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Unbiased buy to let, property investment and letting coaching, mentoring, advice and seminars for landlords from top selling property author and media commentator.

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Insurance for Landlords and Finding Good Builders – by LettingFocus.com

Fed up with lousy unprofessional builders, plumbers and the like?
You know the sort!
They are the ones who do that funny noise where they breathe in through their teeth just before telling you that fixing this or that is going to cost you thousands.
They don’t “do” written quotes, they slag off other tradesmen, they are not members of trade associations, they don’t have public liability insurance cover, they don’t provide references, they don’t complete the job on time, they want to be paid in cash (to cheat the taxman), they start late, bugger off for weeks on end and when at last they do finish, they leave your house a mess because they have never heard of dust sheets and they don’t seem to own a vacuum cleaner.
You’ve seen the TV programme “Rogue Traders” so I’m sure you get the picture.
Well, these days, the internet has meant there are lots of great sites out there where members of the public can write recommendations or alternatively post bad reviews.
One decent site I have used recently is RatedPeople.com.
With this lot, what you do is post the job you want doing on line at the site and the site then selects 3 local builders / plumbers/ heating engineers (or whatever it is you want done).
They contact you and you then get the ones you like round to quote for the job.
Then, once the job is done you can go back and write about how they did.
You can also read reviews that other people have written and use that to decide for yourself about which contractor to use.
With RatedPeople the tradesman pays a listing fee of about £50 a quarter and another fee for each lead he chases up.
Now, of course, it is not impossible to cheat the site.
Most obviously, a builder could get some mates to write specs for non existent jobs and then write up about how fantastically well he did - which is why you should always check and go and see reference sites yourself.
But I think sites like these are a good idea and hopefully will make it hard for duff builders and tradesmen to continue in business.
Other similar sites are Problemsolved.co.uk, Mybuilder.com, Trustmark.org.uk and FindaBuilder.co.uk. Check them out and see how they work too.
For more on finding a good builder, read our article: Choosing Builders and Tradesmen

There seem to be ever more and better features under landlords insurance these days.
Many companies under their property letting insurance cover now include malicious damage by tenants as a standard feature, for example.
I’m also getting bomarded by landlords insurance companies wanting to advertise at our site – a sure sign that competition is really coming to town for insurance for let properties.
It is nearly always cheaper going to a broker than sticking with your mortgage lender for landlords insurance.
For more on getting cover for let property, read our article: Landlords Insurance.
Right now, we have a great arrangement with UKInsurance.net for landlords' insurance products covering such insurances as rent guarantee cover and property insurance.
Just click on Insurance for Let Property and don't forget to quote our reference code, LFOC to get the best rates from them.
I’m David Lawrenson of LettingFocus.com - the property letting experts. Read Property Articles.
I’m the author of “Successful Property Letting” which for the last 3 years has been the UK’s top selling property book - buy Property Investing Book.
The new edition is for accidental and experienced landlords and is fully up to date with all the recent changes to tenancy deposit schemes, HMOs, licensing and capital gains taxes.
I’m an expert property writer and property speaker - and I run the well known property letting blog that you are reading now.
I contribute to newspapers and a host of property websites, write a number of columns in the press and I provide general advice on property letting and consulting to anyone looking to buy property for themselves or to let out. I can help private individuals with any aspect of buying property or buy to let.
What’s unique about lettingfocus.com is that we offer independent unbiased property investment advice because unlike most people in the buy to let and property “advice” business we are not linked to a property company, developer, agent or bridging loan financier and do not receive commissions from these sources.
On the contrary, we are often asked to evaluate other property investments.
Find out about some great deals we have arranged at our Landlords Links page.
Copyright: David Lawrenson 2009. This blog is updated roughly once a week.
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