leave bidding wars to homebuyers – another property will come along.
  • Save your tax money from each rent payment and build a three-month contingency fund to cover annual maintenance and general repairs.

It’s also worth remembering that setting up a limited company to buy your rental properties has some advantages around mortgage interest relief, income tax and capital gains tax, so talk to an accountant first to make sure you choose the best strategy.

Starting out as a landlord is definitely an education, and you can smooth out the learning curve by specialising in one marketplace – at least for now. Here are some tips for finding your niche:

  • Start in an area that you know and near where you live. You’ll build your confidence faster, and you can befriend local letting agents to get the call when suitable homes come up for sale.
  • Choose your target tenant – research demand in the neighbourhood, then decide whether you want to provide homes for singles, families, professional sharers, students… 
  • Stay away from the most expensive streets as you’ll be fighting wealthy buyers – go for next-best locations where you’ll pay less but still attract good tenants. 
  • Avoid major refurbishment projects until you’re more experienced, as they can become money pits. Look for homes that only need light sprucing up like redecorating, kitchen upgrades or replacing floor coverings that you can complete quickly to get your property rented.

The simplest way to success is to offer tenants what they want, and need – families look for things like good schools, easy parking and durable fittings, while sharers love contemporary design, cool cafes and rapid transport. 

Speak to local letting agents about what’s in demand so you can provide homes that are popular and profitable.


In the words of Richard Branson: “Success comes from delegating and having a good team!” It’s the same in any business, and you’ll run yourself ragged if you try to do everything yourself, so it pays to surround yourself with reliable people.  

There are many different aspects to owning rental homes, and you’ll need as a minimum:

  • Certified electrical and gas contractors, an inventory clerk, someone to do odd jobs, tax and financial advice.
  • Someone to handle viewings, check-ins, check-outs, mid-tenancy inspections, emergency call-outs and any questions or repair requests from your tenant.
  • A mortgage advisor who specialises in buy-to-let, and an accountant to advise you on the best ways to stay tax-efficient.

A good managing agent will have a circle of proven and trustworthy contractors who can ensure your buy-to-let and tenant are looked after properly, leaving you free to concentrate on finding your next property or simply enjoying life.


After you’ve rented out your first buy-to-let, it’s time to sit and review all the ups and downs of your journey so far. This will help you grow your skills, learn from mistakes or lucky breaks, and use your experience when buying your next property. But how do you get the money for the next deposit?

  • The usual route is to wait for the value of your first buy-to-let to increase, then release enough equity to cover the deposit for the next one.
  • You can speed up that process and approach other investors from landlord clubs or networking groups to fund the deposit, in exchange for your time in sourcing a property.
  • If the equity builds enough in one property, you could choose to sell it and buy two smaller ones because you’ll be able to use all the equity rather than having to leave 15% in to satisfy your mortgage lender.

You’re really not limited by the equity in your first buy-to-let to get started on your next, but make sure you carry out due diligence on anyone you go into business with. Protect yourself with a contract drafted by a solicitor to use as a ready-made template for partnerships as you build your empire.

Are you ready to start or grow your lettings portfolio?

We’ve helped many new and experienced landlords build highly popular, profitable and sustainable lettings portfolios, and we’d love to help you do the same.

Drop us a line on or call us on 0113 460 2416 for a friendly chat about the rental market in Leeds; then let’s start creating a successful buy-to-let business for your future.