Buy-to-let has long been considered a strategic and profitable move onto the property ladder, but with changes to UK legislation, are we going to see the phenomenon die out or is it still possible to reduce the tax paid on rental income and turn a healthy profit from your buy-to-let property?

Tax relief has been phased in since 2017 and will be at a flat rate of 20% and fully in place by 2020. Landlords who only pay a basic tax rate will see no change, however high income landlords will be in a more vulnerable position to loose out more.

The Nationwide Building Society published estimated figures of how a typical landlord’s profits might be hit. Someone with a £150,000 buy-to-let mortgage on a property worth £200,000, with a monthly rent of £800, would currently have a net profit of around £2,160 a year. When the new legislation is in full effect, the net profit would plunge to £960.

So, what can a landlord do to ensure profits remain stable?

INCREASE RENT – It is possible to increase rent on your property to off set the tax relief loss. However by doing this you do run the risk of loosing tenants and thus having a vacant property.

SWITCH MORTGAGES – It could be possible to switch your mortgage, for example move from a 2.99% mortgage to a 2% mortgage. By switching to a cheaper mortgage you could boost the profit and off set any tax relief losses.

UTILISE YOUR SAVINGS – Some building societies offer a mortgage which utilises your savings to cut your bills. Essentially you will not be earning on your savings but utilise the money to shrink the amount of interest you pay on your mortgage. However when utilising these deals be savvy as many examples show that some mortgage rates commence at 2.99% for the first two years but then jumps up to 5.29%.

BECOME A LIMITED COMPANY – If you purchase a property through a limited company instead of your own name you will not be effected by the new legislation. Companies are charged 20% (falling to 17 percent in 2020) corporation tax instead of the 40% higher rate tax rate taxpayers are currently liable for. Administration fees do apply when setting up a company, however these are swiftly outweighed by the longer term profit opportunity.


Before considering cashing in and selling up your buy-to-let properties consider the long term ambition of your property. For example, if you strongly rely on a reliable rental income then it could be more beneficial to take one of the above measures and make the best of the new rules. However, if you bought your property cheaply and have the opportunity to make a healthy profit on its sale, now would be the time.

Most importantly is to seek advice from the professionals. Mount & Minster specialise in property portfolio management and are ready to advice you, contact us today on either Grantham: 01476 515329 or Lincoln: 01522 716204.

The Summer Polo 2018


Following the success of this highly coveted event over the last two years, Mount & Minster will once again be hosting invited guests and clients to this years Summer Tournament.

Last year saw a huge crowd gather over this popular two day event, with some also making the most of the occasion by also attending The Ball in the evening. The same format will be adopted this year and those similarly wishing to attend this fantastic evening in The Grand Marquee should contact Leadenham Polo Club on 01400 318006.

Up to 12 teams from polo clubs across the UK will be competing in the tournament, split over 3 divisions with the finals being played on the Sunday. Mount & Minster, who won last year, will also be sponsoring their own team made up of members from Leadenham Polo Club.

Stallholders will be selling polo goodies, art and jewellery so don’t forget to pick up a memento on the day!

Regardless as to whether you benefit from a VIP invitation to the hospitality enclosure, the general public are all welcome to come and join in with the atmosphere throughout the rest of the Club and enjoy an action-packed weekend of polo with refreshments available throughout the day.




Barn conversions have long been considered the marmite of the property world, you either love them or hate them. But does a barn conversion offer more positives than just open plan living and attractive period features with a modern twist?

Typically barn conversions have appealed to down sizers and a younger demographic. This is mainly due to the fact that planners will insist on the central bay of the barn being left at full height. For the downsizer this means a large imposing living space which will usually accommodate large furniture. The draw of owning a home with a rich heritage and original features, unobtainable in a new build, have cast the net wider attracting more and more to the world of barn conversions.


  1. Planning. It is critical to have planning permission in place from the start. Never assume planning permission will be granted just because the building would lend itself well to being a home or other local buildings have been successfully converted.
  2. Vision. Is your vision compatible a) with the original building and its features and b) with the consent that will be granted in planning permission.
  3. Access. Does the property have access or a right of way?
  4. Neighbours. Barn conversions are naturally typically in rural areas but it is key to consider if the barn is near a working farm? Farm access, noise and smells could make a significant impact in your day to day living.
  5. Proximity. Barn conversions usually are in close proximity to similar buildings and conversions due to the nature of the building. Consider are you happy to live in a rural environment with such close neighbours? Have the other builders been converted yet, or are you going to be living near a building site following your completion.
  6. Utilities. If your barn is not already serviced by the key utilities such as water, sewage or electricity this can be costly dependant on location.
  7. Heating. Barn conversions typically are designed with an open plan ground floor spaces, this can equate to costly heating bills.
  8. Light. Planners can insist that no windows are created other than in where there are original openings. In barn conversions quite often this can mean slitted windows. Uplighting in beams and vaulted ceilings has the designer effect but lightbulb changes can be problematic.
  9. Features. Barn conversion enthusiasts must be sympathetic to the raw materials. Ensure your architect and designers understand the sensitivities of a barn conversion and celebrate features such as vaulted ceilings, wood beams and cart doors.
  10. Experts. As will all projects ensuring you get this right advice is key. Chartered Surveyors, architects and specialists will be able to advise as to how to approach each element of the project correctly.


Unfortunately there is no simple answer to this question. Many factors will contribute to the final cost; land acquisition cost, the general state of the original barn, the materials and the final specification that you are looking for. A general guide would predict a conversion to cost anywhere from £800 to £1500 per square meter.

Cost saving is possible from savvy cost saving utility savers such as solar panels to reclaiming VAT on labour and materials.

Barn conversions are a fantastic option for the savvy buyer looking to create their own individual stamp on their home. Mount & Minster Chartered Surveyors have extensive knowledge and not only sell such marvellous homes, but also help clients get the planning consent required to actually convert them. Some barns don’t even require traditional planning consent to be converted! 

For help and enquiries, please contact Mount & Minster on either 01522 716204 or 01476 515329.

A recent announcement has put Lincoln on the commuters map!

Virgin Trains has confirmed in May 2019 every day there will be 5 direct trains to London as well as 6 return trains back to Lincoln. The new virgin Azuma trains, recently unveiled by Sir Richard Branson, are set to cut journey times considerably, ensuring Lincoln will now be considered as a commutable destination for city workers seeking a life outside the big smoke.

Over the years southern and London buyers have obsessively hunted for the ‘hidden’ commuting paradise, the holy grail that ticks all the boxes; quality lifestyle, good schools and of course lots of brick for your buck, all within easy reach of the capital. Properties around Grantham and Newark valued between £300,000 and £800,000 have seen huge increases in what buyers are willing to pay for them, and now Lincoln is the next big deal when it comes to county living.

But will this change make an impression on the Lincoln property market? 2017 saw a huge 8% increase in the Lincoln average house price compared to the 2.7% national average increase. The current average house price in Lincoln stands at £171,926, but how does this stack up against other commuter hot spots?


Winchester, Hampshire
Average house price £482,000
Commute average 61 minutes

Price per commuter minute: £7,902


Haslemere, Surrey
Average house price £631,976
Commute average 50 minutes

Price per commuter minute: £12,640


Cheshunt, Hertfordshire
Average house price £313,000
Commute average 26 minutes

Price per commuter minute: £12,038


Brighton, Sussex
Average house price £374,662
Commute average 58 minutes

Price per commuter minute: £6,460


Sheffield, Essex
Average house price £471,000
Commute average 23 minutes

Price per commuter minute: £20,478


Once the new service is up and running, the commuting time is anticipated to be around 1hr 25 mins. Applying the same calculation, this will put Lincoln:

Price per commuter minute: £2,022

This currently makes Lincoln considerably better value and highly attractive to buyers. With supply still remaining low, and demand now set to increase significantly, this can only push prices up and up. Mount & Minster, Lincoln’s award winning estate agents, have already seen signs of this with our London office registering significant interest from wealthier, cash buyers from the capital looking to acquire a home in Lincoln or within 20 minutes of the station.

In recent months Lincoln has been flooded with investment including £29 million bus transport and car parking hub, £35 million Siemens Global Service Operations Centre and a £1 million discover England fund to attract further American tourism.

Coupled with a new speedy commute, tourism investments and attractive property prices, Lincoln and the surrounding villages are now highly sought-after for attracting savvy property buyers. With the 2018 market now in full swing, owners looking to sell are in an excellent position to get a premium price for their property with anyone of our registered buyers from the south and London.

If you would like to discuss selling your home for a premium price then please feel free to contact the Lincoln office on 01522 716204. Or click here.



Most buyers will make a decision about your property before they have even crossed the threshold. The best local estate agents will talk about “kerb appeal” which is key to first impressions. Is the approach clear and attractive? Is the exterior paint work in good condition? Planting flowers in bloom and driving the old station runner off the drive and round the corner all add to creating a perfect picture for buyers.

When it comes to property the general rule is the bigger the better. Remove any unnecessary furniture, clear surfaces, strategically place mirrors to catch the light and removing living space doors are all ways to ensure your square footage is optimised and rooms flow nicely.

It has long been popular belief fresh flowers and home baked bread are the avant-garde advise to making your property appealing to buyers. It is true making your home light and airy will make it more attractive; freshen the walls with a neutral colour palette, modernise the decor and ensuring the windows are clean will make certain your property is looking its best. Do not be afraid to turn on internal lights, lighting can set the mood of a room for a potential buyer.

A dirty house is a deterrent to any buyer. Utilise the Spring Clean and freshen your property from top to bottom. Buyers will be looking at every inch of your home, dirty bathrooms, kitchen sinks and skirting boards are key. Allow your potential buyers to concentrate on the attributes of your property and not be distracted by a television unit laden with dust. If you have a pet, they might be a popular member of your family but not all buyers will see them as a welcome addition to their future property. Keep pet evidence to a minimum, hide food bowels, litter trays and clutter.

Is your home four bedrooms, three bedrooms and and gym, office, snug? Present your home as you wish it to be sold. Don’t use your spare bedroom as storage space or use your dining room as a make shift studio. Buyers will see the space as unusable and will make the assumption the room is simply too small for what it is being advertised as, a quick and easy way to depreciate the value of your property.

Ensuring your home is a comfortable and welcoming temperature is a key component to any sale. Temperature sets a tone of a house, light the fire if it is cold, open the patio doors if it is warm. Create a space where potential buyers will linger.

A garden can be a key selling point for some buyers, make your garden as attractive as possible. Mow the lawn, tidy paths, screen off rubbish bins and removing children’s toys such as trampolines all add to the finesse of your property. Paint the picture of the long awaited British summer, if the weather is kind, dress garden furniture with a cushion, a book and a bottle of wine with two glasses. Set the scene for your buyers to see themselves in this space.

If parking is limited at your property make sure the potential buyer has an easy customer journey. Move your car to to another location and ensure all available space it given. Do not clutter the driveway with bicycles and BBQ’s. If your parking is on street you might consider requesting your neighbours park further away for a day or so. A buyer who arrives stressed because they couldn’t get near the property is not going to be in a positive frame of mind.

Potential buyers are not only going to be looking at your property but also at your neighbours. Is their property well kept? Do they have an overgrown garden or a barking dog? Have chat with them and maybe offer some assistance? Making the area or region of your property appealing is an asset to any buyer.

Selling and buying your home is an extremely personal process but when it comes to selling your home your personal style might not be to everyones taste. Family photos, children’s paraphernalia and bric-a-brac that has been with you for years may have even become invisible in everyday life. Take a fresh look and depersonalise your home creating a blank canvas for potential buyers to visualise their life at your property.

Marketing your property at its best and right from the start will make a huge difference. You can’t afford to get it wrong and award winning local estate agents such as Mount & Minster will be able to point you in the right direction and help from start to finish.

In the event you’re thinking of marketing your property this Spring or Summer and would like to discuss how to get the best possible price, then we would be delighted to offer you a free consultation at a time to suit you. You can contact us at either our Lincoln (01522 716 205) or Grantham (01476 515 329) offices and it will be our pleasure to help you further. Alternatively, click here.

Lettings Negotiator

Mount & Minster is seeking a proactive and ambitious Lettings Negotiator.

The job will involve undertaking a variety of tasks, focused on Lettings Agency and Property Management, including but not limited to:

• Lettings Agency – Carrying out valuations and market appraisals, negotiating offers, booking viewings, booking market appraisals, listing properties, conducting viewings, lettings application progression.

• Property Management – Organising and undertaking property inspections, rent collection, managing maintenance schedules, liaising with contactors to undertake works, deal with check in and check out of tenants, service of notices.

• Business Development – Actively promote Mount & Minster, canvassing, lead generation, promotions and events.

Candidates will need:

At least 1 year experience of working in Lettings Agency.
Full Driving Licence and their own vehicle.
Ideally they will have worked for 2+ years in the field and have applicable qualifications i.e. MARLA.

The successful candidate will receive a competitive salary plus commission and annual bonus.

The right candidate will have the opportunity to progress quickly to Lettings Manager.

For further information, please email your CV to or call 01522 716204.

Mount & Minster have once again been exclusively selected to represent their local clients and home-sellers in this years London & Country Property Show on the 17th April 2018.

The only local agent to be showing, selling and displaying prominent local properties that are available for sale in Lincolnshire and the East Midlands, we are pleased to be attending this increasingly popular property exhibition which has grown so much in popularity that it has now relocated from Chelsea Old Town Hall on the King’s Road, to Olympia in Kensington.

This high-profile event is specifically targeted at those currently living in the south east and London who are seeking to move away from the capital. These sought-after buyers are often in a cash position and often pay more for properties which are comparatively much better value compared to where they currently live.

Lincolnshire and the East Midlands is becoming more and more popular with southern buyers who are attracted by stand-out properties which are easily within their reach financially, as well as our proximity to superb transport links, fast rail connections and highly regarded local schools.

Last year, Mount & Minster successfully sold the majority of the properties they pushed at the show and are once again promoting 24 exclusively chosen properties to this special and targeted demographic.

If you think your property would suit a London or southern buyer and you would like to know more about the Show and how Mount & Minster can help successfully market your home and attract a premium price then please feel free to contact anyone of our Chartered property professionals in either the Grantham office (01476 515329) or the Lincoln office (01522 715204). Alternatively, contact us here to learn more about this exciting opportunity.

Your home is your most valuable asset and when it comes to moving house it’s important you get it right from the outset and get advice from the best. Well prepared vendors not only get the best price, but it makes the whole process streamlined and stress-free.

Preparation includes everything from making your property look its best, to conveyancing, arranging a mortgage and choosing an estate agent

1. Crossing the threshold

Kerb appeal is often deemed the most important stage in preparing to market your property. First impressions do count, so use the opportunity to step back and observe the features of your property which could attract a potential purchaser.

Clearly display rooms for their intended use, and minimise clutter or unfinished DIY projects around the house. Show off your interior space, and bear in mind that the outdoor space should be as neat and tidy as within.

Viewings are vital to introduce you to a reliable buyer. At Mount & Minster, we endeavour to conduct viewings on your behalf, presenting your home in a neutral, informed and professional light. Our presentation skills contributed to being awarded Best Residential Sales & Lettings Agency – East Midlands in the 2017 Real Estate & Property Awards.

2. Prepare your paperwork

Provision for the legal aspects of a sale will help ensure that the process runs smoothly – this is just as important as the aesthetics of your property. Collating all relevant documents for your property prior to marketing will assure the buyer’s satisfaction down the line when queries arise.

Begin drafting an inventory of items which you anticipate leaving behind – the agents and solicitors will need to know which fixtures will remain, such as light fittings or the wood burning stove.

Compile all documents relating to any changes that you have made to the property. Alterations to the structure of the property will be required to comply to Building Regulations and Planning Permission at the time of the works, usually covered by a completion certificate. Windows installed after 1 April 2002 will require a FENSA certificate, and other remedial work will be assured by various guarantees.

You will also require an Energy Performance Certificate to market your property. This document shows potential buyers how the property could be more energy efficient and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions. Mount & Minster will arrange this survey on your behalf.

3. Figure out your finances

A key element to consider before marketing the property is your financial position. Remember to think about additional costs, such as home insurance, attaining the right mortgage agreement and conveyancing fees. These considerations will enable you to make an informed decision, alongside demonstrating your commitment and anticipation of an eventual sale.

4. Choose the best estate agent

Choosing the right local agent to market your property will guarantee that your preparations are worthwhile.

Find a firm with a great reputation, whom you feel will market your home to the highest standard and are professionally endorsed. The team at Mount & Minster pride themselves in their highly professional, pro-active and personable manner, alongside their RICS accreditations and three national awards.

When looking at other properties marketed by the firm, take notice of the standard of photography and particulars, as well as their client database. As part of a national network of 229 offices, Mount & Minster properties are often purchased by London or South Eastern buyers looking to relocate to Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and the East Midlands generally.

Mount & Minster always provides bespoke marketing packages, unique to each individual property and client. Your home should shine on the open market and captivate the interest of prospective purchasers.

 5. Confirm your Conveyancer

The final step to consider is the instruction of a solicitor or licensed conveyancer, in order for the property to be legally transferred from yourself to the purchaser upon completion. By arranging your conveyancing as you approach the time in accepting an offer, the legal sale process can start promptly. Remember, an organised and pro-active sales progression is most likely to conclude in a successful sale.

Selling your home is an exciting and emotional event, for which Mount & Minster are delighted to share their experience, knowledge and database of registered buyers. Our award-winning firm of Estate Agents are highly trained to guide you through the whole process. Please contact us for your free valuation on either 01522 716204 or 01476 515329.

Towns and Cities throughout the East Midlands are benefiting from flattening price trends in a troublesome London property market that is seeing a wealth of investors looking further north.

Estate Agents at Mount & Minster have noted a significant increase in investment both from London-based and foreign buyers who, until recently, previously spent their money in London due to what was deemed to be a good investment with attractive yields.

The Financial Times recently reported that investors are also being increasingly put off by extensive chains in the buying process which is become more and more problematic in a slowing London, compared to the East Midlands where Lincoln is seeing quick sales and high prices achieved by the best local estate agents with savvy buyers sitting and waiting in rented accommodation until the right property comes along. Towns such as Grantham are also highly desirable due to the much improved and very reliable direct service into Kings Cross.

This changing trend shows no signs of waining as more and more cash-rich investors enjoy much more value for their money through better rental yields, as well as reliable long term capital growth.

The range of property types that are under their radar are diverse, from single mid-terrace properties, through to detached residences in the right area, all the way up to new developments throughout the whole of the East Midlands. The areas enjoying a handsome injection of wealth are Lincoln, Newark, Nottingham, Sleaford and Grantham.

For more information on property trends or to discuss investing in the area, or perhaps to have an investor introduced to you and your property you feel may be suitable for one of our many registered buyers, then please contact Mount & Minster on 01522 716 204 or 01476 515 329.

Finding your dream home can only become a reality once you have made an offer that is acceptable to the vendor. Prospective buyers must remember that preparation, position and budget are all key factors in satisfying the seller’s hearts, minds and pockets.


Do your homework and take considerations:

Making an informed decision with regards to your relocation demonstrates commitment. Use online resources and local knowledge to become confident in the area, previous sales and the house buying process.

Understanding of the local living costs or catchment areas will ensure your own peace of mind and avoid costly realisations in terms of time, funds and relationships with the seller, agents and solicitors during the run-up to exchange.


Understand your position:

Are you a first-time buyer? Do you have savings to cover the investment of your next property? Do you need to sell your house to fund your move? Will you require a mortgage? Are you already, or willing to, rent whilst waiting to find ‘the one’?

Being clear about your position, and the circumstances attracting you to the property will allow the seller to weigh up your offer, and decide whether it is complementary to their own move.

Estate agents in Lincolnshire and the East Midlands have seen a huge increase in buyers relocating from the more affluent southern counties who wish to buy a house locally whereby they can continue with the standard of living but mortgage free. These cash buyers are again hugely attractive to local estate agents such as Mount & Minster and it is important you communicate any factor that you believe makes you stand-out so that the agents can prioritise you for their clients properties.


Organise your financial and legal situation:

Sidestep disappointment by organising your deposit and checking your eligibility for a mortgage before you start looking. Know your maximum budget, and what your sacrifice would be for offering higher than you anticipated. Being comfortable with your finances will enable you to make a confident offer.

Remember, the first thing the estate agent will require to confirm your offer is proof of funds or confirmation in writing of your Mortgage Agreement in Principle.

Research solicitors. Their testimonials must be considered alongside their fees – after all, they will be responsible in ensuring you literally get your feet through your door. Ask a local, independent estate agent such as Mount & Minster whether they can recommend any good solicitors and avoid any ‘in-house’ conveyancing services from estate agents looking to make a few more quid, they’re likely to be less competent as dedicated professionals.


Develop your relationships with all involved:

Opening a line of communication with the agents will help them understand your requirements, position and eventual offer. Being proactive shows the seller that you are a serious contender; tell them your story…

Don’t be afraid to ask questions regarding the property and the seller’s position. You should all feel reassured that everyone compliments each others unique position and circumstances.


Do not dawdle:

If you like the property as much as you did on paper, let the agent know your thoughts the following day. Arranging a second viewing could be recommended once you’ve indicated the kind of offer you’d be interested in making. This is not an opportunity for your great-aunt, builder and candlestick-maker to come along, but to prove you are serious in your prospective purchase.


Tailoring your offer:

The balance between making a frugal or realistic offer can affect your scope with future negotiation. “Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it”, but in order to reach a mutual sweet spot, expect negotiation around a reasonable figure.

Agents are obliged to present all offers to their client, but will only disclose the region of previous offers to prospective purchasers.   This information can help you judge your starting bid.

Using round numbers runs the risk of making the same offer as another candidate – choosing an unusual figure can pique the interest of the seller, and make your offer stand out.

Starting with a lower bid, complemented by your fast-moving position, may be suitable for sellers who are looking for a quick sale. Don’t be tempted to place an offer so low that the seller will see fit to burn bridges with you. Remember that insulting the estate agent or their client with a low offer may make you less attractive as a buyer for the property of interest, or any other property for that matter.

A high number may be necessary to compensate for the risk of bringing a chain to the purchase, or to secure your bid on a popular property. Just make sure that you can afford it!


Keep your foot in the door!

Once the offer has been accepted, keep things moving. Provide documentation to the agents and solicitors promptly. Ensure that viewings are stopped and that the property is marketed as “Sold Subject to Contract”. Organise your survey. Keep in touch with the agent and solicitor – make sure that they are doing the same thing for the sellers.


Lastly, enjoy!

Buying or selling a house can be a stressful and emotional experience. But it needn’t be! Mount & Minster, as a multi-award winning estate agent, recognise that it should be exciting and effortless.

Estate agents are trained to look after you and once your offer has been accepted, you’re just as important to them as their client, without you they don’t get paid! True, this doesn’t apply to budget ‘online only’ agents as a computer screen is unlikely to hold your hand, guide you through the process and prevent unnecessary issues that could easily be avoided with professional help from a real person, but for the sensible buyers who choose to buy a sensible and attractive home from a reasonable and well-advised vendor, it should all be plain sailing and you’ll be moving-in quickly and with ease. Welcome home!


Author: Ann Gwyther