Buying a property to rent out, or converting one that you already own into a profitable asset that will provide you with an income is a sensible way to earn money form bricks and mortar, but it should not be entered into without prior thought and preparation. Here are some top tips from Surrey Vale on how to get started.
Think about your tenant
Put yourself in the shoes of the person or people you are hoping to attract to your property. Don’t let personal tastes sway your decisions. For example, decorate the interior in soothing, neutral tones so that potential tenants can imagine themselves living there and stamping their own personality on the place. If you are in the process of buying somewhere, look at features such as a large garden and easy parking, if you want to rent to families, or proximity to the train station and an easy-to-use kitchen for the time-poor commuter market.
Location, location, location
This is key to rental success. Think about what your tenants will want to do, once they are living in your property. Where is the nearest train station or bus stop? Is it easy to find taxis nearby, even at night? Where are the local shops, restaurants and nightspots? Are there decent schools nearby? If you are in a university town, or are close to a college, think about the places that students need to access – can they get to their classes easily? Is it safe to walk around after dark? If you are buying a property, talk to local lettings agents first to find out what type of property is selling – and where.
The bottom line
Work out your finances very carefully before embarking upon letting out a property. While you need to offer competitive rates to attract tenants, don’t leave yourself out of pocket. Especially if you still have a mortgage or other bills to pay on the property. When doing your calculations, factor in inactive periods, when the place might be empty for a while between tenants, or during renovations. Do you have to carry out any repairs or decorations before getting your first tenant in? Are you using a lettings agency to handle the let? If so, they will need to have their percentage of the rent in return for their services.
Letting a property comes with several legal responsibilities, mainly around safeguarding the safety of your tenants. All landlords must provide their tenants with an energy performance certificate. Houses with multiple occupants must also come with gas safety and electrical safety certificates. Fixed electric installations must additionally be tested and passed at intervals not exceeding five years by a qualified electrician. Furniture must comply with fire safety legislation and it is good practice to fit and regularly test smoke and CO2 detectors.
Finally, make sure you are protected against unexpected problems by choosing s reputable, expert lettings agents to handle the let on your behalf. They will be able to sort out deposits and draw up the correct contracts, set up inventory list of contents, sort out any concerns the tenants may have, chase up slow or non payers and handle the return of the deposit, or payment for repairs etc. at the end of the tenancy.