Being a successful landlord is an extremely satisfying career or income supplement. For the purposes of this article, we’re defining success as profitable, enjoyable and easy. Profitable means a good rental income with minimum void periods; enjoyable means a healthy relationship between landlord, agent and tenant; easy means minimal drama and conflict.
If that sounds like the sort of experience you’d like as a landlord, these ten tips should set you on course for success when letting out your property. It can all be summed up with the phrase "make it easy on yourself": landlords who take care of their rental property tend to bring out the best in their tenants, which means they stay longer which means less vacant periods and less wear and tear through people moving in and moving out. It all makes perfect sense.
1) ADVICE FOR LITTLE ONES
In the case of small apartments - studios, 1 bedroom – it's wise to allow for one void month per year as these are the properties with the highest turnover. It's simply down to the stage in life of people living in small spaces. Usually they'll be starting out before coupling up, or possibly separating and needing a temporary solution. A higher turnover of tenants means more moving in and out of furniture and so there are bound to be little things that need sorting after one tenant has left.
2) ENTER THE NEUTRAL ZONE
Give up your own personal taste in décor and think solely about the money – decorating the home in neutral tones means more people will want to rent it, they'll pay more for it, and they'll stay longer if they're surrounded by neutral comfortable tones: think warm whites and you'll be on safest and most profitable ground. Less changes in tenancies mean less voids and less wear and tear on your property - you'll have and decorating expenses more than compensated.
3) SHOW YOU CARE
Being nice works. Looking after your tenant works. And caring for your property works. Attending quickly to problems – which, let's be real, will arise – fosters a culture of goodwill and will have your tenants see the value in reciprocating your good nature by taking care of your property and staying for longer – again reducing move ins and outs, meaning less wear and tear, and much happiness.
4) TURN YOURSELF GREEN
With Energy Performance Certificates highlighting a property's eco-credentials, tenants very often ask to see utility bills before putting down a holding deposit. Do what you can to give your property the best rating it can get by implementing any recommendations in the report. You don't have to chase an A rating, but neither do you have to languish as a G.
5) THE SCIENCE OF APPLIANCES
As newly built homes push the envelope of what constitutes standard equipment, tenants expectations have increased in line with the prices of rents. We've seen tenants dismiss lovely apartments simply because they were under specified. Dishwashers are a particular case in point here; no matter how nice your property, you could lose out to another one – and get less rent for your own – simply because of how easy it is to do the dishes.
6) BE GENEROUS
Little things like a bike rack or thermostatic valves on radiators are inexpensive but thoughtful inclusions that make life easier and more economical for tenants. And, as a sign of the times, power sockets with USB outlets are the new thing! Have a think about little things that make your life easier and see if you can incorporate those. Being stingy isn't necessarily economical and certainly isn't supportive of long-lasting tenancies.
7) PRACTICE ACCEPTANCE
No matter how much we all hope and pray that every tenancy will be problem-free, life just isn't like that. It can be very easy to see fixing a problem in your own home as far less hassle than having to fix one in your rental property, but things that need fixing need fixing. So just accept that. If you simply want a peaceful life to avoid dealing with maintenance issues, the easiest thing is employ a managing agent and give them an advance authorisation to get things fixed up to a certain budget without needing to bother you.
8) KEEP HOME & DRY
Deal with any leaks are water problems fast. There are without doubt the most common problems, from taps to toilets to sinks to baths to showers to central heating. There's just so much water going around properties that there's bound to be something that will go wrong one day. Nipping leaks in the bud at an early stage is vastly cheaper than waiting for a small problem to become a major issue for an entire building. If a leak leaves a stain, ensure the affected area is redecorated to avoid recurring concerns from potential new tenants over your plumbing.
9) LIVE IN THE REAL WORLD
We haven't yet experienced an overpriced property actually finding a tenant. We are here to get you the best rent possible and our fees are directly influenced by getting you more rent. But tenants are not daft, and you probably don't want a daft person living in your property. If you want to attract a high-quality professional tenant at the best rent possible, all you need to do is offer a high quality property at a rental that reflects what's on offer.
10) DO UNTO OTHERS...
How would you like your tenant to treat your property? How would you like your tenant to communicate? If words like carefully and pleasantly are coming up here, consider that you have the power to make that happen. Give your tenants confidence from day one that you are committed to their enjoyment of living in your property, and back that up by dealing with any problems they may encounter, and you'll find that even major issues are handled in a relaxed and civil manner.
Have these handy hints been useful? Let us know your thoughts along with any suggestions you may have. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org