Harrogate is home to so many inspiring people living and working within our glorious town; one of whom is Yorkshire lass, Sarah Johnston. Sarah set up Homes4Harrogate, a letting agency with a difference after spotting a gap in the market.
The buy-to-let market
The buy-to-let market has dramatically increased in recent years, seen to many as an opportunity for long term investment. According to the Office of National Statistics, 36% of households in England and Wales were rented rather than owner-occupied in 2013.
Local letting agent – Homes4Harrogate
Homes4Harrogate is an independent local residential lettings agency which covers the Harrogate and district area, including as far as Boroughbridge. With eight years of experience under her belt and a law degree to boot, Sarah combines a modern approach with the personal touch to ensure her service is second to none. Sarah believes that other letting agents restrict the landlords due to ridged office hours, and limited flexibility on packages.
Sarah says, “We offer an incredibly flexible, time efficient, and modern service…” she goes on to say, “I tailor my service to the client’s needs, which unfortunately other agents do not. We offer a paperless system, whereby applications are filled out online at the client’s convenience, saving time and paper. We conduct all of our ‘move-ins’ at the property with the tenant, guiding them around their new home, making them feel comfortable, ensuring their tenancy has the best possible start.”
Flexibility for landlords
To meet the needs of the client, Homes4harrogate has developed four landlord packages. This is because Sarah believes that not all landlords are the same, unlike the two standard packages most traditional agents offer, these four different packages cater for the varied needs of landlords today. From the Basic and Essential packages for experienced landlords, to the Premium and VIP packages for those landlords who desire a more ‘hands off’ approach. The VIP packages offers professional photography as standard, free annual gas safety certificate, rent guarantee and with Sarah’s background in Law it covers some aspects of legal help.
Sarah also utilises social media producing film and other engaging content. In fact she is fast becoming the lettings expert in the local area.
Sarah writes a blog detailing important information for landlords and a great insight for tenants too. Her latest posts are on the different ares of Harrogate and the pros and cons of buying to let.
“I love to help and advise people, it’s the most satisfying part of my job. This gave me the idea to start a Facebook group called Harrogate Landlord’s Forum where local landlords can come together and discuss issues and ask questions. I will be on hand to offer my expertise, hints and tips.”
Advice for property investors
As a home owner myself I’ve wondered what the property market holds as I’ve considered the world of letting. Sarah feels the up and coming changes to property tax and regulations affecting the letting industry may put off individual landlords, with some even considering selling their properties. Sarah doesn’t think this is necessary with the correct advice. She believes the rental market will continue to be buoyant as tenants struggle to get on the property ladder.
During the Queen’s speech in June this year a draft Tenants’ Fee Bill was among 27 proposed laws to be reviewed. The fee was banned but in a further twist, the Bill, put forward just a couple of weeks after the fee ban consultation closed, also proposes allowing tenants to reclaim unlawful fees, which wasn’t mentioned in the initial documents for consideration.
“I know landlords are concerned about rent or landlord fees increasing, counteracting the tenant fee ban, but this doesn’t have to be the case, if agents haven’t been charging extortionate fees for so long the ban shouldn’t be a worry to them, I can also say Homes4harrogate will not be increasing landlord fees when the tenant fee ban takes place.”
I hope you’ll join me and wish Sarah all the best in her new venture. I certainly loved hearing about Sarah’s story. Please go check out and follow her Facebook pages for hints and tips on buying to let.
What do you love about your home? I’m a little bit interior mad and love to use Pinterest for my source of inspiration. Check out my interior pages here.
P.S. This was a sponsored post with Homes4harrogate