Renting out your home sounds simple enough, but in reality, there are a few things you need to consider. Whether you are an accidental landlord or looking to become a property magnate, the steps are the same.
Preparing your property for possible tenants has benefits. It makes your property more desirable and improves the tenant’s rental experience. The best advice is to start early when it comes to planning for a future tenant, and there are simple steps you can follow.
This is crucial because there are hoops you need to jump through before you can rent out your property. First, you should speak to your existing lender to establish that you can actually rent the property out.
You will likely have a residential mortgage on your home, which means you are effectively changing the mortgage terms if you want to rent it out. Speak to your lender because you will need permission before you do anything.
Most mortgage lenders will accommodate your request but be warned that by changing the nature of the mortgage, they will likely charge you an admin fee and possibly a higher rate of interest.
They are unlikely to give you permission to rent the property out if you are still inside a fixed-rate period, but if you are outside a fixed-rate period, you are free to shop around; it might be the incentive your lender needs to grant your wishes.
If you want to shop around for the best mortgage deals, speak to a Beals mortgage expert. They have access to the entire mortgage market, ensuring that you can compare rates for the best possible mortgage.
The second item on your list should be to consult with an ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) registered agent to get the best advice on what you need to do to get your home into a lettable condition.
They can offer hints and tips and guide you in the right direction so you can focus your energies in the right areas. Most prospective tenants start looking at properties well before their move-in date; you should give yourself an eight-week head start on any renovation or decorating work.
Nothing beats that first impression, and you only get one chance to make it. You are competing with other properties for your tenant, so if you want the best tenant and the best possible rental income, invest the time now to get your home looking right.
This might mean giving the walls a fresh lick of paint or carrying out those repairs you always intended to do but left until the last minute. A well-maintained house provides the tenant with the peace of mind that they will have minimal problems during their tenancy and that you are a landlord who cares about the condition of your property.
It also encourages them to continue to care for your home while they are in occupation. This is one of your main aims as a landlord because tenants that care as much about your home as you do are worth their weight in gold.
Your home may be beautifully decorated, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to appeal to your average tenant. To appeal to the broadest audience, the best approach is to think in neutral colours.
The more people you attract to your property, the more you can pick and choose the right tenant and the better the monthly rental income.
Neutral colours give the tenant plenty of scope to personalise their space because it will be their home after all.
It also means that when your current tenant moves out, the neutral colour scheme will appeal to subsequent applicants. It is also less likely to age, which saves you money in the long run.
Keeping your asset in the best possible condition is a must for any landlord. It protects your investment; the property is occupied for longer, reducing void periods and non-payment of rent, and minimises the prospect of expensive repairs further down the line.
After all, it is still your property, and you want your investment to grow. Leaving the property to deteriorate will only cost you more money in the long run and cause you headaches with void periods and emergency repairs.
There are ways to make your life easier. Choose darker colours for carpets and if possible, go for laminate or hardwood floors that are more hard-wearing and show less damage.
Choose widely available and affordable colours for the wall, like magnolia, creams and white. If you are replacing bathroom suites, you don’t need to buy the budget option but think cheaper rather than expensive.
If you provide electrical items, it is often a requirement to get a PAT (portable appliance test) test to prove the appliances are safe to use. You also need an Energy Performance Certificate and a Gas Safety Certificate before you rent the property out.
Your letting agent is the best person to organise these because they do it every day and have reliable contacts in the industry who can provide a swift service and offer the best deals.
You also need to install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to protect the tenants against fire and deadly gasses. Now is also an excellent time to review your gas boiler because it might be deemed unsafe for modern standards and need replacing if it is old.
If you buy new appliances like cookers, fridges and boilers, make up an information pack for the incoming tenants with all the instructions to use them safely. It could save you stress further down the line when the appliance breaks because they didn’t use it correctly.
If you manage the let yourself, it also saves getting those late-night phone calls from the tenant complaining that the boiler won’t light or the oven won’t work.
It is your responsibility to provide a hygienic and clean property. Ensure the bathroom is free of mould and mildew, and the carpets are clean and stain-free. You will struggle to find a tenant if the property’s condition is not up to standard, and when you do find a tenant, it will likely be for a reduced rent.
So, before inviting people to view your property, spend the weekend before it goes on the market cleaning, scrubbing and washing down surfaces. Don’t forget to move large appliances to clean behind and wipe down inside the kitchen’s cupboards.
You could also speak to the letting agent and ask if they have a professional cleaning service or have contacts who offer such a service. This might be the better option if you are stuck for time or don’t have the appetite for a weekend in rubber gloves.
It all sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many houses and flats come to the market in a substandard condition.
Congratulations on getting your property ready to present to the rental market. The more effort you put in to get rental ready will reap the rewards when you find a tenant. If they see you care about their needs and have moved heaven and earth to make it as perfect as possible, they will treat your property with the respect it deserves.
And that’s the goal we all want: a reliable and trustworthy tenant who wants to stay in your property for the long term.