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Mortgage Lenders Cutting Out Brokers. Plus A Comment on Gumtree from Lawrenson of LettingFocus.com

Another rather laughable consequence of the credit crunch and how UK mortgage lenders have responded to it is the way that lenders have now closed some of their best mortgage deals to brokers.
The fact is that most buy to let mortgages have hitherto been arranged mostly through mortgage brokers. This might seem strange in itself as volumes now match the numbers of first time buyer mortgages taken out. In other words, buy to let ought to by now be a core part of many banks and building societies business.
But go into any high street branch or ring one of their dark satanic call centres and ask about a buy to let mortgage and then ask them a simple question, for example “What is a tenancy deposit scheme?” and you will draw a complete blank along the lines of “Sorry, Computer says No”
Try it, its fun!
The fact is that most bank and building society staff have not got a clue about buy to let. So it will be interesting to see whether they now try to completely cut the mortgage broker out of the buy to let arena.
Unless they massively improve the training of their staff and the quality of the info they provide directly, they will be on to a loser if they do! And if I were a broker I would not forget any bank or building society that messes them around now when the good times roll again.

Gumtree is a popular free site where landlords can directly advertise property to let for no charge without having to go through an agent.
OK, you need to update your ad every day to stay top of the list so would-be tenants can find you but hey, nothing is without cost.
Gumtree is very strong in London and I understand it also works in Manchester quite well, though it is a bit weak (or even non existent) in one or two other spots where I have property.
I’m telling you all this because I have been marketing one of my properties on it recently and have got a high level of response - and much better in terms of numbers than I’m getting from some of the other “only available to letting agencies portals”
But anecdotally I often hear that the sites that are only available to agents DO tend to get tenants who are able to pay a higher rent. Maybe that is a function of the demographic of tenants and the success of Rightmove’s and other portals branding. I’m not sure.
The facts often seem to be that a good letting agent will be able to get a higher rent than you can doing it yourself & often more than covering your fee to them -which should be no more than 8% on a 12 month tenancy term by the way.
But back to Gumtree and the like….If you are letting directly using one of these free to landlord sites, you’ll come up against the Great British Public (well if you are in London, the would-be tenants won't actually be from Britain, but the same “people based rules” still apply!)
Inevitably, you’ll get calls from people who say, “It sounds great, we just have to see it today.”
They always sound all super-keen and naturally have immaculate refs & I have often gone out of my way to do a viewing.
Now, I have learned my lesson because inevitably, these sorts of people always turn out to be the most dreadful timewasters who will want you to knock 10% off the rent and actually have very poor references indeed.
It does not matter where in the world they come from, there seems to be in all populations and peoples an equal number of people who are very pushy but very wasteful of others time.
I have found that the ones who will REALLY want to rent my places and who are straight talking and positive are always those who are polite and a bit laid back on the phone. They are not pushy but easy going and will view the property when you can fit them in.
We are taking a break for a week. Next post will be in 2 weeks time.
I’m David Lawrenson a buy to let experts from lettingfocus.com.
I’m the author of “Successful Property Letting - How to Make Money in Buy to Let” which for the last 2 years has been the UK’s top selling property title: buy the UK's top selling property investment book
It is fully up to date with all the recent changes to tenancy deposit schemes, HMOs, licensing, capital gains taxes and it has new sections on buying property below market value. I’m an expert property speaker and a well known property blogger and I contribute to newspapers and a host of property websites, write a number of columns in the press and I can provide help for landlords
Check out where I was recently featured in the Daily Telegraph: http://propertyclub.telegraph.co.uk/Page/View/266
I also work as a consultant helping banks, building societies, housing associations and web portals with their buy to let and property products and services and am a regular speaker at property shows.
You can read more of my blog & find details of my networking, advice, property investors networking programme at my website.What’s unique about lettingfocus.com is that we offer property investment mentoring because unlike most people in the buy to let and property “advice” business we are not linked to a property company, a developer, an agent or bridging loan financier and do not receive commissions from any of these sources.If a property investment is lousy – We’ll tell you straight and we will tell you all about buy to let and property investment - the good and the bad and we won’t make silly promises that you’ll become a millionaire overnight.
Copyright: David Lawrenson 2008. This blog is updated once a week. Permission must be sought before using the material in the blog.

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