Increased tuition fees impacting Landlords

It’s not just students feeling the effects of increased tuition fees. Landlord Assist is warning that hikes in university tuition fees will shortly be impacting the business plans of some buy-to-let investors.

University applicants are officially 9% lowers compared to this time last year. According to the University and College Administration Service, the number of applicants has fallen from 76,612 students for 2011 to 69,742 for 2112.

What does this mean for Landlords who depend on students to let their properties?  Unsurprisingly with tuition fees rising to a staggering £9,000 per term, less students are applying to universities. This means demand for accommodation has dropped with current landlords  having to further drop their monthly rental fees in order to attract cash strapped students. What’s more, this hike in tuition fees have seen more students applying to local universities, meaning they can study while living at home – sorry parents, you’ll stuck with them for a little longer!

It is still early days with many believing this surge in tuition fees will have to drop in order for universities to attract future students. Students only make up one part of the rental market with overall demand for property to let still at its highest for over a decade.

If you are a Landlord or student effected by this issue then please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

It could only happen to an Estate Agent – Outrageous Estate Agent Viewing Tales

Love them or loath them, often renowned for their shenanigans, a day in the life of an estate agent is certainly eventful.  It may come as no surprise that as estate agents go about their daily routine of selling and renting houses, that they sometimes encounter some pretty uncomfortable situations.

Here at My Online Estate Agent we have put together the top three outrageous estate agent viewing stories! To save our fellow estate agents from too much embarrassment we’ve used different names to protect their identity. Try not to feel too sorry for them! 🙂

1) Beware of the Dog

Meet Tony Till of Westburry Homes Estate Agents of Ruislip in North West London. Tony, aged 20 is the new boy at the company and is on the lettings team at the lower end of the market. He has a ten o’clock viewing at the once notorious ‘blue roofs’ council estate.

Always punctual, Tony dons his shades and hops into the mini cooper, turns up the garage music and heads off to the viewing, arriving minutes before the potential new tenants arrive. This is the first time Tony has visited the property and knowing that the owners are out at work, he decides to take a quick a look inside. Confidently strolling up to the door dressed in his best Next suit and polished loafers; Tony puts the key in the door and lets himself in.

What happened next will stay with Tony for the rest of his life. As the door closed firmly behind him, Tony found himself coming face to face with a 12 stones snarling Bull Mastiff. As the saying goes dogs can smell fear, unfortunately for Tony, his grey pinstriped trousers were seconds from being heavily soiled with the contents of last night’s curry. Fearing for his life he had to come up with an escape plan and quickly! Seeing a stair case immediately to his left, Tony fled for his life, charging up the stairs looking for any room to barricade himself in. As he surged up the stairs the dog gave chase at lightning speed. As Tony neared the top of the stair case the demon dog pounced on his trailing leg violently shaking its huge head with Tony’s foot firmly in its grip. Trousers now heavily stained and face streaming with tears Tony somehow managed to wriggle free but at the expensive of his trousers and shoes which the now insane canine shredded with ease. Finding an open door Tony ran into the bathroom locking the door firmly behind, safe from the offending hound.

An hour and forty five minutes later, a trouser-less Tony Till felt the firm grip of one of London’s firefighter’s thick gloves on his backside as he was forced to exit the property in an undignified and embarrassing manner via a ladder to the bathroom window.

2. Make sure the Owner is Out!














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Next on our unfortunate list is 25 year old Nigel Murphy from Winkshire Estate Agents in Bury. Nigel, who is more commonly known as Nige, has worked at Winkshire for almost 2 years and has progressed up the slippery corporate pole to Assistant Sales Manager. His first viewing of the day is at twenty past nine. The owner of the property is an elderly gentleman, Norris Newton, who is downsizing and moving to a retirement apartment complex. The interested buyers are a middle aged couple with two young children who Nigel meets promptly outside.

Nigel is currently this month’s third best seller in the Suffolk region. He is keen to win the top prize of £100 of Ben Sherman vouchers. If he manages to shift this last property then the vouchers are as good as his.

After trying the bell a couple of times and getting no response Nigel eagerly enters the property, apologising for the stale smell of kippers that Mr Newton had cooked for dinner two days previously. He begins to present the downstairs rooms. After seeing the bottom floor, the buyers are keen for Nigel to lead the way upstairs.

They look around the main bedroom first, Nigel points out the potential to convert the excess space into an en suit. Next room on the list the bathroom. Confidently, Nigel swings the door back and strides in right arm stretched out ready to point out the bath and separate shower cubical.  But to both Nigel and the buyer’s horror there is more in the bathroom than anyone expected, when a naked Norris Newton was found to be having a soak in the tub! The moral of the story, always check the owner is out first!

3. More than Jim Bargained for!

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Jim Burnside, 35 years old, womaniser and manger of the Chelmsford White and Co Estate Agents. He has a reputation in the office for his way with the ladies with Jim considering himself to be quite a catch, and is not afraid to tell people.  Today he is performing a valuation on a detached 5 bedroom house in one of the more wealthy suburbs in Chelmsford. Eleven forty five Jim jumps into his Audi A4 and heads to the twelve o’clock appointment.

He pulls up the long gravel driveway and with a cheeky swagger makes his way to the front door. Grabbing the big, brass knocker firmly he bangs twice against the big oak door. A few minutes later a lady in her early 50s answers the door.

The lady ushers Jim in, introducing herself as Barbra, and immediately starts to flirt. Ordinarily, this situation would have been music to Jim’s ears. The story that Jim would later tell his colleagues was Barbara was in fact a young, 20 something, blond.

After looking around the house Jim took a seat on the sofa in the lounge ready to give his valuation. Barbra sat next to him, uncomfortably close. Out of nowhere Barbra suddenly placed her hand on Jim’s leg squeezing it firmly which send a shiver down Jim’s spine. As she moves her hand on Jim’s leg, Jim could sense what was happening. He had heard of other agents in the area being propositioned by lonely house wives, but he had always been a little skeptical as  to whether there was any truth in it, or just tall tales after a few largers.

Not wanting to lose the deal but sensing that he had to think of an excuse quickly, Jim shouted out the words that never in a million years would he have thought he would have spoken… ‘I’m gay’. As soon as he said it a dozen other plausible excuses entered his head but it was too late! To Jim’s horror for the next thirty minutes Jim was forced to talk of his imaginary boyfriend Jason who worked at the salon in high street!

Was it worth it, well Jim may have just confessed to his love for another man, but that wasn’t to bother him as he landed the deal and more importantly didn’t land himself an unsightly cougar in the process.

If you’ve got any funny stories to share we’d love to hear them!








High street estate agents using illegal tricks

Some rogue estate agents are using dirty and even illegal tactics in a bid to sell more properties. A common scam many fall prey too is when an agent tries to get the seller to increase their offer by falsely claiming that another, higher offer has been made.

Other sellers have even been told that they would be unable to make an offer on a property unless they took out a mortgage through their own finance company. This means that the agent can earn large sums through commission by securing these deals. In truth the finance companies they recommend rarely offer the most competitive rates.

These are not only blatant lies but are actually illegal under the Estate Agents Act. Unfortunately with only one in three agents signed up to the voluntary code of conduct, these agents are going unchecked and able to continue.

In the last year alone complaints rose 16 per cent to 6,462. The Consumer’s Association, which carried out the study, is now calling for an official government watchdog for the industry.

There are even estate agents using contracts with unfair small text. Despite properties being one of the biggest investments of your life, many rush and over look the small print in contracts.

If you have experiences any of these tactics or have your own story then please share it with us.