What are the top tips on managing your own properties?
More and more landlords are dispensing with the services of letting agents and managing their own properties. If you are going it alone, follow these 10 tips to make a success of your buy-to-let investment
- Regularly research your local lettings market and keep an eye on other properties to make sure you are charging the right level of rent and not pricing yourself out of the market or undercharging your tenants.
- Get to grips with marketing your property well. whether that be in the local press. online. with local estate agents or via a university accommodation department, where appropriate. Good marketing can keep your property tenanted and minimise rental voids.
- Respond quickly to requests from your tenants If something is broken. fix it as quickly as possible. Fixing small problems early prevents them becoming bigger. costlier ones. If there is a problem with hot water. heating or security. prioritise that. You have a duty of care.
- Be polite, approachable and available. Don't crowd your tenants. but keep the lines of communication open. A successful buy-to-let investment relies on happy. paying tenants. But if they anticipate a problem. they are more likely to be upfront and open with you if you have a good relationship.
- Always carry out thorough checks on prospective tenants, including credit checks. bankruptcy searches and previous residency information.
- There are a lot of official rules and regulations for landlords — stick to them. This includes placing tenants' deposits in a government-approved protection scheme.
- Drawing up an inventory at the beginning of the tenancy will reduce the likelihood of any disputes once the tenant moves out.
- Consider taking out insurance. Your mortgage lender will always require buildings insurance. but it is also worth thinking about taking out cover against injury to your tenants and their guests. and insuring yourself against void periods. Always shop around for the best cover.
- Set aside some money in a rainy day fund to cover any emergency expenditure such as a broken down boiler or other repairs and maintenance.
- Join a landlord association to benefit from the advice and experiences of other landlords.