Investing in property can be extremely rewarding but it comes with its own set of challenges.
The appearance of your property is really important
If you want tenant to pay the highest rent and to stay in the property for a long time you should ensure that the property is well decorated and appears clean and neutral.
If you can resolve a small problem quickly and effectively you can keep tenants happy reasonably easily. It is very easy for a relationship with a tenant to spiral out of control over a small problem that wasn’t dealt with effectively.
Hire a local expert
If you don’t know your Section 21 from your PAT test then employ a local Estate Agent with a good reputation. Getting the legalities even a little bit wrong can leave you with a big bill to pay. Your property is likely to be your biggest asset. Is it worth the risk?
Price your property appropriately
It is much better to have a choice of tenants who want to rent your property. Getting the right tenant in your property is more valuable in the long term than a few extra pounds.
Don’t be too overbearing with your tenants
Your home is now their home. You need to give them space to settle into the property so that they feel comfortable.
No pets may sound like an obvious clause but would you really turn away a lawyer 5 years into a job because they have a cat/hamster/goldfish? Be prepared to take a view on some things. The less restrictions you apply the more choice over tenant you will have. Consider both long and short lets. If you can offer it as either furnished or unfurnished (could you put your own furniture into storage) the do so. Let the agent bring you offers and then you can consider each one on its merits.
Take the marketing of your property seriously
Have you dressed the place to show it in its best light? Can you articulate how easy the transport links are? Are features that are important to tenants highlighted such as equal sized rooms? Consider offering a floorplan (This can drastically cut down on inappropriate viewings)
Avoid void periods at all costs
Make sure that you have your property back on the market a full 8 weeks before the property is going to be available again.
Always have a contingency budget
You really need a reserve fund big enough to cover a replacement boiler, a lock smith, and a few months’ rent, just in case.
Make sure you have converted your mortgage on the property to a buy to let or have obtained consent to let from your lender. You should also check your lease to see if you need the freeholder’s permission before renting. Even if you are using an Estate Agent you should research the latest lettings legislation.
Make sure that you keep all your rental statements and a record of any expenses that you have incurred in the course of letting your property. You will need these annually for your tax return. Speak to your accountant if you are unsure how the tax system works for landlords as it can be complicated.