Cluttons' Tower Bridge and Islington lettings expert, Chris Morris, shares his top tips for those who are thinking of renting out their properties.
1. Visualise your target market
It’s crucial that you understand the type of renters that you’re most likely to attract in your area so that you can tailor your property and approach accordingly. For example, if your property is a third-floor one bedroom apartment with no lift in an area with busy nightlife, it would make sense to provide modern furniture and aim for young professionals rather than a growing family. You're not narrowing down who you'll rent to, but fleshing out the ideal renter so that you can determine if any changes need to be made to your property.
2. Get your property ready for its close up
Hand in hand with presenting your property in the right way to its target market, it should be shown as “the best version of itself”. Attend to any unsightly maintenance issues (messy wires/ broken lightbulbs/ carpet stains) prior to marketing and keeping in mind that you are selling a lifestyle as much as anything else. Your agent will guide you on how best to achieve this.
3. "Hinch" your property (keep it clean & tidy)
Whilst many renters are adept at seeing past clutter and appreciate that a property would be given a pre-tenancy clean prior to occupation, some can’t. To create the best first impression, ensure your property is sparkling clean before prospective tenants visit.
4. Grill your agent prior to instruction
Release your inner Lord-Alan-Sugar-on-the-Apprentice: be sure that your agent has the right credentials and capabilities to get your property in front of your target renters. Don’t be shy to ask which property portals your home will be listed on, which professional photography firm will be used, whether they have access to corporate relocation agents and does the agent already have suitable applicants registered on their database.
5. Be aware of your legal obligations
There is a large and growing amount of legislation that relates to lettings as well as many potential pitfalls. Your agent should have an excellent understanding of this and be able to guide you on everything you need to consider prior to entering a tenancy.
It’s important to ensure that you have permission to let your property in the first place. If your home is subject to a mortgage you may need consent to let from your lender. Similarly, if your property is leasehold you should check that letting is permitted under the terms of the headlease or whether written permission is required.
6. Crunch the numbers / understand the tax implications
Are you going to make any money? Whilst our advice would always be to seek guidance from your accountant, you can also roughly calculate what your monthly cashflow will be based on the projected income and expenditure. This is where it is essential that you engage an agent that can accurately predict the rent you will achieve, supported by comparable evidence.
Regarding expenses, be aware that there are a lot of upfront costs (safety checks / cleaning / inventory checks etc.) at the outset but once met these will ease down. A good agent should also have a service where their fees are collected “on the drip” so there is one less upfront expense to pay.
7. Impose parameters
Think about what's important to you. Are you happy to accept pets in your property? Would you remove a bed or paint a room for your next tenant? It’s worthwhile having an open conversation with your agent about this so that everyone is on the same page. It also means that your agent can pre-empt such issues with prospective tenants.
8. Get the right tenant
It has never been so important to select the correct tenant for your home. At the time of writing, owing to the Coronavirus Act 2020, Tenants need to be given six months’ notice to terminate a Tenancy when using a Section 21 notice (“no-fault eviction”). This supersedes any agreed break clause in the tenancy agreement. Similarly, if a tenant has less than six months’ rent arrears and possession is being sought under a Section 8 notice then six months’ notice is required. Your agent should not only ensure that prospective tenants are comprehensively referenced and capable of meeting the rent, but also that the proposed tenant really is a good fit for your home and will be someone that you or your agent can develop a good working relationship with, depending on who is managing the property.
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