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Under the skin of the letting market

Here we share news and views on both the local letting market in & around Oxfordshire and all planned and recent legislation.


Proper Portfolio Management


Many people talk about ‘portfolio management’, but at Finders Keepers we have been delivering robust Property Portfolio Management services to private residential landlords, commercial developers and institutional landlords throughout Oxfordshire for decades and particularly for Oxford rental properties. Our activity spans the entire management process from identifying new property investments through to letting, managing and (when required) advising on disposals and handling sales.

“We have always acted for clients with large portfolios right from our inception,” said Frank Webster, who during the past +25 years, has focused his efforts on this specialist approach.

“Such clients have some similarities – return on investment is paramount; discretion is essential; professionalism is demanded – but also differences in how actively they trade stock; how much they want to be involved in the daily operations; their reporting structure and frequency; their investment timelines; and also the types of personalities they enjoy working with. It quickly became clear that we needed to offer a tailored service and high-calibre staff who could adapt their skills to suit.”

Phased and clever refurbishment will maximise yields during capital investment

Property Department Manager Carly Jarvis adds: “I really enjoy working with our interesting mix of clients, who range from educational institutions and land agents to corporate and large-scale individual investors. They have a diverse range of property portfolios from individual leasehold or freehold property portfolios through to mixed-use residential/commercial sites and complete blocks of apartments.”

Property Manager Andrew Mole echoes Carly’s comments: “We have the expertise to manage and maximise the return for the client’s investment portfolio. We agree a strategy from the outset and work to a strict set of Key Performance Indicators. These are reviewed at regular meetings with the client and cover a range of data from the current return on the investment to justifying and planning future expenditure.

“I am always determined to ensure we deliver what we promise. Although my head is always potentially ‘on the block’, I cannot think of a time when I have reported any voids or negative financial news such as unpaid rents. I feel very humbled when my suggestions on improvements to a property or how to handle a certain situation are supported and sanctioned by the client – often this can involve overseeing a complete refurbishment project with a budget of over £50K where I work closely with our in-house building and furnishing Project Managers at Bricks & Mortar and Decorum Interiors.”

Solid, attractive central 2-bedroom apartments for singles, couples or corporate tenants

“Because of our proven track record,” continued Frank, “we were recently asked to advise an Oxford College wanting to acquire a unique portfolio in central Oxford. I already had my eye on the scheme and had done my homework with the help of our Client Account Manager, Tracey Wheeler, who thrives on the vital spreadsheet work, and our Central Oxford Office Manager, Sandra Rose, who advised on the potential rents.

“We were able to provide immediate income and expenditure projections so the Bursar was then able to present quickly and accurately to his finance committee, who sanctioned the £7 million purchase. We are half-way through taking over the portfolio which had previously been purely let for short-term lets. After analysis, these did not stack up on an ongoing basis. Our involvement goes beyond finding tenants and fixing broken boilers: we are advising on phased refurbishments to maximise income over both short and long term and managing the estate in the most cost-effective way.

“The acquisition of this portfolio will enable us to meet the growing demand for Oxford rental properties in Oxford, particularly for 1- and 2-bedroom homes for singles, couples and ‘small’ families. As you will have read in the media, first-time

buyers are getting older as deposits rise and many thirty-somethings are staying in the rental sector for longer. Also, perhaps unique to Oxford, the post-graduate market appears to run almost counter-cyclical and so far academic demand has held up well since the recession.

“It is exciting and we take our responsibilities seriously,” says Letting Department Manager Lucy Lawton-Smith, “but also ensure we have some fun, because we get to meet interesting (sometimes famous) clients and also a fascinating range of cultures from around the world.”

Frank says his team have been closely tracking developments at government level where there is a genuine attempt to solve the growing housing crisis in the UK by encouraging institutional investment into the Private Rented Sector. “We’ve been attending seminars and talking to influencers in this field and it is clear we will see an increase in this type of landlord in the years ahead. Locally, we are already working on a project which would be one of the first such schemes in Oxford.”

If you are an investor looking for professional management from a team who really care or seeking to diversify and maximise your portfolio and you would like more information, please email or contact us on 01865-311011, frankw@finders.co.uk