More and more people are deciding to buy-to-let and investing in the future by becoming a landlord. It can be a great way to make money but it can also be expensive creating a desirable home for prospective tenants. By preparing a property early and adding modern fixtures, you can secure quality tenants who will maintain a desired standard of care. However, it’s essential to keep costs low whilst also delivering your tenants with a safe and acceptable home.
This week we’ve teamed up with Compare My Move to pool together a series of top tips for landlords, whether you’re a first timer in the property industry or a seasoned property portfolio guru.
Whether you’re a first-time landlord or just looking to improve rental yields, you’ll want to save as much as possible whilst also managing maintenance. There are many ways to cut the costs without negatively affecting your tenants, here are just a few to get you started.
Hire a Reliable Surveyor
Choosing a property shouldn’t be a quick decision, it takes time. Part of the process should be to hire a competent surveyor to assess the building, saving you money in the long run. By hiring a reliable surveyor to conduct a building survey you’ll be saving yourself from unexpected costs by uncovering any defects or structural damage that aren’t immediately obvious. It would be wise to compare quotes to ensure they’re dependable and RICS certified.
If the necessary repair work seems too difficult or costly, you can then reassess the deal and decide if the property would actually be a good investment for you. Most old buildings will have issues, it’s unavoidable. But properties with excessive defects can drain you of your money.
Choose the Location Carefully
Research is key to obtaining a good investment. If you haven’t bought your first buy-to-let property yet or are looking to expand, think carefully about the location. It doesn’t take much, barely a few metres, to significantly change the potential yields. It’s important to conduct extensive research as even choosing a property on the opposite end of the road could make a drastic difference.
Consider whether it’s a good catchment area for schools, explore the transportation links and crime rates. The more desirable the area, the quicker you’ll see interest.
Save Money on a Conveyancer
There’s a lot of legal work that needs attending to when buying a property so another cost to factor in is hiring a conveyancer to help. Hiring a trusted conveyancer or solicitor can save you a lot of time and confusion, simplifying the legal process for you. They’ll complete all required paperwork and ensure that the contracts are signed and exchanged properly.
It’s important to compare conveyancing quotes before selecting the right solicitor. Read recommendations and reviews, check that they’re fully qualified and that they can give you the best deal. The more you search, the more money you could save yourself.
Keep the Décor Modern and Minimalistic
It’s important to remember that this isn’t your house. Decorating to your personal taste isn’t the best option as it can deter potential tenants and add unnecessary costs. Keeping the decor modern and minimalistic can pique interest and look like a blank canvas for tenants to play around with.
Using white paint to create a clean and modern vibe allows tenants to add their own splash of colour when they move in. Focus on the essentials and create a neutral feeling so as not to alienate people. Use high-quality equipment to ensure that the paint lasts and that less maintenance is needed over time.
Don’t Be Afraid to Buy Second-Hand
Whilst we’re on décor, don’t be afraid to buy second-hand. You don’t have to purchase everything brand new, it just increases avoidable costs. Ikea is always an affordable option, but choosing second-hand items is even cheaper. You can find good-quality items on sale at auctions or on websites like Ebay. Just check their condition before purchasing.
If you’re offering a furnished property, don’t overspend. As much as you want the property to be a desirable home, tenants will also want to personalise it themselves so don’t waste money on unnecessary items, focus on the essentials only.
Review Your Mortgage Regularly
Your biggest monthly expense will be your mortgage payment. To get the best deal possible and increase profit, review your buy-to-let mortgage regularly. You don’t always have to switch lenders, simply talking to them and discussing better rates can be beneficial.
Now that mortgage tax relief has been removed, it’s even more important to renegotiate or change your mortgage in 2019. The best deals often depend on your personal situation but it’s still wise to review all options. You could even consider using an independent broker to help you with the mortgages rates and deals if you don’t feel experienced enough.
A vital step for all landlords is to acquire a good insurance policy. It can potentially save you huge sums if an incident ever occurs. You must ensure that you’re fully covered whether it’s to protect yourself if the tenants can’t pay rent or whether there’s an issue with the exterior of the property. Good insurance ensures peace of mind and is worth the research.
It’s important to compare quotes before proceeding to ensure that there are no extortionate rates that just aren’t worth it. Check for discounts! Every little bit helps you financially in the long-run.
Home Security is Essential
A common concern amongst tenants is security. Spending a little extra time and money on home security systems can greatly increase your chance of obtaining quality tenants. Everyone wants to feel secure in their own home and you can provide this. You might be put off from the added costs but it not only makes the property more desirable, but some insurers require specific security measures anyway. Double check your requirements to obtain the best insurance and possibly reduce annual costs.
Security cameras, motion-activated lights, even double-glazed windows can all be great safety precautions that can increase the chance of acquiring tenants. The necessary precautions to take all depend on the location and the property itself but it can be a great addition should the worst happen.
Hire Trusted Tradespeople
It can be difficult for landlords to hire competent tradespeople who are within their budget. But sometimes, it’s worth spending a little extra to ensure the best possible service. Compare offers and read reviews and recommendations, it’s important they successfully complete the work to save you from future costs.
Shop around until you find the most professional candidate. Try using services like Rated People to find qualified experts as hiring the cheapest person available can cost you in the future if the job isn’t done correctly.
Perform Regular Maintenance Work
It’s important to schedule regular property inspections and maintenance work to ensure the property is in good condition. Some issues may seem small but they can result in major consequences.
If there are issues the tenants haven’t noticed or reported, you could uncover them early before they become expensive to repair. By keeping on top of any and all maintenance work, you can ensure a happy relationship between you and the tenant as well as saving you money in the long-run.