Our Top 10 Tips for Landlords
Patrick Littlemore Tue 20 Apr 2010
Make the most out of your rental property with our top 10 tips for Landlords:
1. Know your competition - Start on the web!
Find out about the competition in the lettings market. How do similar rental properties compare on presentation and price? Tenants will be doing their research, and so should you. Start by looking on the web and keep your search as broad as possible your potential tenant certainly will be.
2. Who's your next tenant going to be?
Discuss with your agent your ideal tenant, but dont place too many restrictions on who you will let to. Your agent will know and advise you 'who your property is likely to appeal to.
However, one of the biggest mistakes landlords make, and later regret, is not allowing their agent to show their property to certain 'groups' of people. Keep your property as attractive to as many good tenants as possible, however if you have stricter requirements about your new tenant, then you should start by instructing an estate agent with access to the corporate relocations market.
3. First impressions always count
Well presented properties should secure the longer term tenancies and a good price. If its been a year since you last had your property on the market then it is likely you will need to make some changes. Repair any minor problems, clean the windows and clear up the garden/patio so that it is useable space once more. Its this attention to detail that gives potential tenants the confidence to sign a longer lease. This is where the support of professional management can help you to get the most out of the market.
4. Cast the net as wide as possible
Your next tenants will probably be searching for a property in more than one area, so its important to instruct an agent that has the widest reach to tenants. Even better, you should use an estate agent that shares an 'open register', just like Marsh & Parsons. This means that regardless of which office is marketing your property, every lettings negotiator, in every office will be aware of your property giving you access to tenants from many different areas. Its true; we recently let a Clapham property to a tenant registered with our Notting Hill office.
5. To furnish or not to furnish...
Put simply, you should be as flexible as possible. Avoid alienating a big section of the market by stipulating one or the other. That said, your flexibility should reflect the offer made - providing a house full of furniture at great expense should depend on the rental yield and length of tenancy on offer. If youve been marketing your property for a while, with no offers, then it may be the furniture or lack of it. Your estate agent will be able to advise you on the best way to present your property in the current market.
6. Expect to hear from your agent with viewing feedback
Feedback from viewings and potential tenants are, in most cases, honest, valuable and up to date. Your property will not be everyones cup of tea, but be open minded to their comments and if the same things keep being mentioned then it could be time to make a change. Its often the simple things that make the biggest difference.
7. Why would you refuse the first offer you receive? It may be the best!
Things can happen very quickly in the lettings market, so be prepared! Your best offer may be the first one you receive, and might even be within hours of putting your property on the market. Dont be tempted to wait and see if something better comes along, as the opportunity might be lost. So far this year, we have had a number of tenancies agreed and signed for up to three months in advance of the tenancy commencing. Make yourself available to your estate agent at all times (even when you're on holiday!) as tenants dont hang around for long, and offers can be withdrawn as quickly as they are made.
8. Short term hassle for long term gain
Despite specifying an ideal start date of a tenancy, you should stay flexible. If you have to move out sooner than expected, but for a better rent, and a longer tenancy, then is it worth the inconvenience? In many cases the answer will be "yes"!
9. Prepare your outgoing tenants
Both landlords and tenants will want a smooth end to the tenancy, so dont leave it until the last moment to speak to your current tenant or Property Manager about any repairs, redecoration or cleaning. You should aim to have your property ready to live in again with a minimum vacancy period. Be ready to carry out these works as soon as your existing tenant has vacated, or better still, instruct us to manage your property and well organise it for you!
10. When do you want to go through this process again?
How long are you planning on renting your property for? In most cases, the longer the tenancy agreement the better it is for a landlord; minimising void periods. Some tenants will insist on a six month break clause, but it is not standard practice and landlords are not obliged to offer an option to terminate the contract early. Negotiations of the agreement can be very sensitive, and something that an experienced negotiator, who works on behalf of the landlord, will be able to agree comfortably.