UK Special: Trust me, I’m an estate agent…

If you have yet to buy your first overseas investment property, you may have heard of the horror stories from those who have. From blowing £185 to change a lightbulb (approx. S$394) to paying close to S$20,000 for a furnishing package on a one-bedroom apartment, it is always a risk you have to undertake when you’re putting your hard earned savings into what could potentially be a poor investment decision.

In the UK, you would almost always be served by a professional broker when it comes to investing in stocks, shares, gilts etc. Property investors, however, are at a disadvantage – you do not have access to the same level of professionals who can help with managing your asset from miles away.

Take it from me – I’ve been in the industry for over 30 years, and there’s nothing I have not witnessed: overcrowding in studio apartments (nine occupants – imagine that!), and tenants lighting floors on fire to keep warm in the winter, just because they did not know how to operate the thermostat.

It doesn’t take much to be an estate agent in the UK; while excellent firms are few and far between, qualifications are easily attainable, and in all honesty, all you really need is the ability to rock the shiny suit and walk with a swagger to pull it off.

Overseas landlords who are not physically present most of the time would usually appoint an agent to manage his/her apartment, but this is where things start going south. The typical course of action would be to appoint an agent who is within close proximity to the location of your property. Alternatively, let the developer who sold you the property recommend one; truth be told, however, this never comes without vested interest.

At the end of the day, the properties you purchase overseas should be treated as an investment, no less. “What was the return on investment on my property in the past 12 months?” should never be a question that your estate agent is avoiding like the plague, but merely a conversation starter.

Just to give you another example of the norm here: I once had an estate agent spend £500 of my money on a replacement microwave. I was not fazed by the price of the microwave, but it was the fact that the installation fees cost me more than the microwave itself that was appalling!

Complete RPI (Residential Property Investments) was the brainchild birthed out of my harrowing experiences. There is a growing market, and an increasing need to provide a commercial approach when it comes to owning residential property as an asset class.

Today, we at Complete RPI manage over 1,000 properties across the UK, and I’d proudly declare ourselves specialists. Let us serve you better.

Ask yourself:

  • Have you received totally impartial advice when it comes to UK Property Investment?
  • Are you happy with your UK property agent?
  • Has your UK investment property increased its rental income significantly over the past few years?
  • Does your UK investment property have a 98% occupancy rate?
  • Did you realise that you can release equity from your UK investment property?

If you answered NO to any of the above, please contact us – Complete RPI makes YES a common factor!

Click here to find out more about asset management for your UK property portfolio today.


Rupert Smith
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