I am going to kick off our first blog with a little personal experience which really brought to light the importance of what we do here at Mi Urban Space, why we do it and why we are good and what we do!
The moral of this story is - although our clients are Investors, Landlords and Estate Agents - actually the end client is the tenant. And happy tenants make for rent paid on time and properties that are looked after, loved (and sometimes even improved on!) while in their care.
I have recently relocated to Greater Manchester from Birmingham - not a million miles away but enough of a distance for logistics to be carefully considered. I decided to rent my first property so that I could get a feel for different areas, look into local schools and be perfectly positioned to find our future dream home!
Having found a gorgeous four bed property that could happily house us for the next 12 months, within the catchment area of two outstanding schools and close to local amenities including a deli butchers, bakers and an organic wine shop (bonus) with a beautiful park across the road and outstanding views of the stunning surrounding countryside we were sold. Hook, line and sinker.
Finding a new home (even though I work in property) is an emotive experience. My head tried to lead with caution but my heart was set and I was already imagining our life in our new house.
I flagged to the Estate Agent that I was on a tight deadline before I viewed the property and needed to be in situ ideally within 3 weeks. I wanted to get in over the summer holidays before the school term started and get us all settled in. The Estate Agent made all the right noises and images of relaxing lazy summer days in our new home with lots of walks in the countryside in between slowly unpacking and finding the right space for the breadbin floated through my mind.
I jumped through all the necessary hoops in super quick time and got confirmation my credit file, salary and employment status were all in order in a few days. I breathed a sigh of relief.
Stage 2. The move needed to happen in a week if I was to take advantage of the children's summer holiday childcare plan. No problem. I booked the removals, got the boxes and began packing, clearing and charity shop dropping like Superwoman.
Then a bombshell hit. I got a call from the Agent to say that the property had not had the gas and electric checks done. Really?
This completely bamboozled me. For starters, in my humble experience, this should have been taken care of before any of the major refurb works took place and surely the Estate Agent should be in receipt of these important documents before the property was advertised? I immediately offer to send out our amazing Gas Safety engineer to get the checks done ASAP. I will be in and sorted in a week. I can deal with that. These things happen in the property game. The owner was a new landlord and had used someone he knew to do the work who had obviously omitted to tell him this important document was a legal requirement and the property could not be rented out without it. Either that or they were not accredited to do the checks. Or, worse still, even the work. I stop myself from catastrophizing but make a mental note to get our Gas engineer out to do a double check whether a safety check cert materialises or not.
But it got worse. As I dug for solutions I realised no-one was even sure if the gas was connected from the mains supply and they could not locate the electricity meter. I knew the lights were working (as I switched them on during my viewing!) And clocked the brand new shiny combi boiler. How did whoever fitted this know that the new heating system was functioning properly with no connected gas?
Houston we have a problem
I go into solution focused mode. I call the agents and beg them to let me keep my move date as planned, move our stuff in which would take a little of the stress away, while we bunk in with family until the checks are complete. This was a no go as without the gas supply the checks can't be completed and without the checks, none of the property insurance - including any contents insurance I had - would be valid. I am stumped. And frustrated. In the back of my mind I am struggling to understand how all this could have been done so back to front. In between all of this, the landlord decided to have a lovely two week holiday in the south of France while the children and I sat in a hot flat surrounded by dusty cardboard boxes.
On the plus side, this experience has made me very proud of what we do here at Mi Urban Space. Because we project manage the whole process, whether that's an end of tenancy or a refurb on an investment, we get it all done, starting with the gas and electric checks, before anyone steps foot through the door. Whether that's an Estate Agent wanting to take pictures, do the inventory and get the property on the market, a landlord keen to get a yield on their investment or a tenant who is excited to get into their beautiful new home.
Property is a very lucrative business but there is a human side to what we do. We are creating homes for families to live in and enjoy. And this should always be as painless as possible for everyone involved, but particularly for the tenants. Because without them it would not be possible to achieve ROI - however fancy the figures look!