Top Tips for Letting Your Property 1. Buying an investment property is not the same as buying a home Choose a property that suits what a potential tenant would be looking for i.e. a neutral colour scheme, clean, tidy, garden that’s easy to take care of and somewhere to park a car. Go with your head instead of your heart. Remember this is going to be a home for somebody else not yourself. 2. Finding the best location for an investment property Take a little time to research the areas that are most popular with people looking to rent and find a sought-after area to give yourself the best chance of finding an ideal tenant. Tenants often look for somewhere that’s within easy commuting distance to their place of work. If you have the right sort of property in the right area surrounding a university then students are often ready-made tenants. Students often share accommodation to spread the cost of living so investigate HMO’s but be aware of the legislation surrounding this. Make sure there is a demand for whatever property you choose to give yourself the best chance of an easy let. 3. The rewards You’ve chosen a property to generate income so make sure you choose a fair price for the property. A good letting agent will be more than happy to offer a free property appraisal and advise on any rules and regulations that you need to be compliant with. If you choose to have your property managed by an agent you will pay them a small percentage each month but know that the tenants and property are properly looked after and that you’re fully compliant with any rules and regulations and aren’t at risk of hefty fines or even jail sentences. A good agent will always keep on top of changes in legislation that you may miss or not even know existed. 4. Be prepared for periods without income There will be a void period between tenancies if the property takes longer to let than expected so make sure you factor that in. 5. Don’t get caught out The rules and regulations around letting property often change so you need to keep on top of that at all times to avoid being caught out. You need to ensure you have the right certificates in place and that tenants are provided with a copy and if the property is furnished for example that they have the correct fire labels. Make sure you fit smoke alarms and know the rules surrounding those. Research to see if there is anything in the property that would make having a Carbon Monoxide alarm an essential requirement. Be aware of the new GDPR, ICO and MEES requirements. 6. Choosing the right agent who will give you a good service at a good price It pays to choose wisely as the relationship with your agent is likely to be a long-term one especially if your property has long-term tenants in. Choosing a professional and effective letting agent who knows their stuff will prove invaluable especially in the event of a problem. If you choose a fully managed service everything will be dealt with for you from tenant find through to check out and everything in between, leaving you time to enjoy your life, without the worry of what's happening to your property or if the tenants are okay.
7. Get professional paperwork It always pays to have professional paperwork rather than something cobbled together with loopholes. It’s always a good idea to get an inventory with photographic evidence as it helps to avoid arguments if it’s there in black and white especially if the tenant has signed to say they agree with it. 8. Make sure you’re fully insured Make sure you have proper insurance in place. It’s always a good idea to shop around to find the best cover at the best price. Ensure you read the policy to know what is and isn't covered and to know what you need to do in X situation. 9. Make sure you declare your income on your tax form and take professional advice if you decide to go with a buy-to-let mortgage.