Whether you are looking to rent out your cosy home or perfectly located London apartment, or you are entering the buy-to-let market, you are in for a whirlwind of admin and legal responsibilities. New landlords can easily feel overwhelmed by tasks such as ensuring you have the correct building and contents insurance, and the appropriate gas, fire, furnishing and electrical safety requirements. Then there is the responsibility of vetting your potential tenants properly, and the challenges of having to deal with late rent and regular property maintenance.
While the income from letting a property is certainly appealing, and entering the buy-to-let market can be a great investment – whether paying for holidays and school fees now, or creating a retirement income in the future – there are important factors to consider, including safety, compliance and of course finding the right tenant for your property.
This is why we recommend appointing an estate agent, or professional property management company, to assist you with your letting needs. Not only does this take a lot of admin and stress off your hands, but it also ensures that you are complying with the legal aspects of letting that, if ignored, could incur massive fines and turn your investment property into an expensive mistake.
Preparing your property for letting
First impressions count for a lot – both with people and with property – and you want to make sure your home stands out in the competitive rental market. London rentals are booming, which means that there are plenty of homes and London apartments to rent on the market as potential investment property. Here are a few simple preparations that you can make to ensure your home or apartment appeals to prospective tenants.
The importance of first impressions means taking care of the exterior of your property. This is the very first contact potential tenants will have with your property, and it will colour the entire experience of viewing your home. Make sure that all exterior aspects of the property are up to standard, as this sets the scene for the tenant as they first begin to imagine themselves renting there.
Some simple steps toward this include tidying up the garden by weeding and mowing the lawn, and fixing damaged or unsightly fencing or walls if yours need some TLC. Plants and flowers go a long way towards creating a desirable and welcoming outdoor space. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have green fingers – picking up a few flowering plants from the nursery should do the trick.
Repairing any cracks in walls and driveways also helps the property look well maintained, as does giving a lick of paint to the walls, window frames and doors. A small detail that can count for a lot is making sure the street number is neat and clearly visible. Overall you will want your property to look at least as spruced up as the neighbours’, if not the best on the block!
The interior is as vital as the exterior, for obvious reasons, and requires just as much attention. Decluttering by removing any unnecessary furniture or knick-knacks maximises the sense of space, and a thorough clean will make your home look inviting and eliminate any unpleasant odours. A lick of paint also helps to bring out the energy and warmth of rooms, and minor repairs can go a long way towards highlighting some of the building’s features. Add a few decorating touches – a picture or a bunch of flowers will do – to give a room character and make it look that much more desirable.
It may seem like a lot of work and investment now, but doing these simple things can have a massive impact on how quickly you manage to let your property – and thus start earning from it.
Now that you have made sure that tenants are going to fall in love with the place at first sight, you need to make sure that they are the kind of people you want living in your home.
Vetting your tenants
Every tenant should go through a strict and thorough vetting process. It may be a tedious process to carry out correctly, but you want to make sure they will pay their rent on time and take care of your home. This is where hiring a professional agent can really make a difference, as they have all the necessary experience, and will handle the whole vetting process on your behalf with the aim of finding the most suitable tenant for your property.
These are a few of the checks that an agent will make in the process of finding your perfect tenant.
- Stable job: You want to be sure that your tenant can afford the rent so that you can avoid any of the hassles that come with late payers and rent arrears. To further ensure your security, you want the tenant to earn enough to not just cover rent, but also to live well and be comfortable.
- Right to rent: Your agent will ensure that your tenant is legally allowed to live and rent in the UK. To this end they should inspect original passports and identification documents, not copies.
- Credit checks: Many agents will run credit checks to see if a potential tenant has experienced trouble with paying bills in the past, or defaulted on financial commitments. Note that the prospective tenant will have to give permission in writing for this process to be carried out.
- References: Your agent may want to contact previous landlords and employers of potential tenants, in order to verify their good standing. If the tenant has never rented before, contact details of the tenant’s parents or guardians may be required as well.
- Guarantors: A guarantor is an individual who agrees, on the tenant’s behalf, to cover rent or other fees in the event that the tenant is not able to. This is usually required in cases where the tenant is a first-time renter, or if their credit check turns up red flags over defaults on past payments. This is another way of ensuring that you can count on the rent being paid on time.
Other considerations to keep in mind when letting your property is the type of accommodation and how you are going to let it. The layout of the property, as well as the location, will determine how you advertise it. The room count and size of the property will determine how many tenants you are going to allow to stay there. For example, will you let a single room to multiple tenants? Are you targeting families, students or professionals? Do you, or can you, allow pets to be on the property, or could that cause concerns with damage to the property and noise complaints?
Providing your agent with this information will help them find the most suitable tenants in the vetting process.
The right property management solution for you
Do you want to enjoy the benefits of renting out your property without sleepless nights and stress? Do you want to take advantage of the buy-to-let opportunities in London’s booming rental market without being overwhelmed with paperwork, and security and compliance red tape?
By appointing a trusted real estate and property management company to manage your rental property, you can enjoy all the benefits with none of the hassle.
Strawberry Star Group offers a fresh, one-stop approach to real estate and property management focused on simplicity, quality and performance. With years of experience and a proven track-record in the rental market, we understand that our clients want to work with experienced industry professionals that they can trust and rely on.
Our end-to-end service means that we cater to all your property letting needs, advising you on how to prepare your property for letting, vetting prospective tenants, assisting with security and compliance and finding the most suitable tenant for your home.
As trusted advisors to our clients, we take pride in our ability to guide our clients through the entire process of letting their homes, from start to finish.