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Nicola Fulford

Nicola celebrating after becoming accredited Relocation Agent specialist.

Nicola Fulford from Dawsons branch in Gorseinon is celebrating after becoming an accredited Relocation Agent specialist

The accreditation was awarded by Relocation Agent Network (RAN) and is achieved by completing a comprehensive online training programme, The Importance of Service.

A national network of independent estate agents, of which Dawsons is a member, RAN introduced the training programme to ensure each of their members provides the very highest customer service to those relocating around the UK.

Dawsons Senior Partner Chris Hope said: “We take staff development very seriously and Nicola’s Relocation Agent Network accreditation is a great example of what can be achieved when staff are supported properly to improve their skill set.

“Of course, having RAN specialists in the team is also great for our relocating customers.”

To be successfully accredited, participants must complete three phases of learning, which begins with four training sessions on the importance of customer service. This is followed by three online seminars covering the Relocation Agent Network Referral Process and how best to help customers who are relocating around the UK. Finally, participants must convert their theoretical learning into a practical skill set by delivering assistance to three relocating customers.

By working with fellow members across England, Scotland and Wales, Relocation Agent Network members provide an exclusive relocation referral service to customers.

For those relocating to Gorseinon and the surrounding areas, Dawsons guides their customers through the daunting task of moving to an unfamiliar location. This includes local area information on schools and amenities, popular neighbourhoods and (of course) finding the right property for them. The introduction of a Relocation Agent Specialist to the Dawsons team, ensures that this process is made even smoother.

Relocation Agent Network’s Managing Director, Richard Tucker said: “Selected by us as the best independent estate agent to represent the Network in Gorseinon, Dawsons have proved themselves as the area’s Local Expert.

“So, with the addition of an in-house Relocation Agent Specialist, they have gone one step further to provide relocating buyers and sellers with the very best customer service.”

Leon Atolagbe, Dawsons Senior Negotiator. talking to new landlords at an open evening at the Marina Office

Dawsons hosts successful open evening to welcome new landords

Dawsons has held a very successful open evening at their Marina Office to welcome new landlords.

Dawsons acquired Marina & SA1 properties in mid-June, and it seems the landlords and tenants alike have taken to this merger with ease.

“It has been a very smooth transition for all involved and we have very much enjoyed meeting our new customer base in recent weeks both by phone, email and face-to-face in our office,” said Ricky Purdy, Dawsons Director of Lettings.

“Our most recent event saw our newly-acquired landlords relaxing and enjoying a nice glass of Pimms with nibbles, and catching up with Irene, who has joined us in the merger with Marina & SA1 properties, and also meeting our well established rental team.

“It was a very busy evening, full of positive discussions on how Dawsons will continue to manage the landlords’ properties with the great customer service they had previously received.

“Along with that there are some extra benefits which include: access to a wider scope of contractors, our links nationwide with other well established agents and our technical reporting system providing the landlords with online property visit reports, giving them the ability to see the internal condition of their property throughout the tenancy.”

Dawsons Senior Lettings staff member Leon was there to welcome all Dawsons’ guests and talk them through all aspects of the transition in management.

Also on hand was Legionella Risk Assessor Ian who was able to answer any questions regarding the recent need for risk assessments of property water supplies.  Dawsons’ Marina office senior administrator Laura was able to assist some landlords with any Rent Smart Wales queries.

Added Ricky: “Our staff in the newly merged Marina office have worked extremely well together throughout the coalition of both companies and look forward to the future as one even bigger team with even greater experience and property knowledge to boot.”

Tim Kostromin, Partner with Dawsons with the Land & New Homes Team, Viv Jones, Janey Harris and Lisa Davies at the award-winning Bethany Lane development in Mumbles by Hale Homes

Dawsons selected to join exclusive national land and homes network

Dawsons has been selected by the Land and New Homes Network (LNHN) as the leading estate agent continues to develop its expertise in the booming land and new homes sector.

The Land and New Homes Network (LNHN) is a UK-wide organisation which brings leading estate agents together to offer developers, property investors and home buyers an unparalleled service based on knowledge, experience and integrity.

Dawsons was selected for their: “professionalism, experience and their focus on delivering results for clients”, and by being chosen by LNHN it has strengthened the firm’s position in order to provide land and development consultancy to clients and a specialised new homes sales service.

“We are very pleased to be selected as the LNHN’s agent for Swansea, Carmarthenshire, and the surrounding areas,” said Tim Kostromin, Partner with Dawsons.

“Being in our 11th year as a dedicated department, we are already well-established as the area’s only land and new homes specialist, however this selection means we can deliver even better results for our clients.

“The Government has made addressing the housing shortage a priority so with thousands of new homes needed we’ve been proactive to ensure our clients will benefit from the best advice and coverage available.

“The network’s national coverage means we have relationships with builders, developers, investors and estate agents from across the UK. This is good for anyone selling land or new homes with us, as it increases the amount of potential buyers enormously.

“And it means more choice and better quality for local people looking to buy a new home.”

Ian Stratford, Land and New Homes Network’s Managing Director, said: “We are really looking forward to working together.

“Dawsons is exactly the type of agency we want as part of the network. They were selected for their professionalism, experience and their focus on delivering results for clients.”

If you own land or a property that you think might have development potential please call Dawsons’ Land & New Homes team on 01792 653100 for a confidential conversation.

CAPTION: Tim Kostromin, Partner with Dawsons, with the Land and New Homes team, Viv Jones, Janey Harris and Lisa Davies at the award-winning Bethany Lane development in Mumbles by Hale Homes.

My view on recent EU events – by leading estate agent Chris Hope

Whilst for months the question leading up to the EU referendum revolved around whether you were in or out, the query currently on everyone’s lips, no matter what their personal or professional standpoint, has to be – “what now?” Here Chris Hope, Partner at Dawsons Estate Agents, provides his view on the UK’s recent exit from the European Union and helps you figure out what’s next for you, your clients and the wider property market…

Business as usual

My view on our recent Brexit is simply business as usual, but for professionals everywhere, regardless of their niche or agency size, it is important to remain clear and positive when it comes to our immediate business future.

Following the momentous decision of the British people to leave the EU I have discussed the potential ‘fall out’ calmly and positively with many of my RAN business contacts across the UK to give both fellow industry insiders and our clients a local expert opinion to help maintain confidence and ensure that we have a clear message to offer to all of our audiences.

The market’s reaction

It would appear that the money markets had not anticipated the ‘out’ vote, however, the Governor of The Bank of England, Mark Carney, has addressed the press with a very calm and confident statement reassuring all that there are contingency plans in place to shore-up the banks and avoid any immediate turmoil.

Key points to takeaway in light of our recent exit from the EU include:

  • The Bank of England has huge reserves & plans to react positively to the vote
  • The stock market has not crashed and it has been lower this year!
  • Intent from ‘overseas money’ clients to buy property has been immediate
  • We still have a 500,000-person strong population growth and evidently they have to live somewhere
  • The majority of the Great British public are very positive about the result

All the points mentioned above offer some reassurance for what for many has been a shock result, but what’s next for our economy, our security, our relationships with the rest of the world and, more importantly, factors that affect us and our clients a little closer to home?

In short…

Well maybe not that short! There may well be a period of re-adjustment, but people will always need a home and will still need to get on with their lives. If prices do need to adjust, we need to remember that if you lose £10,000 on your own house, you will gain it on whatever you buy next. There continues to be strong demand to live in this area and that will never change because this is a nice place to live.

Are people really wanting to put their lives on hold? I doubt it very much. Clients need to be thinking about other factors rather than just the financial consequences of not moving, such as not getting into the right school area, living in a cramped environment etc., plus what goes down will come back up – it’s just a timing issue. Most purchasers don’t purchase with a short time period in mind.

Will property still remain an asset?

The fundamentals underpinning property as an asset are largely unaffected by the vote. In fact, the UK’s population will continue to rise even if EU immigration is curtailed. But the fact remains we are still not building anywhere near enough new homes to meet the rising demand. These supply-side failures continue to cushion property values from other negative influences.

Currently on offer is a 5-year fixed, interest only mortgage at 2.45%, and potentially rates might come down even further. These are once in a lifetime mortgage deals and considerably offset any price reduction.

What’s next for you and your clients?

If you or your clients are waiting for a market that allows them to buy cheaply, with prices then rising, with low interest rates and a huge selection to choose from then they’re dreamers. That market has never existed, and our job is to highlight the pros and cons of current market conditions and make sure that our clients make informed decisions.

Whatever does happen next, the market will find its equilibrium. People will still die, divorce and decide to move, and whether they choose to rent or buy, let or sell, we shall still be in a position to give them professional advice enabling them to make the right choice to suit their circumstances. A difficult marketplace will mean a successful marketplace for us, and those without the knowledge, confidence and experience are likely to fall by the wayside leaving only the strong agents to deal with the transactions.

The market is what it is and as always Dawsons will find a way to make the best of it. We are very good at that having successfully traded for 25 years!

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Dawsons hammer home the success of auctions

This year has been a hugely successful year for Dawsons Auctions! Whether you are looking to sell a property with potential or purchase that perfect project property an auction could be for you.

In the past year Dawsons has been taking project properties and selling them to the highest bidder with great results.

An increased demand for both vendors and purchasers has been proved in the yearly results. In the past 12 months Dawsons Auctions has been hugely successful – 91% of properties on the auction book sold! At the last auction on 7th October, 94% of properties sold.

For a vendor looking for a speedy sale and certainty that a buyer won’t pull out auctions are the way to go. Once the hammer falls, the buyer puts down a 10% deposit and is given one month to pay the 90% of the cost.

Auction is also the perfect environment for buyers who are looking for a project property that they can then live in, convert for a rental income, or fix and re-sell.

“Buying a house or flat at a property auction is a much more transparent way to buy a house. You’ll see other bids as they are made, rather than having to take the estate agent’s word for it,” said Julie Lawry of Dawsons Auctions.

With the last auction for 2015 just finished, Dawsons Auctions has no intention of slowing down next year. To find out what all the excitement is about join us for next auction in 2016, 24th February at 3:00pm at the Swansea Marriott Hotel.

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Tax changes to buy-to-let – how it will affect landlords

In the first all-Conservative budget since 1997, the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced the amount of tax relief that landlords will be able to claim on the interest of their mortgage payments will be reduced.

The changes mean property investors who currently claim top rates of tax relief of 40% and 45% will only be able to claim relief in the future at the basic rate of tax, currently 20%. Here David Treharne of Mortgage Advice Bureau discusses how this will affect landlords.

What is tax relief?

Tax relief is something that allows you to pay less tax so you can account for money you need to spend on things like expenses. It can also allow you to get tax repaid in other ways, such as straight into a personal pension.

As landlords, as your buy-to-let properties are classed as self-employed businesses, you are currently able to get tax relief and deduct some of your running costs from your taxable profit, so long as they are allowable expenses.

How will the tax rates change?

Under the new rules, landlords will not be able to deduct the cost of the interest on their mortgage from their rental income.

For example, currently, if your property earns £20,000 per year and the interest-only mortgage costs £13,000 per year, you will pay tax on the £7,000 profit. If you currently pay the higher 40% tax rate, this means you will pay £2,800 in tax per year.

Under the same circumstances in 2020, however, the full rental income of £20,000 will be taxable by 40%, if you fall under this tax bracket, meaning, after taking away the new basic-rate tax relief of 20% on your interest-only mortgage payment of £13,000 (20% of £13,000 = £2,600), you are left to pay £5,400 per year – an increase of 93%.

That sounds confusing. Will these changes be implemented over time to give landlords chance to adjust?

The withdrawal of the higher-rate reliefs will be phased in over a period of four years, in order to help landlords adjust to the lower relief level, and nothing will happen until April 2017.

It will then be implemented in four stages:

Stage one
From April 6th 2017, the higher-rate tax relief can still be claimed on the first 75% of your mortgage interest costs. The remaining 25% will have the basic rate of tax relief applied.

Stage two
From April 6th 2018, the amount of tax relief you can claim at the higher rates will drop to 50% of your mortgage interest costs. The remaining 50% will have the basic rate of tax relief applied.

Stage three
From April 6th 2018, the higher-rate tax relief can only be applied to 25% of your mortgage interest costs. The remaining 75% will be at the basic rate.

Stage four
From April 6th 2020, you will only be able to claim tax relief at the basic rate level.

If you have any furnished holiday lets, this restriction will not apply.

These changes will be published and are expected to be passed in the 2015 Summer Finance Bill.

How can you assess the impact these changes will have on you? 

There is still time for landlords to forward-plan so they do not have to suddenly increase rents. For any landlords currently investing in property, or considering expanding their portfolio, it is wise to speak to an independent mortgage adviser to discuss these changes. It is also worth talking to a property tax expert to see if there are any other tax breaks you could take advantage of.

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Dawsons shortlisted for award as Best Agent in South Wales

Leading estate agent Dawsons has been shortlisted by Relocation Agent Network, a national network of selected estate agents, for the 2015 Best Agent Award in the South Wales Region.

The winner will be announced at a black tie evening awards dinner held at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, London on Friday, November 13th –an event being hosted by comedian Tim Vine.

The nomination comes on the back of Dawsons being crowned ‘Sunday Times Rental agent of the Year’.

“We are delighted to be shortlisted for Relocation Agent Network’s Best Agent Regional Award. It really does highlight the team’s effort, commitment and enthusiasm over the past 12 months,” said Dawsons Senior Director Chris Hope.

Relocation Agent Network’s 2015 Best Agent South Wales Region Award is an annual prize for the agent that has consistently made the best overall contribution to the Network throughout the year and offers nominees the chance to become the Network’s ‘Best Network Agent in the South Wales Region’.

To reach this stage of the award programme, agents must demonstrate excellent customer service, innovative business initiatives and a commitment to the Relocation Agent Network principles.

Richard Tucker, Relocation Agent Network’s Managing Director commented: “As a network of selected estate agents, made up of 16 regions across England, Scotland and Wales, our regional awards recognise those agents that truly demonstrate outstanding customer service and innovative business initiatives. Congratulations to Dawsons for their well deserved nomination.”

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From run-down house, to dream family home – one family tells their home story of a self-build project

We were so glad to hear from one of our families who bought a property from us and transformed it into their dream home. They saw potential in a small run-down house in the village of Pwll and began to convert it into their ideal home that ticked all of their boxes. Now they reflect on their journey through the whole process.

Elgin Road in Pwll, an area that wouldn’t first come to mind when searching for a dream home, is where our vendor found their “forever home” after exhausting the property market to no avail.

After what our vendor would describe as a moment of madness by her husband, the pair found themselves in a little village called Pwll facing an “old tiny run-down house.” Our vendor’s reaction was “why on earth would he bring me here?”, but her husband asked her to look beyond the house and there it was, a breathtaking view that sealed the purchase of this tiny run down house within just five minutes of being there!

This was the moment in which they decided this was the location for their dream home, and that they were going to build that dream home to match and to enjoy with family and friends.

The benefit of building your own home, according to our vendor, is that you can make your criteria ‘tick sheet’ a reality. Our vendor’s tick sheet was quite lengthy and included many factors that had prompted their plans to move, factors such as needing space for their three young teenagers to hang out with friends, whilst also wanting to be close to their ageing parents.

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Elgin Road is a home that offers something for all members of the family; it boasts generous room sizes and a self-contained living accommodation that’s ideal for a teenager or relative to live in. This is all without mentioning one of the main focuses of the build, the property’s outstanding views. The lounge and bedrooms have their own balconies where the family can sit out and admire the same view that convinced them to buy what they will always know as “the tiny run-down house”.

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The family are now able to enjoy a once unthought-of location that has links to the millennium costal path, beach walks for the dogs, and strolls to the local pub for a quiet evening meal and drink, all within just a five minute walk.

Has this family’s venture got you thinking about your next property?