To attract tenants of the highest calibre you must provide an excellent property. This means offering a clean, neutrally decorated, attractive home is vital.
However, there is much more to preparing a property for tenants than merely painting walls in a shade of Magnolia and hanging lamp shades.
It is important you ensure your property is safe. This is not only to guarantee you provide your tenants with a secure environment in which to live, but is also a legal requirement.
Important legislation that landlords must comply to includes:
A big decision for you, as a landlord is whether to provide a property that is furnished or unfurnished. Generally, unfurnished properties will still include carpets, curtains and white goods. In comparison, a furnished property will include sofas, tables, beds and wardrobes. Investigate the local market and see what your competitors are offering.
The benefits to a furnished property are that they tend to attract more rent, and although an initial outlay, the furniture can be reused for the next tenancy. An unfurnished property requires lower initial costs and eliminates any worries you may have over furniture being damaged.
There is no right or wrong answer; it often simply boils down to your personal circumstances and preferences.
To be a successful landlord, it’s important you think about some of the additional costs of owning a second property before you commit. If you’re already a homeowner you’ll know all about maintenance and insurance costs, and with a second property you’ll have these plus a few extras, including landlord insurance, letting agent fees and contingency for void periods.
The last one is particularly important, as there may be times when the property is empty and not earning you an income, however the mortgage will still need to be paid of course.
Being a landlord is a business based around people, and people can be unpredictable. But don’t be discouraged, there is profit to be made when you purchase the right property for the right price.
Always budget for void periods and consider:
It can be tricky to know how to value your rental property, ensuring your property is attractive to renters while simultaneously securing a high annual yield.
Take the time to research the local market, as well as ascertaining multiple valuations from local lettings agents and taking an average.
Regardless of the type of property you choose, make sure it’s habitable and in tip-top condition from the day you look to rent it out.
Cutting corners at the start might save some cash initially, but it will just lead to far bigger outgoings further down the line. So either purchase a property that’s ready to let immediately or be prepared to spend a little time and money bringing it up to scratch.
A property that’s well presented and in excellent condition will be far more attractive to renters and could be the difference between being able to charge above the market rate or having to compromise on a lower figure.
Filling your property with luxury appliances and white goods will help elevate and set the tone for the property. Investing in built-in storage will help attract the right tenants too. Although an expense initially, you will reap the rewards on the rental income in the long term.
Your marketing is what will draw renters to your property, therefore it needs to be perfect.
Outstanding marketing consists of a combination of excellent professional photography and comprehensive floorplans along with detailed information about the property and surrounding area.
A letting agent will take a lot of the stress of being a landlord away in an instant.
When it comes to producing marketing materials and finding tenants, a good letting agent will have far more experience and reach than any individual property owner ever will and will deal with tenants directly, leaving you to focus on other things.
Whether you will be conducting viewings alone or have your letting agent acting on your behalf, preparing for viewings is essential. Ensure the property is sparkling clean and all maintenance work has been carried out before potential tenants’ view.
Arrive slightly before the viewer does; this will allow you to ensure the property smells great and turn the heating on if it feels a little chilly.
It is normal to walk the viewer around the property once, answering any questions they have. Then take a step back and let them explore the property on their own.
Ensure your property is well maintained and staged. From the moment they see the listing, through to receiving the keys, your prospective tenant should be able to picture themselves living in the property.
Run checks. Make sure you get a reference check from a previous landlord and run a credit check too. You can even have a quick look at their social media accounts. You might be surprised by how much you can find out from some online research.
Screening tenants thoroughly is perhaps the most crucial step in the whole process. This is where it can be great to have a property management company on board, which will help with screening any potential tenants.
When conducting screenings, it is important to consider credit ratings, employment income and previous landlords’ references. You should also make sure you check the tenants’ “right to rent”, ensuring they have a legal right to rent a property in the UK.
Once your tenancy checks are complete, it is time to sign the paperwork to begin the tenancy.
If you are not working with an agent (although we suggest you do) and you are a first-time landlord, have a solicitor look over your paperwork to confirm everything is watertight.
It is also a good idea to put an inventory in place and is particularly important for furnished properties.
An inventory will outline the property’s specifics, noting the current condition of items in the home. This can then be reflected upon at the end of the tenancy. An inventory provides clear evidence should you need to keep all or part of the deposit.
You will then need to sign the documents along with the tenants and your agents, if appropriate, before handing over the keys to the property, allowing your new tenants to enjoy their time in the home.
Try to remove emotional bonds, and rest assured they will take good care of your property.
Your tenancy agreement should include:
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