Becoming a landlord can be a rewarding experience – both personally and financially. To help you navigate your move into becoming a landlord, and to answer some of the most common questions we see being asked about the process, the obstacles, and how to grow a rental property portfolio, we’ve created this blog post full of first time landlord tips.
Location, location, location
The location of your rental property will determine the kind of tenants you get, the kind of rent you can charge, and the overall value of the opportunity open to you. If you want to build a business as a landlord for families, then opting for properties close to schools is a good idea, whereas businesspeople will need good local connections to the city, and students will need to be close to their campus or place of study.
There are two branches that you need to be aware of for insurance – the first falls to you and is insurance for the building, while the second can be outsourced to your tenants in the form of contents insurance, provided you let them know that this is something they need to be aware of and sort out.
Bills – included or not?
When it comes to assigning rent, the first thing you need to do is work out the comparable rental fees in the surrounding area. After that, you need to decide if you will handle the bills in house (thus marketing a rent with bills included, as is popular with landlords for flats), or outsource the bills to the tenant and leave them to sort out their own water, council tax, etc.
This needs to be clearly outlined in the agreement and will be a major player in deciding how much rent to charge, so focus on this point as early as possible.
Furnished or unfurnished?
There is no real right or wrong here – some tenants will want to bring their own furnishings to a rental property, while others prefer the basics to already be there and ready to use. Generally, it’s advised to consider the length of the rental agreement and take it from there – with long term tenants usually more willing to bring their own furniture and make the property their own.
Protecting both your property and your tenants is an integral part of being a good landlord, with many potential tenants wanting to know exactly what security measures are in place to keep them safe.
If you have an outdoor space as part of your property, is this something that you want the tenant to upkeep and maintain? If so, let them know! Some tenants will be desperate for a garden and will be more than happy to maintain it during their stay, however in this case you will need to make sure that the garden is well presented when they first move in to set a standard.
Focus on neutral décor
One of our top tips for landlords is to keep the home décor as neutral as possible, so that you make it easy for a tenant to view the property as a blank canvas that they can make their own. If a tenant can see themselves and their personality in your property, then they are more likely to sign on the dotted line.
Consider the deposit
The deposit is something you will take prior to move in, and then give back again at the end of the tenancy if the property has been left as expected, and in good order. Landlords will have access to a deposit protection scheme which means you never really see the money, so there’s no risk of it not being available when the tenant comes to leave – provided they have met the standards laid out in the agreement.
Always have a spare set of keys!
Our final and perhaps more important tip is simple – when you hand over the keys to a tenant, make sure you have a spare set that stays with you, in case of emergencies. It could be a break in, or your tenant may get locked out – whatever it is, you’ll likely be glad you have a spare at some point.
For more information on becoming a landlord and to find out how we could help you to manage a single-property or growing property portfolio, get in touch with the team at Pat Robson & Co.