Here are some ideas I have put together to help you maximise your property investment. Being a Landlord myself for the last 13 years, it now feels like quite a long road. When I first started property investment seemed like an easy vehicle to make money, this was of course due to the property market going up and up.
The refurbishment and then the renting out of the property seemed easy compared to the market today. Students would accept the regulation courdroy blue carpets and basic amenities, and the professional market thought a dishwasher was a luxury! Now students also want a decent level of accommodation and the professional tenants want something a bit special! Whether we find ourselves as an accidental Landlord or we chose this route of investment, we need to avoid those voids and maximise our returns. Some pointers which make very good sense in our current market:
- When increasing the rent, ensure the tenants are given a feasible reason for this increase. For example you may include some utilities in your rent, and with fuel prices up, this would be a legitimate reason..
- Dont increase the rent so much that it is not affordable, and make sure it is comparable to the immediate local market and of a similar standard.
- Visit your property every quarter, minimum. if you employ the services of letting agency, ensure that this is done and you are informed of any issues. A tenant may notice a leak but not report it until the flat downstairs reports a massive brown wet stain on their ceiling! Noticing issues early limits the big repair bills.
- Attract your target market. Make your property fit the needs of tenant. This will ensure tenants remain at the property longer and wont feel the necessity to move on.You will have higher occupancy levels.
- Minimising void periods. Advertise the property to let ASAP, dont delay! Make sure the rent is right, too much and you wont get any interest. If you are made an offer weigh it up sensibly. Have they offered £5o -£100 less, but want to move in back to back with the last tenant, then Think about taking it, how much other interest is there? It is a false economy to hang out for the higher rent and miss a months rent you will never get this money back.
- Note feedback from prospective tenants who have viewed and tenants who have moved out. Why are they leaving? Is there something that they think would improve the accommodation? Listen to feed back it counts this is your audience.
- Make sure your tenants know what is expected of them. Draw a list of things which the landlord will not pay for I.E blocked pump on the washing machine (pockets not being emptied) blocked kitchen sink drain (from foodstuff).
- Before calling out the electrician etc. talk with the tenant on the phone, get as much info as possible. May be it is just a trip switch? Or something else the tenant can sort themselves. Teach tenants how to do re-light the pilot light for example. Or if you are handy perhaps you can do much of the basic maintenance yourself.
- Treat tenants well build a rapport. Just not too well that they ring you at 2am drunk when they have locked themselves out of the house!! Some want you as a surrogate mother!
Thanks to Tara Meeks of Railton Meeks for providing this article.