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The Alex Goldstein Property Show (Part 4)

June 2016

Join Alex Goldstein on this fast paced educational property show ‘The Alex Goldstein Property Show (Part 4)’ with StrayFM featuring specialist letting agent, vacant property security insight, plus thoughts on Brexit and what to never do when it comes to your property!


The Alex Goldstein Property Show (Part 4)

Full transcript below:

Alex: Welcome again to the Alex Goldstein Property Show (Part4). I’m Alex Goldstein of Alex Goldstein Property Consultants in Harrogate and this is the fast-paced property show giving you industry expert insight into the world of property, estate agency and the related business sectors within it. Insider tips, tricks and know-how all jam packed into the show so you really can make the best-informed decision when it comes to buying or selling your home whether you’re a first-time buyer, up-sizer, downsizer, experienced property developer, or have a portfolio empire or simply just have an interest in the local or national market then this is the show for you. I will be speaking with and getting industry expert insight from some of the most property related businesses and professionals that Yorkshire and indeed the UK has to offer, ranging from regional Chartered Surveyors all the way though to some of the UK’s most well renowned multi-national firms such as Price Waterhouse Cooper. We’re available for podcast download on the first of every month so make sure you sign up to Alex Goldstein and the Stray FM social media accounts to get an early reminder of this and to get great property tips whenever you need. In this months show we will be getting the inside trach from Alison Guggenheim, a specialist letting agent in Harrogate on the pitfalls to avoid in this sector. We also discuss how best to differentiate between estate agents when selling. Plus chatting with Nick Bye from Vacant Property Security on what to do if you have an empty commercial premises and the security issues to avoid. We of course also have the Alex Goldstein top tips. So much to cram in so let’s get straight on with it.

This month we are of course discussing the EU referendum and that that UK is out. Whilst there seems to be panic setting in, let’s look at the facts as they stand at the time of recording rather than getting embroiled in the current media frenzy. Both the EU and the UK want to get the withdrawal right that’s a fact. This is in both of our interests as we both equally stand to lose and gain in equal measure. Only the UK can invoke article 50 and not the EU so in other words, any withdrawal is done on our timeframe and when we are ready. The Bank of England and Chancellor George Osbourne have already said they will do whatever it takes to keep the market stable and again that’s in everyone’s best interests. There’s been £250 billion worth of funding set aside should we ever need to use it. On top of that we’ve got low stable inflation and fairly solid employment rates. Research out the other morning from Coutts bank shows most political events do not have a lasting impact on investment outlook, and they Coutts, do not see Brexit as an exception. Coutts also went on to say one of the more reliable warning signs for a big downturn in the market is the risk of a US recession, which is seen as very unlikely in the next 12-18 months. The result is of course a surprise to many, especially the city who were betting the other way. We all knew the result would be close. The financial markets are currently going through an adjustment, to find their new levels, and there was always going to be some initial short-term turbulence. We must remember that the bottom line is there will be a lengthy renegotiation process and it’s not a case of just flicking a switch one day and getting a new set of circumstances the next. This is going to be a very gradual process over a minimum of 2 years. So therefore, on the probability side my advice is hold your nerve, yes there is financial turbulence occurring currently, but this was always going to be the case. There’s already speculation the Bank of England reducing interest rates to quarter a percent and if they do this mortgage rates could be cheaper. If so, it could mean greater property market activity as money is cheap to borrow. The property market relies on supply and demand and people will always need to buy and sell property. Current local property supply levels remain weak and therefore there is an argument for property prices locally to hold firm. The underlying strengths of the UK economy remain in place and property is always being proven to be the best medium to long-term investment you can make. So, in conclusion take your time, hold your nerve and above all don’t panic.

It’s great to have Alison Guggenheim, from Lentin Smith, who are a letting agents actually right in the centre of town here. Great to have you here Alison.

Alison: Thanks for having me Alex.

Alex: Getting straight to the heart of it I suppose, you often come across and you hear on the grapevine the estate agents and letting agents are all tarnished with a similar sort of brush, they’re not very reputable, that they’re dare I say at times sort of lazy, I dare say you feel that’s a fairly unjustified comment. How do yourself ad Lentin Smith sort of fit within that context?

Alison: Ok, well I think it’s simply because those particular agents just aren’t doing their job properly. There’s a lot of different aspects to leasing and property management and what you need is a experienced team of property managers in place to deal with the complex legal and compliance issues that you face, and also people who’ve hot robust systems in place to minimise any issues you may encounter through your tenancies. As a firm, as a business we take a very proactive approach to problem solving and try to help both landlords and tenants through our experiences that we’ve built up over 50 years now in property management, to help them through the difficult times.

Alex: As a landlord what do you actually need to look for in a letting agent, what are the I suppose issues they could come across and what they actually need to prepare? They’ve got a property they want to get onto the market, what do they need to be mindful of?

Alison: Ok, well legally to advertise your property you need a energy performance certificate, an annual landlord gas safety certificate to make sure all your gas appliances are safe, check of your electrics, again just to make sure you’re not putting anyone at risk with no harm or anything there, and obviously insurance for the landlords building.

Alex: How can you ensure as a landlord, how do you find the right tenants on the right basis I suppose quickly because you don’t want a property sitting there idle for so much time, what are the thing you need to get right as a landlord, what do you need in place?

Alison: Absolutely, it’s very unusual really for any property that it is correctly marketed to have any kind of void period in Harrogate now. The tenant demand is growing month by month and we are seeing a massive shortage of all sorts of houses within the Harrogate area. So really to make sure you don’t get this void period you need to basically present your property in the best possible way. By that I mean make sure it’s clean and tidy, any external area, gardens are well presented and obviously clean inside and well decorate it because you want these people to treat it as a home and if you’re expecting them to move in with sub-standard accommodation, quite honestly they’re not going to treat it as you would want them to treat it and it will lead to further problems down the line.

Alex: So, it’s almost like having it in if you like, show home type standard.

Alison: Absolutely yes.

Alex: And I’m assuming sort of does it matter if it’s furnished or unfurnished, is there a preference where we are at the moment?

Alison: I think generally it’s easier to let properties which are unfurnished and then perhaps to have an agreement where you may be willing to provide one or two pieces of furniture if required. It depends if you’re talking about a big detached family home or a small bedsit or two-bed new starter home something like that. But generally, it’s better to let the properties unfurnished and then as a landlord you don’t have that issue at the end of the tenancy where your family heirlooms or items of high value have been left in the property and perhaps have been slightly marked or damaged or just general wear and tear.

Alex: Bit of hot topic but Menwith Hill, the number of employees there I gather, and everyone sort of understands they’re all going back to the States and they were a massive driving force behind this sort of letting market. Have you noticed much of an impact at this point?

Alison: Yeah certainly the last 18 months, the decrease in the number of Menwith Hill workers has had a big impact on certainly the luxury end of the Harrogate housing market, and I think that’s particularly comes through in the upper end of the two-bed apartment rates. We’ve seen they’re certainly coming down slightly in price and there’s less demand for those at the moment.

Alex: Then I suppose on the flip side if I’m a tenant and I’m actively looking, how can I, I suppose, put myself in the best position so that Alison knows about me and I’m going to find that great property to rent out. What do I need to do from a tenancy perspective?

Alison: Ok, you need tom make sure that you can move quickly and when you go to the viewing if your happy with it and you’re in a position to decide quickly.

Alex: There and then do you mean you can strike a deal.

Alison: Strike a deal or yes certainly within 24 hours at the end of the day it’s not our decision who gets to let the properties it’s always the landlord, so we have to get as much information as possible to give to the landlord after viewing for him or her to make that decision. But you know if we feel that person is the right person for the property then you know then let’s close a deal.

Alex: Does it matter about credit reference and that side of things? So, again if you’re a tenant prior to going down the route with yourselves and finding a property, you almost want to go on one of these websites and do all the background checks and ensure that’s all-in line, you look into that nowadays as well?

Alison: Yes, before anybody can move into a property, we’ll do a full credit reference check on them which will include employment checks, salary checks, previous landlord reference, credit reference as well. So, anything that could come back, you’re much better to be honest and upfront about that at your viewing because it’s not something we would look brightly on if it comes out at a later date once the application has been and fees being paid.

Alex: Ok, understand, I mean do most letting agents do that? Is that the standard doing that number of checks?

Alison: That’s the standard now yes.

Alex: How do you get around it? I mean, again, you hear scaremonger albeit that I don’t know, the tenant abuses the property, they paint the walls all black for example, what do you do from a letting agent perspective and indeed a landlord perspective to mitigate that, to ensure that doesn’t happen, or there are no real guarantees, what can you do to protect yourself?

Alison: I can reassure your listeners that it happens very rarely in Harrogate, we’ve got very good properties and very good tenants and very good landlords on the whole. And where there is accidental damage or where there is excessive wear and tear during the tenancy, most tenants are happy to contribute towards the cost of repairing or replacing that at the end of the tenancy. It’s really important that landlords and agents do make regular inspections of the property so any issues that may come to light, you can deal with effectively at the beginning of the tenancy, rather than at the end of the tenancy and we lodge all our deposits through the deposit protection scheme.

Alex: I was going to ask about that, how does that actually work? This is relatively new all of the deposit schemes, just sort of fill everyone in on this.

Alison: So, the deposit protection scheme or the DPS, is a government backed scheme where an agent or a landlord taking the deposit is required to lodge that deposit within 30 days of the start of the tenancy. What a good agent will do is they will go round at the start of the tenancy before they hand the keys over and make a full written and photographic inventory of all the items in the house and the condition at the time the tenants make that commitment to sign the tenancy agreement. That then stands as a benchmark to assess any wear and tear or damage or dilapidations at the end of the tenancy, when another inventory is undertaken with the photographs and you can compare photographic evidence on the table. There are occasions where it isn’t possible to agree the retentions and the dilapidations and at that stage it unfortunately has to go through the DPS adjudication process.

Alex: So, it goes a bit more legal in that case within it actually goes through the government scheme for them to resolve?

Alison: That’s right, the DPS actually hold the tenants deposit, so the tenant doesn’t need to worry that it’s held with the agent or the landlord, so they can take increased confidence that their money is being held by a third party.

Alex: Is there any sort of major or significant difference I suppose from a tenants view point that if the property they’re in is managed either by you as the letting agent or indeed I suppose is managed privately by the landlords, are there things from a tenants point of view that you should be mindful of when entering into a agreement or because of again these government schemes there, it doesn’t really necessarily matter these days?

Alison: I think if you’re renting from a private landlord always check where he’s going to lodge your deposit and make sure that you get the appropriate paperwork so you know where that money’s held and make sure that obviously you’re renting from someone that you feel that you can get along with, perhaps someone that’s local and has local contacts in place if you’ve got a repair, you’re not dealing with an overseas landlord where it may take 2-3 days to get in touch with and that obviously repairs can be actioned promptly.

Alex: There are some very significant organisations really that are specialists in the letting side of things and they use sort of two or three offices locally, where do you feel that Lentin Smith adds value or does something that’s different in comparison to the bigger set-ups if you like?

Alison: As a business we’re set up and run by landlords and they’re a very experienced team of property managers and we are independent, and we do offer a very specialised property management service. We are extremely proud of what we’ve built up over the last eight years and we continue to grow and expand really on the recommendation of our landlords and I think that speaks volumes of how we operate. And I would just like to stress that we are local people, who know the market and as a business we’ve invested in technology to be able to offer our landlords and clients a login portal to access their property information 24/7, which obviously helps them at that awful time of year when you have to do your tax returns or any other accounting information you need to do. We offer wide angle photography, 360-degree virtual tools and floorplans on all our properties now. So, the other tip for landlords when they’re marketing their property is to make sure that the agent has time to do a thorough market appraisal of your property, make sure you’ve got the best photographs and it’s presented in the best light. Also, my advice would be don’t necessarily go with the agent who thinks he can get you the best price. Sometimes it’s that time it takes holding on to that final £25 or whatever it is you’re looking for, that will eat into your costs because you’ve got a longer void period and sometimes it’s those tenants that feel they are paying top dollar on their rent will demand everything to be 100% perfect in their property, 100% of the time, which may cost you more in the long run with monthly repair bills.

Alex: Now, I have from my experience, certainly the marketing side of things, so many letting agents just don’t even bother doing floor plans and it can be sort of infuriating if you’re trying to point a client in the right direction. I suppose almost to finish on this I suppose, you’ve got the luxurious position someone like you that you’re seeing a lot of properties, day-in day-out you must have a lot of funny stories up your sleeve that have happened in your career, please share.

Alison: Well it never ceases to amaze me how many tenants and people will open the door with no clothes on! Not something I’d do but there’s a lot of people out there who don’t seem to mind.

Alex: And they’ve just been caught out!

Alison: Yes, not that they’ve been too embarrassed.

Alex: It does happen. Just remind everyone Alison if they wanted to sort of touch base with you, what’s the best number to reach you on?

Alison: Feel free to call me at the office its 01423 817777 or you can contact us via our website which is

Alex: That’s great Alison, really appreciate your time and thank you for coming in.

This week I’m answering a question from Karen.

Karen: Alex, help! I have seen three estate agents, they all say the same, they all promise to do the same things, I have no idea how to choose between them. I really don’t know what to do?

Alex: Great question and one I actually commonly come across. You’ve got the remember most estate agents are excellent sales people. In addition, some use tactics such as quoting high valuations or putting in low fees just to entice you to sign up with them, so you end up in a bit of a spin. What every homeowner seems to overlook is the agent sat in your kitchen, telling you about the virtues of their company is not actually the person involved the most in incoming telephone calls and walk-in enquiries. This falls to their front of house team. Whilst the agent in your home will see a element of these enquiries, their office-based team are the ones who actually sell your property. So, therefore my advice Karen is to mystery shop your agents as a prospective purchaser, see how well you’re treated, how knowledgeable the staff are. If the agents, you saw are all along similar lines this is the ultimate test on how differentiate. I hope that helps.

Voiceover: The Property Hot Seat

Nicholas: Nicholas Bye.

Voiceover: Business?

Nicholas: VPS.

Voiceover: Time in property?

Nicholas: 2 years.

Alex: Talking about vacant property specialist, just talk everyone through exactly what you do, because I think it’s a really hot area at the moment especially if you’ve got a commercial premises, just talk in just general terms about the services that you guys offer.

Nicholas: So, my role and responsibility is to work with a broad range of clients in and around the Yorkshire and North East region. Our organisation VPS is national however and is to look at the risks that vacant properties incur on a day to day basis, so that can be from a vandalism perspective, theft or the most important one in and around these areas is the insurance aspect of that as well.

Alex: And I know you’ve also got this sort of specialist guardian type service, which you hear bits and pieces of, but I don’t think anyone’s really got any idea as to what that actually entails, and I suppose the financial benefits of doing that as well if you have a empty hotel or bed and breakfast or something like that.

Nicholas: Absolutely so the guardian piece started off in Central London and the idea behind the guardian piece is that we’ve moved so far on from the original security which is just going to a commercial property, putting steels on it and putting alarms on it. At the end of the day that’s a cost to a commercial client so the idea behind the guardian piece is VPS go and source, vet and CRB check tenants that can actually go and live in these properties. So, if you can imagine you’ve got a large property, let’s say Central London, you’ve got a vacant hotel that may cost you upward of £2,000 to secure on a weekly basis. VPS can provide guardians which would actually generate a revenue based on the fact that we would charge them a weekly rental on the property and the most important thing which is why the guardian piece is becoming so popular across the UK is that actually because there are live-in people, specialist guardians that we provide, that would reduce business rates down to council tax.

Alex: Yeah that’s a bit of a key point at the moment, certainly business rates keep on creeping up and up and up. Who are these tenants, how do you find them, who are these sort of individuals that sort of come in and say well I’ll live in a couple of rooms in the hotel, how do you find them and how do they find you?

Nicholas: Well a lot of people seem to think that we go to the local music festivals and hold the board up saying that we’ve got some cheap rooms for rent in Leeds, York or Sheffield but we actually have a specific guardian application system where we have got a portal where we store all the guardians details. Now these are professional people, these are Doctors or Nurses or people that work in the professions that are looking to stay in a certain city due to placements for 6-9 months. We have to do two-years background checking, they have to earn a certain amount of money, and we actually go in and check the properties on a week-in week-out basis to see that they are working in line with our mitigation.

Alex: I mean it’s literally not Fred off the streets, I mean as you said these are very professional individuals and it may be that they’ve got to be based up in Yorkshire during the week because of their job but their family and their base happens to be I don’t know back down south in London, is it that type of individual?

Nicholas: Exactly, and the great thing about the guardian service with VPS is it’s not a case of we will find the person and then go Alex you need to sort the property out. We will actually make the property guardian worthy for you, so if that’s putting partition walls in, putting toilet facilities in because there are certain regulations that you’ve got to abide by, but we actually do all those services in house. So, we can actually take a property and say right that is perfectly suitable for guardians then in a ideal world we would come back to you a couple of months later and say right this is your saving from business rates, council tax and we’ve actually made your property guardian worthy.

Alex: And what happens on the reverse side of it if it’s not a liveable type property, I don’t know it’s a warehouse or it’s a dilapidated pile and you can’t actually put an individual in there or it’s not what the landlord wants, fine you’ve got the security in terms of just boarding it up but then it’s a fairly site, are there any variations of that or any things behind the scenes that you can I suppose make it more aesthetically pleasing?

Nicholas: Yeah, I mean one thing that we developed for that reason was a product called decals. Now we do provide the steel screens and you’re right there are some of the most ugly things you’ve ever seen in your life and probably wouldn’t suit Harrogate town centre very well, so decals are specific steel screens that are designed to place on the outset of the property with exact same security level of steel screens, but you can give us a design that will go on the front of those steel screens, so as you can imagine they can be made up to doors, windows, stain-glass windows if you fancy being really fancy, or anything like that and they can be created completely bespoke to what you want to blend into the high street.

Alex: So, you’re literally printing out a giant sticker to look like the façade of a occupied property.

Nicholas: Exactly and there are examples where unless you go up extremely close to these properties, if you were driving past it would be very difficult to notice the difference and that’s not just to maintain with the local community so it doesn’t stick out, but I would know that if I was a prospective buyer driving past these sites, the decals would look much more attractive to where I see that property going, as opposed to just steel screens that are placed on it outside of them.

Alex: Absolutely, as I suppose everyone then if you’ve got exposed windows, everyone’s worried about vandalism and graffiti and dare I say sort of people getting inside, how does that actually work from a pure security point of view when you talk about sort of cameras and remote sort of video monitoring?

Nicholas: Yes, so because with the one-stop shop when it comes to these solutions in terms of what we can provide, the alarms that we offer that have been developed, built and installed by our in-house teams, because situations are always going to arise no matter if you put steel on the property or guardians where unfortunately there may be break ins at the site. Now because of these alarms that we’ve developed in-house that are responded to by our in-house team, we’ve got 27 service centres nationally across the UK, with over 500 staff that are on the ground so you can imagine we’ve got our own RVRC system, which is basically our own alarm monitoring system, which is based in Manchester so all those are recorded and monitored by our in-house team, so if someone does for whatever reason break into the property we’ve got the ability to respond to that on a very timely manner. The great things about the alarms is based on the fact that a lot of these properties are vacant, you don’t want to be having to switch utilities on and the risk of utilities being left on, they are all wireless and they are all battery powered as well. So, there is no need to have any wires running around the property and there’s no need to have any form of power rigged to it either.

Alex: And then obviously it’s not a case of someone creeping in and cutting a wire and they can get in because again all of that side of things is backed up as well.

Nicholas: Exactly, and the actual alarm unit that we create itself is made from the same material as riot shield, it’s got a anti tamper device and it’s not one of those kind of things that you would just stick on the wall and you can go and pull off. There are actually videos on YouTube with people taking baseball bats to these things and so much so that if they do manage to do some damage to it, it will lay down and play dead but will still carry on sending a signal tour service centre.

Alex: Got you, so you really are secure if you’re away. And we’re obviously I suppose sending the commercial owners mindful, worried, that given the summer is supposedly upon us with the weather soon, everyone hopes, you’ve obviously got summer parties and raves and you always hear about them crashing into a sort of office or a warehouse. What sort of things could you provide if you were an empty warehouse and you’re worried about that, what would you go through? I know we talked about the screens and videos but are there any other sort of pointers that you would give for those landlords or owners?

Nicholas: Absolutely, I mean there are certain elements that would apply to certain properties depending on the size of it. The most important thing and the most important message that I give to my clients is that the solution is cheaper and easier than the cure, so once people like that actually get in to the property, it’s extremely difficult to get them out. So simple things like concrete barriers that we can provide over the entrance, a lot of people don’t think like that, because people cannot actually get their cars or vehicles onto the site, so concrete barriers are a massive massive deterrent for people like that. So that is one of the biggest tips that I can give to people to look at the simple approach because sometimes the simplest solution is the most effective one.

Alex: And what about the point of insurance because again obviously if a property’s lived in, and we’ve talked about the guardian side of things, your insurance is going to be one thing, if you’ve got a vacant property, how does that sort of work and what are the measures you should take?

Nicholas: Yeah, we work with the biggest commercial insurers we work with AXA, we work with Alliance and Standard Life and we are their preferred supplier purely because of the measures that we go to ensure that a property is insurance compliant. Now, if I was to say to you what you think you need to do to ensure that a property is of a certain standard when it is vacant, can you give me some of the things that you believe?

Alex: Everyone always thinks of things sort of locking up the door, turning off the lights and sorting out the service and as you said probably putting in a video camera, but I guess it’s always going to be the small things everyone’s going to forget.

Nicholas: Absolutely so its little things like and a lot of people don’t know this but the sealing of the letterbox. Now that may just be a £25 transaction to get that done but the majority the main insurers, if that action is not taken would not pay out if something was to happen at the site. We have had specific examples of this at VPS with extremely large expensive office blocks that’s located in the city centre. Now the reason why is if you can imagine that you’ve got a open letterbox and if you vacated the site, the post and the junk mail isn’t going to stop coming. So, it piles up and piles up behind the letterbox, all someone needs to do is go in there and put a match through it and the buildings aflame.

Alex: And it’s gone.

Nicholas: And that is your responsibility to ensure that that letterbox has been sealed otherwise technically the combustibles behind that, they have been given access to so it’s extremely important and again one of the biggest things and all the sites that I drive past, it’s always the main thing that people don’t pick up on is ensuring that that letterbox is sealed.

Alex: So, a £25 seal could save you literally millions, because if an insurer doesn’t pay out you’re on your own.

Nicholas: Yes, and as we know insurers will do whatever they can to not pay out and so it’s important that from your perspective that you’ve got the confidence in the person that you know is going to the site knows what they are looking for and knows what they need to be securing from a vacant property perspective.

Alex: And have you got any sort of examples in Yorkshire of sites and properties that you’ve helped?

Nicholas: Absolutely, I mean we deal with such a broad range of property wherever that be from because we’ve got a social arm of our company as well so whether that be the local housing associations that we work with, or right up to the real big projects and one of those, well the bet example was probably Hickleton Hall, which is based in Doncaster, it’s a extremely large stately home, stately home are full of things that people would like to remove from stately homes, copper wiring, lead on the roof, or the boilers, so we were tasked by the company Sue Ryder the charity that actually owned the property after they closed it down unfortunately, to go in and provide the most effective, cost effective security solution. Now man guarding is another thing to come on, it’s one of those things that people will always revert to when looking for security, but because of the ever-spiralling cost the increase of national living wage, for some companies it’s not just a viable security solution. So, we went in there and done one of our full free site risk assessments where we go in and do a 52-point check question on the property, look at what it needs, is it low, medium risk, we’ll also do an evaluation of the local area, look at crime statistics and provide a solution, bespoke solution based on what we believe that site needs. And in this instance for Hickleton Hall we secured the entire property with our steel screens on the outside, also providing internal security alarms as well to monitor that as well as smoke alarms. Now the reason we provide smoke alarms is that Hickleton Hall prior to us installing the smoke alarms, they were receiving five or six call outs from the fire department every single week, now I didn’t actually know this but as soon as you go over a certain amount of call outs by the fire brigade they will start to fine you. So, they were fining Hickleton Hall between fifteen to sixteen hundred pounds a week for unfulfilled call outs basically. So, its £6,000 a month which Is basically going down the drain. So because we can go and install our smoke detectors and we can respond to that, I can assure you our call out charge is significantly less than that, and it’s much much better monitored in terms of the fact that we can respond to it with a local team as opposed to dragging resource out of local government and have to send that to basically what is a unfulfilled call out charge.

Alex: So, it sounds like Fort Knox that one.

Nicholas: It needed to be Fort Knox, there was round about half a million pound of lead that was on the roof alone. Because of the high profile of the site it was in the local paper it was in the local news, everyone who would want to go into a site to remove tings would have been made aware of it quite quickly.

Alex: And the obvious question, did anyone get in and steal the £500,000 lead roof?

Nicholas: Before we were there, there was an issue at site, there was numerous issues at site and then it was raised to us we managed to secure the property within 24 hours and there has been zero issues at that site since.

Alex: Well you heard it here first. Nick it’s fantastic to talk with you and hear just a bit more of an insight into VPS. Now if anyone wanted to touch base with you and talk about any of their issues, what’s the best number to reach you on?

Nicholas: The best number to contact me on, I’ll give you my email address which is and the best contact number is my mobile number which is 07738818874.

Alex: Nick fantastic and thanks so much for coming on.

Nicholas: Thank you very much.

Alex: When it comes to our homes we form such an emotional connection and for many of us we work very hard over numerous years to be able to afford the property in the first place so when it comes to selling our beloved home, many homeowners lose sight that it’s our most sizeable financial asset. So why do some choose to cut a corner? It defies all logic to instruct a conveyancing solicitor because they were cheap, or an estate agent who will sell your home for £50 for the same reason, or have that extension done because the builder could get lower quality materials. My absolute top tip is to never cut a corner when it comes to your home. It is the one asset that has been historically proven to be the safest investment you can make over the medium to long term. So, if you’re going to add value with an extension get it done to the appropriate standard. A cheap estate agent or solicitor will only cost you down the line. Value for money does not mean the cheapest or indeed the most expensive deal, it’s about getting the job done for the best result at the right price. As with everything in life you get what you pay for, so don’t make it at the expense of your most valuable asset.

What a show. That’s all from the Alex Goldstein Property Show (Part 4). More details, tips, tricks and industry insight can be found on the website and of course all my social media channels. Alternatively drop me a line on Make sure as well you look out for my new Yorkshire Post property column which is out in late July. The next episode is out on the 1 August so make sure you tune in for that. Until next time.

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