Published: 10/08/2016 By Stephanie Wright
Before you can begin marketing it is essential that you are preparing your property for new tenants. As soon as it is launched online your property is in the spotlight and fingers crossed the viewings will start flooding in so it needs to be ready beforehand. First impressions are key for securing the right tenants, prospective tenants will be viewing a lot of properties in a short space of time so it is essential that your property stands out. It is important to focus not only on the internal surroundings of the property but also the external as well, the communal areas and the outside of the property should be consistently maintained to a good standard. There are also various legal responsibilities that you acquire as a landlord and tenants often ask questions about these on viewings so it is imperative that you are compliant with all of them before the tenancy starts. So where do you start we hear you asking? How do you prepare your property? What exactly do you need to know to successfully let your property?
It is vital that you optimise the appearance of your property, focus on the exterior as this is the first sighting of the property that your potential tenants will have. Make sure that all aspects of your property are meeting expectations in order to maximise chances of finding the right tenants. Start by imagining you are the potential tenant, try standing on the opposite side of the road to the property.
Follow some of these useful to help improve your properties appearance:
• Ensure that the garden is maintained and kept tidy, your tenants will have to keep it to the same standard as well throughout the tenancy. Even a few small jobs will make a big difference. Start removing any weeds, trimming back hedges and adding attractive flowers to bring a dash of colour to the entrance. Maintaining the front garden will lure potential tenants and create positivity before they even enter the property.
• Driveways and patios need to be well managed, cracks and holes should be filled. Use good quality outdoor flooring, such as decking or natural stone. Using similar materials to those on surrounding walls will give the exterior area a unified feel. If you are facing uneven surfaces it is often best to use gravel to the level out the ground.
• All windows and doors of the property should be given a fresh lick of paint and the glass should be kept clean, resulting in the entrance becoming more welcoming.
• Debris needs to be hidden and out of sight from the entrance as this can be a strong turn off to potential tenants.
When potential tenants view your property it is important that they view the property at its best. It is a regular occurrence for estate agents to conduct viewings with properties being left with dirty dishes, laundry left all over the floor and personal belongings cluttered around. The best way to attract good tenants is to dedicate some time to cleaning and tidying the property, it will make such a difference and tenants won’t have any obstacles in the way whilst trying to imagine themselves living in the property.
Our Property Manager, Jenny Armes believes “that whilst your property is being shown to prospective tenants you should literally picture your property as a show home. The property should be thoroughly if not professionally cleaned and if possible presented as minimalist or homely (depending on the amount of furniture you are providing). Tenants can either picture their own belongings at the property or be drawn in by the homely feel”. Make your property stand out!
What else needs considering? Not only do you have to consider the cleanliness and contents of the property but as a landlord you need to maintain the structure of the property and ensure all major repairs are completed. This covers anything from the exterior to the plumbing, gas, the structure of the property, electrical issues, heating and hot water.
• All soft furnishings must comply with the Fire Safety regulation 1988 and be fire safety compliant. It is important to check your furnishings, this can be done by looking for the fire safety label attached to your furnishings, if you do need further information or a breakdown check out www.firesafe.org.
• All gas appliances, fittings and flues need to be safe to use. The installation, maintenance and safety checks need to be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Once this has been successfully completed you will receive a CP12 gas safety certificate, this must be copied and issued to your tenants. REMEMBER: By law these gas safety checks must be carried out annually.
• Electrical equipment must be safety checked as well. As a landlord it is your legal responsibility to ensure all these regulations are being completed, failure to do so is a criminal offence. You must also supply your tenants with copies of the operating instructions for appliances included in the property.
You may be asking yourself what it costs for letting your property. You need to ensure you budget for the following expenses:
• Mortgage repayments
• Solicitor fees
• Letting and management fees
• Costs to complete required health and safety standards
• A budget to hand for any repairs or maintenance that may occur
Letting your property successfully is a tough job, many landlords choose to work with an estate agent as it reduces the stress and can help them with the following:
• Advertising your property efficiently across a number of platforms in order to reach thousands of potential tenants who are looking to rent in the surrounding areas.
• Local agents have local knowledge of the market, including the levels of demand and the rental prices.
• Organising all viewings, attracting the best tenants for your property and negotiating the best rental price for your property.
Finally, once you have found your tenants you then need to decide whether you want to manage the property yourself or whether you would like to hire a managing agent. If you are looking to hire a managing agent give your estate agent a call as many agents provide this service. Using this service will benefit you by:
• Fully vetting tenants by completing their referencing, credit checks and obtaining all bank account information.
• Providing tenancy agreements.
• Arranging inventories, professional cleans and safety checks.
• Collecting rent from tenants and ensuring it is paid on time.
• Providing advice and guidance throughout the tenancy.
• Managing any maintenance issues.
• Access too many contacts at potentially cheaper prices, such as engineers, plumbers and contractors.
• Handling deposits and submitting them to a protection scheme.
• Sorting any disputes between parties, particularly when discussing the deposit at the end of tenancy.